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HomeBig DataNew Electromagnetic Assaults on Drones Might Let Attackers Take Management

New Electromagnetic Assaults on Drones Might Let Attackers Take Management

Jun 28, 2023Ravie LakshmananFirmware Safety / Tech

Drones that do not have any recognized safety weaknesses might be the goal of electromagnetic fault injection (EMFI) assaults, probably enabling a menace actor to attain arbitrary code execution and compromise their performance and security.

The analysis comes from IOActive, which discovered that it’s “possible to compromise the focused system by injecting a particular EM glitch on the proper time throughout a firmware replace.”

“This is able to permit an attacker to realize code execution on the primary processor, getting access to the Android OS that implements the core performance of the drone,” Gabriel Gonzalez, director of {hardware} safety on the firm, stated in a report printed this month.

The research, which was undertaken to find out the present safety posture of Unmanned Aerial Automobiles (UAVs), was carried out on Mavic Professional, a preferred quadcopter drone manufactured by DJI that employs numerous safety features like signed and encrypted firmware, Trusted Execution Atmosphere (TEE), and Safe Boot.


Facet-channel assaults usually work by not directly gathering details about a goal system by exploiting unintended data leakages arising from variations in energy consumption, electromagnetic emanations, and the time it takes to carry out totally different mathematical operations.

EMFI goals to induce a {hardware} disruption by putting a metallic coil in shut bodily proximity to the Android-based Management CPU of the drone, in the end leading to reminiscence corruption, which might then be exploited to attain code execution.

“This might permit an attacker to totally management one system, leak all of its delicate content material, allow ADB entry, and probably leak the encryption keys,” Gonzalez stated.

As for mitigations, it is really useful that drone builders incorporate hardware- and software-based EMFI countermeasures.


This isn’t the primary time IOActive has highlighted unusual assault vectors that might be weaponized to focus on programs. In June 2020, the corporate detailed a novel methodology that makes it attainable to assault industrial management programs (ICS) utilizing barcode scanners.

Different assessments have illustrated safety misconfigurations within the Lengthy Vary Huge Space Community (LoRaWAN) protocol that make it inclined to hacking and cyber assaults in addition to vulnerabilities within the Energy Line Communications (PLC) element utilized in tractor trailers.

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