Forget the internet; the sky is the new lawless frontier thanks to the proliferation of commercial and DIY drones. And like the early days of cyberspace, that means businesses will try to squeeze money out of it while hacktivists will try to fuck with them.
In the latest such case, on the same day Amazon announced that it plans to deploy UAVs as flying robot postmen for half-hour package delivery, notorious hacker-cum-security researcher Samy Kamkar released “SkyJack,” a software that engineers drones to autonomously hunt out and take control of fellow quadcopters within wifi-distance, creating an army of zombie drones you can command to do whatever you want.
Kamker, famous for creating the "Samy worm" virus that knocked out MySpace in 2005, announced the “zombie drone” project on his blog Monday. "How fun would it be to take over drones, carrying Amazon packages…or take over any other drones, and make them my little zombie drones, Awesome," he wrote.
He also put up a YouTube video tutorial explaining how to MacGyver the drone-hijacking contraption with just a few hundred bucks and some free time. You'll need a Parrot AR.Drone, Raspberry Pi circuit board, USB battery, two wireless transmitters, and the SkyJack software, which is freely available on Github. The total comes to about $400.
The software detects wireless signals from nearby Parrot quadcopters, then de-authenticates the hijacked drone from its real controller and authenticates it to the SkyJack drone. Kamkar plans to also release a version that works with just a Linux box, no quadcopter necessary, so you can command your zombie drone army in the sky from on the ground.