Civil drones are gaining popularity with expanded use from photo and video shooting to delivery。 Yet a team from a college in Shanghai has warned that these devices can be easily hijacked by hackers for malicious purposes。
Chen Peng， a postgraduate student from Shanghai University of Science and Technology， showed how hacking takes place with the help of his professor Chen Hao.
The 23-year-old connected a cellphone to his computer through Wi-Fi. As he input a series of instructions into the computer， the cellphone started to display the image captured by the controlled drone. He also managed to control the movement of the lens on the drone to select whatever angle he wanted.
Chen Peng developed the hacking system as his graduation project for his bachelor degree. He said the loophole in drones can be used for both good and bad purposes. “For example， if a popular figure wants to escape the paparazzi， my system can help them detect the drones around them and control the device to protect their own privacy.”
The drone they used in experiments is made by a Shenzhen company， which “Dominates 70 percent of China’s drone market”， according to Chen Hao. “As we are studying Info-security and mobile technology， we want to find solutions to security loopholes in these daily-used devices.”
The team has briefed the drone company on the defects in their products and instructed them to improve safety measures。 The company also plans to invite the team to the test its future products。