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posted by martyb on Saturday January 02 2016, @06:56PM   Printer-friendly
from the Sasha-and-Malia-feel-left-out dept.

DJI Innovations, the leading manufacturer of drones, launched a beta version of its new "geofencing" system that should keep its drones from flying into restricted airspace. The new feature is called Geospatial Environment Online (GEO), and it will let users know about areas where drone flight is restricted, either due to regulations or because of safety issues.

GEO will stop DJI drones from taking off in restricted areas like airports, Washington D.C., and temporarily restricted areas such as places near forest fires or big stadium events. Sensitive areas around prisons and power plants will be off limits in the system as well.

DJI owners can temporarily opt out of GEO and unlock some of the flight restrictions, but there's a catch. They must have verified accounts with the company, with a credit card, debit card, or cellphone number on file. Users cannot turn off all the flight restrictions though; places like Washington D.C. will remain completely off limits.


Original Submission

Related Stories

DJI Will Create No-Fly Zones Around Olympic Venues in South Korea 18 comments

Days ago, South Korean authorities announced that they'd capture any drone that got too close to Olympics event facilities. If you have a DJI-made craft, you won't even be able to get close. The UAV maker is releasing a software patch that creates a no-fly zone around Olympic areas.

For the duration of the games, DJI drones won't be able to fly through areas in the South Korean cities of Pyeongchang, Gangneung, Bongpyeong and Jeongseon.

"Safety is DJI's top priority and we've always taken proactive steps to educate our customers to operate within the law and where appropriate, implement temporary no-fly zones during major events," the company said in a statement, according to TechCrunch. "We believe this feature will reduce the potential for drone operations that could inadvertently create safety or security concerns."

Source: Engadget

Related: DJI introduced new software to stop its drones from flying in restricted airspace.
DJI Will Ground Drones If They Don't Apply a Software Update


Original Submission

GitHub Rejects Drone-Maker DJI's DMCA Takedown After Encryption Keys Get Forked 19 comments

Drone hackers/researchers can modify the firmware for DJI drones, thanks to rogue DJI developers and a fork of a public Github repo:

Github rejected a DMCA takedown request from Chinese drone-maker DJI after someone forked source code left in the open by a naughty DJI developer, The Register can reveal.

This included AES keys permitting decryption of flight control firmware, which could allow drone fliers with technical skills to remove geofencing from the flight control software: this software prevents DJI drones from flying in certain areas such as the approach paths for airports, or near government buildings deemed to be sensitive.

Though the released key is not for the latest firmware version, The Register has seen evidence (detailed below) that drone hackers are already incorporating it in modified firmware available for anyone to download and flash to their drones.

[...] In fact the people who posted the keys to DJI's kingdom, as well as source code for various projects, were DJI devs. The company said in a later statement that they were sacked.

The code was forked by drone researcher Kevin Finisterre, who submitted a successful rebuttal to the takedown request on the grounds that Github's terms and conditions explicitly permit forking of public repos.

[...] Drone hackers have already begun distributing modded firmware for DJI's popular Phantom drones, as we can see on – where else? – Github

Previously: Man Gets Threats-Not Bug Bounty-After Finding DJI Customer Data in Public View

Related: DJI introduced new software to stop its drones from flying in restricted airspace.
Skip the Complex Tracking Software, DJI Says, and Give Drones an "Invisible" License Plate
$500 DJI Spark Drone can Take Off and Land from Your Palm
DJI Will Ground Drones If They Don't Apply a Software Update


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 1, Troll) by Justin Case on Saturday January 02 2016, @07:11PM

    by Justin Case (4239) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 02 2016, @07:11PM (#283759) Journal

    I don't want any drones flying within 3 miles of me, wherever I might be at the time. Who do I contact to get added to the exclusion zone?

    Also, shouldn't we do like guns and not allow drones within $DISTANCE of a school, church, stadium, supermarket, or any other public gathering place, until they're effectively forbidden everywhere except for tiny "freedom zones" way out in the middle of nowhere?

    Oh but wait that's a black list -- never works for security. Maybe we need a white list instead. Places where person X has permission to fly, granted by owner of property Y.

    But no, freedom from drone harassment will become yet another privilege for the elite, and fuck the rest of us. Bitch too loud and you'll be on a no-fly list all right, just not the one about drones.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday January 02 2016, @08:19PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 02 2016, @08:19PM (#283785) Journal

      Three miles? Boy, that's some paranoia you have there.

      I was going to do an internet search to figure out how much C4 Explosive it would take to knock down church or school but thought better of it, and instead I suggest that any drone capable of lifting the weight of what ever amount of what ever commonly available explosive would be sufficient to do so, should require registration and regulation and geo-fencing, and the rest of them can do as they please.

      If you're worried about what people can see from a drone, that's a whole different problem, for which there isn't a real solution, other than knocking enough of them out of the sky with your own drone such that the perpetrators wanting to watch you wife sunbathing nude in the back yard will run out of money or discover internet porn and leave you alone.

       

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by Justin Case on Sunday January 03 2016, @02:46AM

        by Justin Case (4239) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 03 2016, @02:46AM (#283920) Journal

        Three miles? Boy, that's some paranoia you have there.

        Well I thought if the President deserves a whole city I could at least get a moderate exclusion zone.

        Anyway I said "I don't want" not "I'm afraid of drones carrying bombs". I think perhaps the paranoia originated elsewhere.

        Am I not allowed to like and dislike various things?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 03 2016, @03:15AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 03 2016, @03:15AM (#283930)

        So, how do you plan to enforce these regulations without taking control away from the user? If it doesn't respect the users' freedoms, then it's worthless junk.

        Furthermore, regulating a drone is just insane. I shouldn't have to beg the government before I'm allowed to do something trivial like have a drone. That's the *real* paranoia: A terrorist is hiding behind every corner.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Gravis on Saturday January 02 2016, @07:15PM

    by Gravis (4596) on Saturday January 02 2016, @07:15PM (#283761)

    this is just a list for idiots who buy premade quads. this isn't really about security, just idiots.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday January 02 2016, @07:53PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 02 2016, @07:53PM (#283779) Journal

      Almost everybody owning a drone buys pre-made quads. The number of people ACTUALLY building their own could all sleep comfortably in your local Motel 6, regardless of what Make Magazine says. And even those are buying their guidance systems commercially.

      The problem here is that this will be hacked in three minutes, and the method published on the web. Its not a real solution.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 3, Touché) by wonkey_monkey on Saturday January 02 2016, @10:07PM

        by wonkey_monkey (279) on Saturday January 02 2016, @10:07PM (#283829) Homepage

        could all sleep comfortably in your local Motel 6

        Pfft. Like anyone could sleep comfortably at a Motel 6.

        (I have no idea what a Motel 6 is like)

        --
        systemd is Roko's Basilisk
      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Saturday January 02 2016, @11:12PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Saturday January 02 2016, @11:12PM (#283845)

        Those three guys making all the variants of open pilot software have been really productive, then.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 03 2016, @04:46AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 03 2016, @04:46AM (#283959)

        It's not that hard. There are plenty of people building uavs from flight boards. Many, many kits with everything you need but a transmitter.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by xpda on Saturday January 02 2016, @08:49PM

      by xpda (5991) on Saturday January 02 2016, @08:49PM (#283795) Homepage

      This isn't really about security, just theater.
      (In most cases, manufactured quads are now cheaper and as capable as the homebuilt, self-programmed variety. They've made a lot of progress lately.)

    • (Score: 2) by Tork on Saturday January 02 2016, @10:51PM

      by Tork (3914) on Saturday January 02 2016, @10:51PM (#283840)
      You say that as if idiots with drones haven't already been a big problem.
      --
      Slashdolt Logic: "19 year old jokes about sharks and lasers are +5, Funny." 💩
    • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Sunday January 03 2016, @01:52AM

      by deimtee (3272) on Sunday January 03 2016, @01:52AM (#283896)

      Yes, but it is useful for those idiots to help keep them out of trouble and stop bothering people.
      Many people don't want to fly where they are not allowed, they just want to have some fun with a toy. Having the drone say "I won't fly here, we are too close to the airport/stadium/white house" keeps them from being arrested, beaten up and shot, and saves the state an expensive court case. If the idiot disables the software then that provides clear intent to break the rules and removes the "I didn't know" defence.

      The best effect would be to increase aircraft safety. (I don't want any jet I am on sucking one into the engine).

      The only effect on security would be to reduce the incidence of false alarms. (which is probably useful).

      --
      Every call you get with blocked ID, answer it with "Hello Mrs Crawford".
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by lentilla on Saturday January 02 2016, @08:20PM

    by lentilla (1770) on Saturday January 02 2016, @08:20PM (#283786)

    GEO will stop DJI drones from taking off in restricted areas

    I wonder what the fail-over provisions are? If one launched a drone using a trebuchet; for example; would it fly or simply fall to earth?

    In theory, having a publicly-available, "best if you don't fly here" database available is in everyone's best interests. Problems will arise from the implementation. First of all, it will undoubtedly be proprietary and likely secret. Then, once we have a system that can identify "restricted airspace", then a rule will be made that this technology is mandatory. Thus we end up with disobedient devices - and a whole arms race of devices to defeat the locks.

    Technically, it is fairly easy to define "protected airspace" and have drones obey. Any (sane) operator would be happy with this - for the same reason that I'm overjoyed that my SmartHammer™ refuses to hit my thumb! The problems come when lawmakers turn a technical possibility into a legal requirement. At some point we need to trust people to obey the law - and not abdicate that responsibility onto our tools. If we do that we really will become a race of drones (of the two legged kind) at the mercy of our robotic overlords.

    Every time I read about disobedient devices I get a niggling feeling of horror. I intrinsically know it's wrong to have devices refuse to do what we tell them to do but I am finding it hard to put my finger on exactly why (or more accurately - how to explain why it's wrong). After all - who wouldn't want cars that refuse to plow into people? About the best explanation I can come up with is that for every rule made, another set of problems is generated. Unfortunately, that's a rather subtle effect and hard to explain to those of an authoritarian bent.

    It's not so much that I want an "obey/disobey" switch - I think I'd just like laws to be focused on people, rather than the machines we use. In the case of flying drones; for example; I'd prefer the laws to say "don't fly here, here, and there" and leave it at that and prosecute the perpetrators, rather than have an additional law saying "and the machine must enforce this". I'd hope that we utilise the best available technology to avoid breaking laws (have drones check a "restricted list", for example), but I'd prefer this not be a law itself. In short - it's enough to say "murder is illegal", we don't have to say "murder with a knife is illegal" too. It's redundant - muddies the waters and ends up complicating matters to the point where we begin to believe that if something isn't illegal, then it must be OK, rather than questioning whether something is right and proper in the first place and then referencing the actual legality as a secondary consideration.

    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday January 02 2016, @08:33PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 02 2016, @08:33PM (#283788) Journal

      Since the easiest route of control is to prevent motor spin up, or restricting motor speed so as to induce a slow crash, I doubt the trebuchet is going to give you a pass. The engines won't stand the strain Kiptain!

      Not sure I agree that everyone's best interests are served here.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 2) by wonkey_monkey on Sunday January 03 2016, @12:35AM

    by wonkey_monkey (279) on Sunday January 03 2016, @12:35AM (#283866) Homepage

    DJI introduced new software to stop its drones from flying in restricted airspace.

    Yeah, okay, I know, I'm always banging on about how stupid title case is for headlines. But if title case is to continue to be the house style, then I guess this one should be "fixed."

    It should also be present tense (and "has launched" in the summary instead of "launched") and with no full stop at the end.

    DJI Innovations

    Is that right? The "I" in DJI stands for "Innovations"...

    -

    PS Why aren't we allowed to use <u>?

    --
    systemd is Roko's Basilisk
    • (Score: 2) by xpda on Sunday January 03 2016, @01:36AM

      by xpda (5991) on Sunday January 03 2016, @01:36AM (#283888) Homepage

      You're right about DJI and DJI Innovations. It's a little like DNS servers, I suppose. I saw another company named DJI and mistakenly assumed "Innovations" was the difference between it and the Phantom maker. I agree "has launched" would be better.

      I personally do not like present tense headlines unless present tense is accurate (particularly on the radio, about which I'm tempted to go on a 500-word rant). As soon as I'm Holy Roman Emperor of the Inner Solar System, I'm going to rid the world of this arcane custom.

      • (Score: 2) by wonkey_monkey on Sunday January 03 2016, @01:53AM

        by wonkey_monkey (279) on Sunday January 03 2016, @01:53AM (#283897) Homepage

        It's a little like DNS servers, I suppose.

        DNS stands for "Domain Name System." It's more like "PIN number."

        I personally do not like present tense headlines unless present tense is accurate

        I think it serves a useful purpose. It allows the efficient distinction between reporting of "current" events (even if they're not literally happening right this very minute) and "historical" events which have recently become newsworthy (or are otherwise being submitted as an article).

        "xpda becomes Holy Roman Emperor" - it has recently happened, and is still the current state of affairs
        "xpda became Holy Roman Emperor" - it happened a notable time ago, and may no longer be true, but for some reason it has only now been revealed

        of the Inner Solar System

        Sheesh. No ambition, some people.

        --
        systemd is Roko's Basilisk