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DJI drones broadcast operator location

pzampino

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According to this article (This Hacker Tool Can Pinpoint a DJI Drone Operator's Exact Location) researchers have discovered that DJI drones broadcast not only the drone's id and location, but the operator's location as well.

"That DroneID system was designed to allow governments, regulators, and law enforcement to monitor drones and prevent their abuse. But hackers and security researchers have warned for the past year that DroneID is unencrypted and open to anyone who can receive its radio signals. The German researchers, as well as another researcher working separately at the University of Tulsa, have now shown just how completely that signal can be decoded and read, allowing any hacker who can eavesdrop on DroneID to"
 
I highly doubt that RID regulations "require" the broadcast signal to be unencrypted and available to ANYONE to acquire.
This is a catastrophe waiting to happen.
 
This is what has most drone operators concerned. Anyone with a smartphone and the appropriate app can use it to find the remote pilot. Sub-250g and flying recreationally does not require RID (unless the drone is registered for Part 107 commercial use).

Let the harassment begin.
 
This whole RID thing is worrisome until we actually experience it. It my take some time before a significant portion of the drone sensitive population finds out they can track drones. Eventually, the whole thing could turn out innocuous, dangerous or somewhere in between.

Until the dust settles, I’ll probably fly within my 15 acre, Class G private property. Then if some nut comes on my property to pursue the pilot, let us see which prevails.
 
I highly doubt that RID regulations "require" the broadcast signal to be unencrypted and available to ANYONE to acquire.
This is a catastrophe waiting to happen.
Agreed. I don't care so much if the FAA knows where I am... but I don't want the information out there unencrypted for anyone to read.
 
According to this article (This Hacker Tool Can Pinpoint a DJI Drone Operator's Exact Location) researchers have discovered that DJI drones broadcast not only the drone's id and location, but the operator's location as well.

"That DroneID system was designed to allow governments, regulators, and law enforcement to monitor drones and prevent their abuse. But hackers and security researchers have warned for the past year that DroneID is unencrypted and open to anyone who can receive its radio signals. The German researchers, as well as another researcher working separately at the University of Tulsa, have now shown just how completely that signal can be decoded and read, allowing any hacker who can eavesdrop on DroneID to"
I'm guessing we will have to get used to it... Karens knowing our location and our drones location... unless we can convince the FAA to keep that RID encrypted and out of the hands of cell phone users with an app.
 
The sad thing about it, is that they broadcast in Europe too, where RID equivalent legislation hasn't still settled.

My current record in detecting my drone is set at 2.7Km using a Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 with the DroneScanner app so yep, be prepared to make new friends every time you engage the motors, no matter where you are because now everyone can have Aeroscope in their smartphone.

PS: If you disable the GPS on the device you use to fly, you won't transmit your real time location, but only your takeoff location. It works in Europe, but IDK if it works on US, I think it's mandatory at least on the Avata there if you updated to the latest version.
 
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This is
My current record in detecting my drone is set at 2.7Km using a Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 with the DroneScanner app so yep, be prepared to make new friends every time you engage the motors, no matter where you are because now everyone can have Aeroscope in their smartphone
Which drone did you use??
I tried Mavic Air 2 and Air 2S with Pixel 6 and Pixel 5, DroneScanner app and OpenDroneID didn't detect neither of the drones.
 
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I highly doubt that RID regulations "require" the broadcast signal to be unencrypted and available to ANYONE to acquire.
Sadly this is how it is.
The receiving app and transmitting device are even open source on GitHub.

 
knowing our location and our drones location
Hopefully the only people that will know that such apps exist are the authorities (which already have aeroscope) and us, drone pilots.

I don't think random people will know and download such apps.
 
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So WHY isn't the data encrypted? Is it because the FAA wants it that way? Surely as hard as DJI makes it for us to fly certain places with geofencing they can also make it hard to read the signal except for pertinent parties (FAA, LE, ETC)?
 
I highly doubt that RID regulations "require" the broadcast signal to be unencrypted and available to ANYONE to acquire.
This is a catastrophe waiting to happen.
So WHY isn't the data encrypted? Is it because the FAA wants it that way? Surely as hard as DJI makes it for us to fly certain places with geofencing they can also make it hard to read the signal except for pertinent parties (FAA, LE, ETC)?
Hopefully the only people that will know that such apps exist are the authorities (which already have aeroscope) and us, drone pilots.

I don't think random people will know and download such apps.
I'm guessing we will have to get used to it... Karens knowing our location and our drones location... unless we can convince the FAA to keep that RID encrypted and out of the hands of cell phone users with an app.

For those of you who think FAA never intended RID to be available to the general public, watch this video to the end.
FAA official statement;
RID is available to everyone.
 
I have drone scanner and dronetag on my iPhone and thus far, have been unable to detect my drone in flight. Is there more I need to do than download and open that app?
 
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If you disable the GPS on the device you use to fly, you won't transmit your real time location, but only your takeoff location
Software already exists (broken Fly), which hides the location of the operator. Widely used on Mavic3 drones in Ukraine.
 
I believe the Law says that"
It is unlawful for any person to use an electronic GPS device to track someone without consent. Stalking is a course of conduct where someone uses a GPS tracker to monitor someone without their consent. It is unlawful for any person to use an electronic GPS device to track someone without consent.

All the above says it all and if you are flying legal you will have nothing to worry
 
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I believe the Law says that"
It is unlawful for any person to use an electronic GPS device to track someone without consent. Stalking is a course of conduct where someone uses a GPS tracker to monitor someone without their consent. It is unlawful for any person to use an electronic GPS device to track someone without consent.

All the above says it all and if you are flying legal you will have nothing to worry
I like that idea but I would expect that to mean affixing a tracker to someone's car, bike, bag, etc without their knowledge. Similar to drone RID, most manned aircraft are equipped with transponders that permit tracking and ADS-B incorporates GPS into it.
 
Software already exists (broken Fly), which hides the location of the operator. Widely used on Mavic3 drones in Ukraine.
Is this software publicly available or only distributed in Ukraine?
I completely understand if you don't want to reveal what software you are using for this, I'm just curious.

I have tried ciajeepdoors on GitHub (won't link here so my comment doesn't get removed) which is a script that allows you to modify the "privacy bits", however new firmwares and DJI Fly versions disable such ability, so I couldn't get it to work.
 
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Is this software publicly available or only distributed in Ukraine?
Only for drones of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The software is modified by volunteer community organizations.
 
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