Drone Hack : Blasting a sound at a drone can knock it out of the air

It takes just a properly directed blast from your speakers to bring down a drone

You want to take down a drone which is pestering you, blast it with sound. Easy right? Well, researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejon, South Korea found out that sound waves can knock a drone out of the air if applied correctly.

Their research works on the vulnerability is all due to resonance which is a natural property of all objects. The researchers focused on the gyroscope component of drones which gives it direction and keeps it balanced in the air.

After researching on the gyroscopes, they found out that these gyroscopes are vulnerable to certain frequencies above the audible spectrum. Once they singled out the threshold level of a drone, they attached a speaker to the drone. It took off normally, but crashed as soon as they played sounds at the resonant frequency.

Now that it was confirmed that direct sound can crash a drone, they started working on testing how to direct sounds at drone from a distance and crash them.

The researchers said that though they could not build the kind of tracking systems a major weapons manufacturers can but build a rudimentary tracking system which could track the drone from a distance and aim the sound. Once they were able to track the drone and direct the resonant sound at it, they could crash it midair.

To protect from such kind of sound attacks all the drone manufacturers need to do is build a shield around the gyroscope and prevent interferences with its working.

The paper detailing their findings will be presented in Washington, D.C. at next week’s 24th USENIX Security Symposium.

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