Amazon’s publicity stunt earlier this week has certainly caught the eye of pretty much everyone interested in new delivery technologies, which again, is pretty much everyone since we all want our packages to arrive as soon as possible. However, there are way too many factors that make Amazon Prime Air not really feasible yet, namely the ability to hack an Amazon Prime Air drone and send it to a different location.
A new drone technology called SkyJack has been detailed, and it allows a Parrot AR.Drone to fly around and hack into other Parrot AR.Drones, turning them into sort of zombie drones. All it takes is a cheap Raspberry Pi computer board running custom software that you can download for free. From their, your drone can go ahead and hack other Parrot drones that are nearby by hijacking their wireless connections.
The man behind it all, Samy Kamkar, details the hacking process in a blog post, calling out Amazon Prime Air directly, saying “how fun it would be to take over drones carrying Amazon packages.”
So, we know you can simply use a Raspberry Pi and some custom software, but how does it all work? Essentially, the Raspberry Pi, with help from the software, tracks down all nearby WiFi devices and takes a peek at their MAC addresses. Whenever a MAC address belongs to a Parrot drone (Parrot uses a specific block of MAC addresses), the hacker drone can make the other drone disconnect from its intended pilot and connect to the hacker instead, allowing the hacker to take control.
Obviously, this hack only works with Parrot drones for now, but as expected, the code and software can easily be catered towards using other similar communication methods that other drone brands use. As far as how secure Amazon Prime Air drones will be, that’s remained to be seen, but we guarantee that Amazon is taking into account the possibility of hackers breaking into its drones to steal packages, and it’s possible that just some simple encryption will stop the hacker drones in their tracks.