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This Hacker Figured How to Hijack One of the Most Popular Drones

Quadcopter drones can now get hijacked and have its engine killed in midair.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

An IT security engineer has discovered a vulnerability in one of the most popular drone brands that leaves thousands of quadcopters open to interference from hackers.

The Register reports that Rahul Sasi has developed software that hijacks drones in midair and kills their engines.

If a drone is within range of the malware (dubbed “Maldrone”) then it will plummet to earth. But if the drone is up high enough, then the malware can restart the engines before it hits the ground and control the drone, as well as its camera.

Right now, the malware only affects Parrot drones. Security Affairs reports that Sasi reverse-engineered the software on the drones sold by Parrot and found a flaw that allowed him to develop his own malware. 

This isn’t the first time that drones have been found to be vulnerable to hacking. Back in 2013, security researcher Samy Kamkar developed a drone of his own that sought out other drones and hijacked them using their wireless signals.

Interestingly, Sasi claims that his malware could work with this older hack to create a network of drones that track down other quadcopters and hijack them, turning them into a fleet of tracker drones.