Engineers who run a ‘drone hacking’ website say that software designed to prevent drones from flying near airports is very easy to bypass.
Drone producers, such as Chinese giant DJI, produce UAVs with inbuilt geofencing software which creates ‘virtual walls’ stopping crafts from being able to enter restricted air space near airports or military bases.
There are some pretty important reasons to have geofencing software in place, particularly in an era of high-profile cases of drones flying near airports. The Gatwick airport chaos in December 2018 caused by a rogue drone or drones, makes the case for having good geofencing systems installed on your drone particularly strong. Although it is currently illegal in most countries to fly in close proximity to airports, helicopter pads or other protected zones, this hasn’t stopped some irresponsible drone pilots from doing so. Geofencing software is designed to remove the possibility or temptation of drones flying in areas where they shouldn’t.
The Sun (not the most reliable news source, I know) interviewed several engineers who work on software cracking websites and they say that anyone online can easily download a patch and install it on their drone which instantly renders the geofencing software useless.
The engineers behind websites such as NoLimitDronez decided to remain anonymous but told The Sun that they did not agree with manufacturers imposing arbitrary restrictions on where they can and cannot fly. One man involved in the drone hacking website argued that geofencing was unfair to customers by making an analogy to cars. Most cars are capable of travelling at least 100 miles per hour (160kph), a speed which is illegal in most of the world. Car manufacturers don’t, however, impose a limit that stops the car from travelling faster the national speed limit.
Quite why people would wish to have the ability to fly closer to airports and restricted zones is beyond me but obviously, if users of these websites are willing to donate 3800 pounds (5000 USD) to develop the next patch to break DJI’s geofencing software, it must be popular.
Christian Struwe, Head of Public Policy Europe at DJI, spoke with the sun and warned that some drone owners have “a complete disregard for safety and local rules and regulations”.
“It is these people who use software to maliciously hack our drones to
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