Cyber Risks That Affect Consumer Drones

Drones are becoming more popular with consumers. Drone operation does include cyber risks you should understand before you operate your machine.

Remote Takeover

Most drones operate via a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection through your smartphone or tablet. The connection may not be secure, though. A hacker can jam, intercept or terminate the connection or GPS, take over your drone and steal it or crash it into something.

Malware

The computer or mobile device you use to operate your drone could become infected with malware. It can affect the connection to your drone and cause the machine to crash and potentially cause physical or property damage.

Access Photos or Videos

A camera attached to your drone can transmit stunning photos and videos from the air. These images are usually transmitted over an unsecured FTP server which a cyber attacker could access and share. This privacy breach is your responsibility.

Ways to Protect Your Drone

Protect your drone from cyber crime when you take several steps.

Ask the seller about their cybersecurity measures.

Most drone sellers include the machine's cybersecurity information on their website. If you can't find it, contact the company for additional information.

Test your drone's security.

Hire a cybersecurity professional to test your drone and ensure it's safe from cyber threats.

Connect to your drone via radio control.

Use a secure radio control connection since Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections rely on unencrypted data links that are vulnerable to hackers.   

Subscribe to a VPN service.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts your internet connection and protects it from hackers.

Install a seL4 operating system.

Equip your drone with new seL4 OS technology. This operating system isolates various functions on the drone, preventing a hacker from taking over your machine.

Install an anti-virus program.

Reduce viruses, malware and other threats when you install protective programs on your computer or mobile device. The most secure programs provide real-time antivirus and anti-theft protection.

Vary your flying habits.

When you fly your drone in the same flight paths and at the same time every day, you make yourself vulnerable to hackers. Instead, vary your flying habits and throw hackers off your trail. Consider flying in remote locations, too.

Purchase drone insurance.


A drone insurance policy provides you and your drone with important coverage. Look for a policy with:

  • Broad, legal and premises liability coverage
  • Personal injury and medical expenses
  • Hull coverage
  • Extra equipment coverage for any on-board cameras, tools and equipment
  • Invasion of privacy
Your drone is vulnerable to several cyber risks. Know the risks and how to stop them so you can enjoy your drone and keep it secure.
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