spying drone: what to do if a drone is spying

what to do if a drone is spying

In recent years they have become increasingly famous and are used for many purposes, such as photography, video shooting, but also security and above all for leisure. We are talking about drones, radio-controlled flying devices that have their origins in the military. what to do if you see spying drone. Where they are born as unmanned aircraft used for reconnaissance and attack without compromising the life of the pilot.

The most innocuous version is the one we see now in any electronics store. a small device equipped with propellers and, almost always, a camera.

Precisely this feature is likely to become a problem for privacy. since the drone can be used to take photos and videos even at great distances and without the observers being aware of it.

Of course, probably any privacy infringements are involuntary in most cases. But it is always good to have an eye and understand how to protect yourself.

How to check if there is a Spying drone filming nearby?

The method we are going to illustrate is actually very simple and has been demonstrated for the first time by a group of researchers from the Israeli university Ben Gurion. What to do if you look a spying drone. It requires no specific equipment and can be performed by practically anyone with a bit of curiosity and a PC with a Linux operating system

The technique illustrated by the researchers is perfectly legal and does not affect the drone in any way or force the encryption of the same.

Ben Nassi , project coordinator explains: ” Before we could only detect a drone. Now we have the opportunity to check whether it is transmitting data or not “. What to do if a drone is spying. This is done using the data flow created by drones with FPV (First Person View) function.

So what do you need?

  • A computer with Linux
  • A program for controlling WiFi networks
  • A reflective object or a very bright LED light

If you suspect that some Spying drone nearby is transmitting data. Simply intercept the data signal transmitted by the drone and check its progress. If by moving a reflective object in front of a window or by turning the light in front of the window on and off. You should notice a change in the signal (generally very pronounced peaks) then almost certainly the Spying drone in the vicinity is transmitting images that capture your window.

Clearly it is not a 100% safe test. As the data you see in the form of signal peaks could be caused by many other factors. Such as tree movement or bright reflections of bodies of water or very simply. You are not observing a drone!

If you were interested in the complete experiment. The researchers made a short video. Which can be found on Youtube, ironically called Game of Drones and accompanied by the soundtrack of the famous TV series.

In the video, the researchers clearly show the peaks in the signal. How they correspond to the changes in brightness inside the room that the drone is shooting from above.

At the bottom of the article you will find the link to the video. So you can see for yourself the progress of the experiment and be able to draw your conclusions.

How to prove that a drone spies on us

There is not only the security issue. With the many people who fear that a drone may fall on his head. Among the risks to which drones can expose us there is also the issue of privacy. Which is increasingly in danger in front of not only the capabilities of drones. Which are increasingly silent and equipped with sophisticated cameras. But above all the incorrect conduct of some pilots with the habit of spying on what the neighbors do.

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In this case, the privacy of every citizen is protected by law. But if the spy pilot has the foresight to keep the drone flying over his property and keeps the video to himself (without therefore disseminating it online where it could be traced and used as try). Proving that someone is using the  drone to frame the inside of our house can become difficult.

From today, however, it will be a little less. Thanks to a simple and revolutionary system developed by the Cyber ​​Security Labs team. Which is able to demonstrate that. Beyond the position that the drone had. Its video camera was directed to shoot (for example) the windows of our bedroom.

How does the Cyber ​​Security Labs system work?

Using a simple notebook with a Linux operating system. The team of researchers managed to “hook” and track the WiFi streaming video transmission between the drone (a Mavic Pro) that filmed the home and the pilot’s smartphone. The problem remained that of not being able to identify the content of the packets transmitted between drones and smartphones. But using a LED light strip to intermittently illuminate the windows in the frame. A team member managed to increase the bitrate of the video streaming and monitor its variation on the notebook with which it had hooked the data transmission between drones and smartphones.

In practice, turning on and off the light in the room has changed the pixels of the images taken by the drone’s video camera. In turn altering the amount of data exchanged between the drone and smartphone. The temporal correspondence between the light signals and the increase in the streaming bitrate demonstrates an evident cause and effect relationship. Which proves the fact that the drone was framing the windows of the house.

The system is still in an experimental phase and can be improved further. First of all to avoid generating false positives. Then to prevent a too schematic stratagem such as the flashing light from suspecting the nearby spy. Allowing it to temporarily abort the voyeuristic mission to try again. maybe later.


The critical issues and threats in the smart city.

In 2020, the Chinese DJI. One of the world’s largest commercial drone manufacturers. Its developing a technology that would allow anyone to track drone recordings in flight using only a smartphone.

The push towards remote identification technology comes between the regulatory requests for greater supervision of the flight of Drones. In the fear that untraceable planes and the pilot may be used to spy. Accidentally stop commercial flights and even commit criminal and terrorist actions.

The Drones can carry different types of devices aimed at operations of espionage. In this typology, we go to the ” paparazzo ” who wants to spya VIP inside a villa to sell scandal images. To a reconnaissance by a criminal gang who wants to acquire information on the structure of the villa. On the habits of the VIP and the staff. To plan a robbery, a kidnapping or an attack.

There are consumer drones , therefore easy to find and use, which can fly at 150-200 meters (and beyond). Keep at 1000-2000 meters from the lens and with very powerful zooms collect images with impressive details. The advertisement of one of these rooms shows a field of wind turbines and then zooms in until you read the plate with the serial number of the motor of a blade!

Directional microphones can be installed onboard the drone to listen to confidential conversations. Perhaps in an office located on the twentieth floor of a building and therefore considered safe thanks to access control.

Cyber Attack:

But espionage also affects cyber attacks. A small Drone like a DJI Mavic mini , with an investment of a few hundred euros. Could carry an apparatus to force the wifi networks and access the serves r. Until now, security had been based on good perimeter protection that made the heart of the company safe by keeping the bad guys out. Today it is possible to deposit a small drone on the roof of the company with onboard what is necessary to unhinge the computer network. And once you land on the roof and turn off the engines, the time available also becomes potentially unlimited. So the two critical factors that hitherto played in favor of the security of a corporate network. The proximity and the time available, are thwarted by these new threats.

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While remote identification technology is already available on the market. Services are for the purchase. Involve equipment and are aimed at groups such as companies. Airports and law enforcement agencies.  Flight and sightings of unauthorized drones have led to delays in flights and cancellations at airports. Costing millions of Euros to the aviation sector

the DJI claims its app work on all Drones within a radius of 1 km (0.62 miles) using smartphones enabled for WiFi. The industry is looking for ways to trace and better identify Drones. Similar to the use of car plates, with the aim of not only working with those of the same manufacturer but with each Drone released in recent years (insiders are drawing up an official list ). Thanks to the Wi-Fi Aware standard available on smartphones. For a radius of about 1 km.

Drones: what rules to follow

When we use a drone we have to respect two types of rules

  • safety rules .
  • privacy rules .

The former are aimed at preventing any breakdowns and sudden falls of the flying object from injuring passersby. The standards are set by the ENAC.

The latter, however, are only aimed at protecting confidentiality against the illegitimate use of photos and video footage that a drone could do. The rules in this case are established by law and clarified by the Privacy Guarantor.

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Drones: safety rules

Professional drone (Sapr)

To use a drone for professional reasons (Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems or Sapr) it is necessary to present a Declaration, or, for more complex operations, a specific authorization must be obtained. A pilot certificate, insurance and, in particular airspace, a permit to occupy the airspace are also required.

Recreational drone (Apr)

Drones for recreational and photographic use (Remote Piloted Aircraft or Apr) do not require any certificate, authorization or course. You can buy and use them as soon as purchased. There are limits, especially set according to the weight of the drone. Aimed at ensuring the safety of the people below. For them, in general, there is a ban on overflight in urban areas. Congested areas, gatherings of people and sensitive infrastructures. Although many do, it is therefore forbidden to use a drone on a beach. During a party or reception. But also in the context of condominiums. So, to return to the Neapolitan case. You cannot launch a drone from your terrace and make it fly over the balconies of other condominiums.

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Drones: privacy rules

Privacy rules must be respected not only for a matter of civilization and respect. But also because their violation can lead to a complaint. Therefore, a criminal trial. What to do if a drone is spying. Interference in someone else’s private life is a crime and a drone is certainly capable of carrying it out. That’s why you need to know that:

  • private spaces such as private courtyards and gardens must not be invaded;
  • there is no need to violate people’s intimacy;
  • you don’t have to fly in populated areas like public roads, condominiums, parks, beaches;
  • filming images from a drone cannot be published on the internet or in any other space if faces of people appear unless they are obscured or the interested parties have given their consent;
  • if cars are filmed in the movie, the plates must be obscured;
  • a drone cannot be used to remotely record a conversation between other people unless the subject who records is physically present at the discussion (but this does not usually happen with the drone);
  • in the eye of the drone’s camera. Other people’s private spaces cannot end, such as the neighbor’s garden. Although the purpose of the drone is to capture other spaces.

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