The Latest in Drone Security - How to Protect Your UAV from Data Hacking

Choosing the right UAV data link to ensure your drone remains secure


Drone technology is growing faster than ever. As UAVs move toward mass use in civilian applications, they are becoming ubiquitous on both commercial and DIY levels. Within the past year, 670,000 drones were registered with the federal government, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. As a result, security measures must be put into place on several levels, including government regulations, user education, and in releasing credible platforms. The absence of adequate drone security and secure UAV systems can lead the public to have a shift of opinion on drones.

The impact of WIFI communication on drone security 

Today, WIFI is the most common form of drone communication. It’s inexpensive and very accessible. Due to the fact that WIFI is in use all over the world and for various applications, a WIFI radio is very prone to hacking. An individual can easily access free tools available online that allow for various forms of hacking into wireless networks. Once in a network, all information within that network can be accessed.  If said network is being used with a drone, a hacker can jeopardize the security of that drone in a few ways.  First, the hacker can take over control, and ultimately steal the drone. Second, she can crash the drone into people, buildings and critical infrastructures. Finally, the hacker can access sensitive data and video that are being transmitted and recorded, and in turn, the classified information obtained – especially in commercial applications – can cost a business millions of dollars or risk the safety of a particular infrastructure for which the drone was being used.

What can you do to maximize drone security? 

Regulations aside, first and foremost, it is essential that the drone itself is physically protected. There are several ways to secure your drone, and they all begin with the drone communication system used.

First, selecting a communication system that is not WIFI-based, but rather one that uses a private network will automatically be less accessible to unauthorized users. The best UAV communication to use is one that not only has a private network, but one that offers several layers of encryption, such as a proprietary encryption mechanism in addition to the option for the user to add his or her own unique encryption key.

A second method for securing your drone by means of selecting the right UAV communication system is in choosing a system that offers built-in redundancy. An example of this is using a communication system that has two receivers and two transmitters. This redundancy assists in overcoming failures, improving coverage for operation and allows for continuous monitoring by aviation agencies. With the right elements on your drone, you do your part to protect it and the sensitive information it may be transmitting.