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"Zombie Drone" Can Hijack Other Drones

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A computer programmer has published online a free set of instructions that allow a simple toy Parrot drone to become a "skyjacker." Samy Kamkar said the SkyJack drone is "engineered to autonomously seek out, hack and wirelessly take over other drones within wifi distance, creating an army of zombie drones under your control." Kamkar, who was described by GizMag as a "hacker-turned-legit security researcher," posted the instructions in his blog shortly after Amazon announced its drone-delivery plans. The system can target only other Parrot drones -- small quadcopters about the size of a dinner plate that can be controlled from an iPad or iPhone using wifi.

Kamkar's system operates using a Parrot AR.Drone 2 and several other easily attainable bits of hardware, plus Kamkar's free software code. "If anything, Kamkar's project may highlight the importance of having some solid security in place before retailers like Amazon make delivery-by-drone a reality," according to GizMag. Kamkar told Popular Mechanics he designed the zombie drone to "get people to pay a little attention to the potential security implications of drones flying around and becoming more ubiquitous in daily use."

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