Electronic Weapons: Legally Hacking UAVs


December 29, 2016: As expected EW (electronic warfare) based systems for detecting and disabling commercial UAVs are beginning to appear. An Israeli military electronics firm recently announced ReDrone, a portable (three large suitcases of gear needed a few minutes for set up) system for detecting and interfering with the operation of commercial UAVs. These are the kind of UAVs favored by terrorists and criminals in general. ReDrone takes advantage of the fact that these UAVs have published specifications which makes it easier to build a database of frequencies to look for and tap into or jam. The database used by ReDrone can be updated as new UAVs appear or change the frequencies they use. ReDrone can also be equipped to detect and jam illegal (for UAV use) frequencies that criminals could use via minor changes to commercial UAVs. ReDrone can be set to just detect, track and identify or to jam (or even take over) control signals or video feeds.

ReDrone can also be used with a similar product; SupervisIR, which detects heat. This is important because most commercial UAVs can be used on automatic (moving along a preprogrammed path) and taking pictures and video that are stored on the UAV and accessed only after the UAV automatically returns and lands. These can only be detected visually or, at night, via infrared (heat sensing). ReDrone and SupervisIR are designed to work together and produce a common display of what is out there. Both these systems are sold mainly to military and police organizations.

It’s no surprise that Israeli firms are working on products like ReDrone and SupervisIR because Israel has had to deal with more commercial UAVs used by criminals (usually Islamic terrorists) than any other nation.


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