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As Gatwick Airport has been brought to a standstill over drones accessing the airfield, now is the time we need to talk about drone hacking.
We’ve highlighted this before, but given the news this week, it’s time to bring it up again. If cars can be hacked, so can drones. If smart tech in the home can be hacked, so can drones. If these things can be used to harm people – physically or financially – so can drones. They’re remote-controlled which means a huge door is there to be opened. There also incredibly easy to buy, and hackers have already demonstrated how easy it is to take control of another drone by hacking.
If there’s technology good enough to bring one of the UK’s biggest airports to a standstill, drone hacking is a serious concern.
In short, drone hacking could cause a huge amount of damage. Aside from the chillingly obvious issue of terrorist attacks, everyday criminals could use them to cause harm to people as well.
Data about the users and owners could be compromised in a drone hacking. Criminals could hold such data to ransom or leak it intentionally and cause distress for the victims. Industrial drones could be hacked, costing businesses a lot of money.
The use of drones will likely grow. Although it’s easy to see the attraction of drones for entertainment, drone hacking is a worry. We know drones can be useful for industry as well. From environmental research to 3D mapping for the construction industry, they can be incredibly useful.
But they can also be incredibly dangerous.
This Gatwick Airport incident that has caused delays for hundreds of thousands of passengers, and no doubt cost a huge amount of money, should serve as a warning about drone hacking.
Although there’s no suggestion this incident is related to drone hacking, it does highlight the dangers of drones. If a drone hits a plane, it can do enough damage to bring the aircraft down. We need to think about better regulation and protection for the use of drones, as well as ensuring they’re cybersecurity safe.
Earlier this year, information about US military drones was sold on the dark web. Who’s to say that controlled drones for official use (like the police) couldn’t be subject to a hack? If information about military drones from one of the world’s biggest superpowers ended up on the dark web, there’s every reason to be very worried.
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