UAV mapping and data encryption - remote access UAV telemetry

Olga Weis

Contents


  1. What is UAV
  2. UAV security issue
  3. Drone control software
  4. Conclusion

What is UAV?


An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), also known as a drone, is a kind of aircraft that operates without a human pilot aboard. Together with a ground-based controller and a system of communications, it forms an unmanned aircraft system (UAS). While flying, UAVs can be controlled either by a remote human operator or the built-in software (flight plan) working in close connection with onboard sensors and GPS systems.

UAV

In recent years, unmanned aerial vehicles were used mainly as a tool of the military and served for destroying aerial targets and collecting intelligence information. Today drones are no longer just seen as a military device or a toy that people use to fly around. The use of unmanned aerial vehicles rapidly expanded to construction, agriculture, oil, gas, mining, UAV telemetry, emergency medical services, UAV mapping etc.

As one of its definitions says, a UAV is “expendable or recoverable, and can carry a lethal or nonlethal payload”. In view of this, we cannot consider missiles as UAVs because they are not reusable and come as a weapon themselves.


The dangers of insecure network communications with UAVs


Being one of the most inexpensive and accessible ways of communication, WiFi is well suited for drone connections. But due to its wide use around the globe and compatibility with numerous applications, WiFi radio is vulnerable to compromise through hacking and illegal access.

Available in a wireless network, drone data can be accessed by a violator who can jeopardize the security of that drone in several ways. For example, a drone can be hijacked in flight, a hacker can turn off the aircraft to make it fall from the sky or seize complete control of the flight path. Also, the hacker can access UAV sensitive information that is being transmitted and recorded. All these can pose serious threats to the safety of not only individuals owning the drone but to the whole infrastructures and businesses for which the drone can be used.

How to improve drone security


First of all, you need to ensure the physical protection of your drone. The key element here is the communication system you choose for controlling the UAV.

It will be a good idea to use a private network rather than a WIFI-based system that is highly accessible to unauthorized users. Or it’d be even better if the communications system could offer several levels of encryption including proprietary encryption mechanism and the ability for a user to add their own unique encryption key.


The reliable drone control software


One of the most convenient and simple options to protect your UAV connections from unauthorized access is adding to your UAV software a dedicated app that will encrypt the traffic you exchange with the drone. Serial to Ethernet Connector is an advanced utility that will do this perfectly well.

Sec logo

Serial to Ethernet Connector


Requirements: Requirements for Windows (32-bit and 64-bit): XP/2003/2008/ Vista/7/8/10, Windows Server 2016. 4.66MB free space. Version 7.1.876. (29th Jan, 2017). 4.9 Rank based on 52+ users, Reviews(86)
Category: Serial Port Software
The program can help you access remote UAV over TCP/IP (or UDP) channel. The software is designed to securely redirect the input and output data from local real or virtual serial ports across the Internet. What’s especially convenient is that it’s not required to have the utility present at the remote side. It’s just enough to run the solution on the ground computer to be able to access the drone data and share it over the network with other users.

Serial to Ethernet Connector

Please note that Serial to Ethernet Connector is not the UAV mapping software itself, but it can be used together with your UAV mapping software in order to provide advanced encryption for your drone data.

To use SEC for transmitting and encrypting UAS UAV data, you need to follow a few simple steps:

Step 1. You download Serial to Ethernet Connector and install it on the computer (server) connected to the drone as well as the machine that will access the device remotely.

Step 2. On the server machine, you launch the app and select “Server connection” on the toolbar. Then, set up the connection and hit the “Create connection” button.

Step 3. On the remote computer, you establish the “Client” connection in the corresponding tab. (There you’ll need to specify the hostname of the server computer and the port that you’ll be using for the connection).

This is it! Now, you are ready to receive the drone monitor data across the network (the local one, Ethernet, the Internet, or any other). Most importantly, your UAV data is reliably protected and safe.


Conclusion


The drone control software running on the ground computer can collect the drone telemetry over a wireless network. This, however, does not sound secure especially if you’re aimed at not just saving amateur videos but working with big professional projects that require maximum data security.

The solution will be to access the drone information over a reliable encrypted channel, which will minimize the possibility of hacking. The simplest way to achieve this is by using a handy software app Serial to Ethernet Connector by Eltima. It works as an addition to your UAV mapping software and helps to create virtual serial interfaces (on your ground computer) through which you can send and receive drone data in the most secure way.