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.
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.