The technological progress in the military sector has brought a huge transformation in determining the strategies for attack and defense. From invention of machine guns to nuclear weapons, technological advancements played crucial part in redefining almost every aspect of the defense strategy. Military organizations have invested enormously in research and development activities to enhance their capabilities. Governments have been allocating huge budgets for development of new technologies and investors have been backing private military technology companies owing to growing need of technologically advanced weapons. One of the best technologically advanced weapons has been a drone. Mostly used for surveillance, food delivery, and other purposes in war-prone areas, the functionality of drones has been extended to hacking into systems and collecting information. Private companies and defense organizations have turned their attention toward design and construction of drones capable of participating in cyber warfare. Moreover, some of the organizations have been developing technology to hack drones.
In the private sector, military technology companies have been striving to gain the major market share in the world. The next couple of years will be significant to determine which company will mark the most territory in the global market. Bishop Fox, a cybersecurity consultancy firm developed “Danger Drone”, which was a penetration testing setup having a Raspberry Pi computer attached to the top. This drone highjacked a wireless mouse from outside of the building. The demonstration was shown at DEFCON security conference. The firm developed this for research purpose, but many people from government and private sector approached the firm with an interest to buy the design and develop their own devices.
The use of drones for cyber warfare has its own advantages. These unmanned devices can be out of sight while doing what they are deployed to do. Though they are vulnerable to hacking due to their wireless connections, they can also be used to hack without direct physical connections. Selex Galileo, a military technology contractor, has been developing a drone that will be used specifically for cyber warfare purposes. According to the patent application, the drone is equipped with Prandtl wing, designed by NASA to be used on Mars, and hydrogen fuel cells. Though Mr. Galileo refused to reveal details about the drone, patent applications show that it is primarily used for disruption of surface-to-air missile systems electronically. The drone is capable of staying atop for an hour and travel with the speed of nearly 150 miles per hour. It can disrupt communication systems such as Bluetooth and interrupt Wi-Fi signals.
Along with interruption of the communication systems, drones have been designed to listen to phone calls and record transmitted data from smartphones. The drone designed by Septier Communications, an Israeli firm has an ability to stay in the air for 90 minutes and reach maximum speed of 30 miles per hour. The interception range of the drone is one kilometer, making it undetectable to devices that have been targeted.
The demand for military drones is rising. Furthermore, development of methods to take down drones is in full swing. The vital strategy to take down drones in the warfare is to hack into them. ApolloShield, an Israeli firm has been developing “CyberBox”, which can detect and take down drones roaming into the territory. This system is capable deploying radio frequency jamming techniques along with tricking them and take over completely. There are many companies such as Elbit System, which operate in the anti-drone industry and work on development of anti-drone products to hack and divert drones.
Drones are becoming increasingly popular devices as a weapon to hack into systems. When they are used in military applications for hacking, the information gathered can be used as the defense strategy. The demand for such drones has increased with a need to find new strategies on the technological warfront.