Tue. Jul 5th, 2022

This might be it.

DJI insisted drone-tracking AeroScope signals were encrypted – now it admits they aren’t

Last month, Ukraine Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov accused DJI of helping Russia to kill Ukrainian civilians in an unusual way – by allowing Russia to freely use a drone-tracking system called DJI AeroScope to target the exact location of Ukrainian drone pilots and, allegedly, kill them with mortar strikes and missiles.

So we wrote an in-depth explainer on what DJI AeroScope actually is, how it works, what it was designed for, and what, if anything, DJI could actually do to prevent people from getting killed using its tech. But a hacker pointed out that DJI wasn’t being truthful with us on at least one point – and the company is now admitting it. The AeroScope signals broadcast by every modern DJI drone aren’t actually encrypted, DJI now says.

This means: governments and others with technical ability may not need an AeroScope to see the exact position of every DJI drone and the exact location of every pilot nearby.

To be clear, both DJI spokesperson Adam Lisberg and drone forensics expert David Kovar told us that these signals were encrypted. And when hacker Kevin Finisterre suggested to us that was wrong, we checked with DJI again. It was only after Finisterre repeatedly debunked the claim that DJI admitted to The Verge, almost a month later, that it wasn’t actually true.

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