‘Dronejacking’: the Aerial Cybercrime and Cyberterrorism
Fri, 01 Mar 2019 || By Anaq Duanaiko

In 2016 till today, drone technology entered the mainstream and can now be used for aerial photography, media filming, law enforcement surveillance, delivering goods, and other stuff that will be invented later on in this rapid technology advancement.[1] Bruce Snell, the director of cybersecurity and privacy at Intel Security stated that “Drones are easier to hack since it has an easy setup and unencrypted communication and many ports” and forecast that it will be a new form of cyber aerial threat in the incoming years.[2][3] It might seem like a tiny problem when some kids control the drone itself to have fun, but ‘dronejacking’ (Drone Hijacking) will capture visual evidence such as location, facial features, and even endanger someone’s condition. Therefor this visual evidence can be categorized as a more complex cybercrime that might abuse visual privacy for no greater goods.


Drones are recently used for crucial activities such as search and rescue, fire fighting, and delivering goods.[4] Search and rescue drones are proliferating. Drones are being used more often in these critical missions. Police and Fire Departments are big users of these rescue drones. These sectors know the value of drones itself in finding and rescuing people as quickly as possible. In June 2018 a police found a 75 years old man stuck in marshes nearly 24 hours after he went missing.[5] Besides searching missing people, fire fighting drones are also helping the firefighters extinguish fires from above since the standard firefighter truck only reaches 70 Meters and fire fighting drones could reach 300 meters in just 6 minutes.[6] Other than finding and extinguishing, sending items and goods such as medicines is also another crucial function of drone usage. Medical drones are used in Rwanda where blood packs and medical supplies are sent to save the lives of the people in rural Rwanda.[7]


These usage of drones are very crucial on saving the lives of the people that are in danger, thus ‘dronejacking’ will be the threat of these flying helpers. ‘Dronejacking’ kits are already accessible since people could find the do it yourself (diy) device for ‘drone jacking’ and this gives easy access for hacktivists to hijack drones.[8] This activity of disrupting signals and even control the drone itself could steal private data and even cancel the usage of the drone.

The cause of a missing person, fire, and sickness might be a sudden event, but it also might be caused by an organization or even a state for an act of terrorism. The technology advancement of ‘dronejacking’ might also sabotage drones to gain information or even succeed in the mission of terrorism. Hijacking all searching drones on a certain range, disturb the connection of a fire fighting drone, and controlling the medical drones to send them away might be the worst activity a human could do on abusing the technology advancement for cybercrime and cyber terrorism.


To avoid the act of cybercrime and cyber terrorism, the distribution of drones should be limited and accessed by, so when the drone is hijacked, proper procedures could be done by the users to avoid further risks. The distribution of drones are currently massive and produced by many drone companies which create the risk of ‘dronejacking’ since hacktivist could learn how different type of drones work and used. New policies on drones should also be made by the government to reduce the risk of the breach on state privacy or even endanger the citizens. Policies on drones are still on the unmanned aircraft policies which still regards on how tall the drone should fly, but not about how to protect the drone itself. Drone protections should also be enhanced such as putting an AI for anti-hijack or such to ensure there won’t be any breach in the drone’s system.


Drone is a beneficial technology advancement that could be used for the greater good of the people, but it could also bring threat to people when it is hijacked. ‘Dronejacking’ could worsen the situation of an event and bring risks to users or even the state. Policies then should be made for the drones itself (the company) and the users to ensure the cybersecurity if the people and the nation. Thus, drones might be a threat of a state when hacktivists and even worse when terrorists hijack it. 

Editor: Anisa Pratita Mantovani

Read another article written by Anaq Duanaiko


[1] Murdock, Jason. (2016).'Dronejacking' to become next big security threat as hackers look to the sky. [online] IBT. Available at: https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/dronejacking-become-next-big-security-threat-hackers-look-sky-1594012 [Accessed 19 February 2019]

[2] Ibid.,

[3] O’Malley, James. (2016). Don’t let that flying drone out of your sight: you never know where it might turn up next. [online] E&T. Available at: https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2017/03/drones-wide-open-to-hijack-threats [Accessed 19 February 2019]

[4] Corrigan, Fintan. (2018). What Are Drones Used For From Business To Critical Missions. [online] Dronezon. Available at: https://www.dronezon.com/drones-for-good/what-are-drones-used-for-and-best-drone-uses/ [Accessed 19 February 2019]

[5] Baynes, Chris. (2018). Police drone finds missing man stuck in Norfolk marshes.[online] Independent. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/norfolk-missing-man-drone-police-drone-stuck-marshes-titchwell-brancaster-peter-pugh-a8406821.html [Accessed 19 February 2019]

[6] Aerones. (2018). Firefighting Solution. [online] Aerones. Available at: https://www.aerones.com/eng/firefighting_drone/ [Accessed 20 February 2019]

[7] BBC. (2018). Drones deliver blood and medical supplies in Rwanda. [online] BBC. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-43886039/drones-deliver-blood-and-medical-supplies-in-rwanda [Accessed 20 February 2019]

[8] Atherton, Kelsey D. (2016). This DIY Device Lets You Hijack Drones In Mid-Air. [online] Popular Sciences. Available at: https://www.popsci.com/learn-how-to-disable-popular-drone-with-cheap-computer [Accessed 20 February 2019]