DJI hacks have been gaining popularity for the past few months, so the UAV leading giant is now taking a stand by enforcing updates which remove hacked drone mods. From bypassing the geofencing restrictions to having access to any flight altitude, these mods have been a controversial topic. On one side hackers want unrestricted access to a drone’s full capabilities since that is what they paid for, and on the other side DJI must enforce restrictions to prevent UAVs from being abused like when a recently reported drone caused an airport to close for a few minutes. Whichever side of the debate you are on, DJI has taken matters into their own hands by forcing drone users to update to their latest firmware which disables DJI hacks. For those concerned about their hacked drones, DJI plans on implementing software updates to counter the mods without any announcements.
DJI has aimed to make mods less accessible. That doesn’t stop hackers since drone hacking instructions can be found on some forums. Mods can also directly be purchased through a third party; Coptersafe is a Russian hacking company that was covered by We Talk Uav last month, and they offer drone unlocking software which allows DJI drones to fly anywhere faster at any height. A Facebook post by Coptersafe reminded customers to avoid certain firmware versions. DJI recently removed hackable firmware versions off their servers to make DJI hacks less accessible. On top of that, DJI is forcing updates out of hackable firmware versions with mere contact with the internet.
These types of DJI hacks are a concerning issue for drone companies because some consumer drones have been misused for prison breakouts, and some have even been fitted to drop grenades in war zones.
The Future of DJI Hacks
Some might say that the misuse of drones will always be an issue, so the censorship or restriction of a drone’s capabilities via forced update is a deceptive practice since these drones are marketed to go further and fly faster than they are currently being allowed to. The majority of the people who use DJI hacks don’t want drones to be misused, yet they do not want their drone to be limited by the software. It’s unclear if the hacks are to blame in the incidences posted here, but uplifting any restrictions from a drone can also be disastrous in the wrong hands. Whichever side you support, DJI is going to enforce updates to remove mods, and DJI hacks will inevitably be harder to use.