Feeds

Amazon's non-existent drone delivery army ALREADY P0WNED

Cracker's command: Sudo bring me that other guy's parcel

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Weak ownership of the radio control in the world's most popular quadcopter means it's trivial to take ownership of any device within range, according to a neat bit of tinkering that points up yet another problem Amazon would have to solve if its “drone delivery” were ever tofly.

And how hard is it? Let's quote directly from the author, Samy Kamkar: “SkyJack is a perl application which runs off of a Linux machine, runs aircrack-ng in order to get its wifi card into monitor mode, detects all wireless networks and clients around, deactivates any clients connected to Parrot AR.drones, connects to the now free Parrot AR.Drone as its owner, then uses node.js with node-ar-drone to control zombie drones.”

Identifying the target drone is simple, because MAC addresses are registered to the company they're issued to: Parrot drones are therefore ID'd by their MAC.

The weak ownership of the device over radio is clear from the code. For example:

# now, disconnect the TRUE owner of the drone.

# sucker.

print "Disconnecting the true owner of the drone ;)\n\n";

sudo($aireplay, "-0", "3", "-a", $clients{$cli}, "-c", $cli, $interface);

Oh dear: the drones accept sudo commands from whatever radio it's accepted as its owner.* the drones can be made to accept a replacement "owner" as their radio set.

The rest of his takeover kit used:

  • A Parrot drone to act as the master;
  • A suitable computer (he uses a Raspberry Pi) as controller;
  • An Alfa AWUS036H wireless transmitter; and
  • Software – aircrack-ng, node-ar-drone, node.js and Kamkar's SkyJack software.

He notes, however, that your own drone isn't necessary, since the setup works just fine from the ground.

“The Parrots actually launch their own wireless network which is how the owner of the drone connects. We take over by deauthenticating the owner, then connecting now that the drone is waiting for its owner to connect back in, exploiting the fact that we destroyed their wireless connection temporarily.”

While not immediately a threat to Amazon's model, since the security of today's air interface is nowhere near as important as the economic model, GPS accuracy, limited range, regulation, and paranoid Americans with guns, the project is also interesting because Kamkar seems to have been able to knock up the system in fairly short order. ®

Watch Video

Correction:

A reader has pointed out an egregious error on my part. In the code snippet posted above, I mistakenly assumed the attacker's computer was issuing sudo commands to the target, when in fact these were sudos to the local machine.

The insecurity is simpler: once the attacker's radio is in charge, it's treated as the owner of the drone, no sudo required.

Thanks to the reader who pointed this out. As Rex Stout's character Nero Wolfe put it: “On the contrary, Archie, I love to make a mistake. It's my only assurance that I can not reasonably be expected to assume the burdens of omniscience.” ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.