The Department of Homeland Security has warned that drones manufactured in China may be sending flight data back to China, where it could then be accessed by their government. An alert from DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency states that these drones could pose a “potential risk to an organization’s information.”
The Department of Homeland Security didn’t list any specific company. Most drones in the United States and Canada come from DJI Technology, which is centered in Shenzhen, China. DJI released a statement, claiming:
“The security of our technology has been independently verified by the US government and leading US businesses. We give all customers full and complete control over how their data is collected, stored, and transmitted. For government and critical infrastructure customers that require additional assurances, we provide drones that do not transfer data to DJI or via the Internet, and our customers can enable all the precautions DHS recommends.”
The risk that drones could be used to send information back to China is particularly alarming as many government agencies rely on drones for sensitive work. Drones can be used to monitor out-of-the-way places and to bolster security around sensitive areas.
Previously, analysts have found that some smartphones had a back door that would send data back to China. This year, Finnish authorities announced that they were investigating Nokia-branded phones that were found to be sending data back to China.
China was also caught putting tiny chips onto server motherboards that allowed the Chinese to create a back doorway into any network with a compromised motherboard on it. The motherboards were offered by Elemental and had been installed on Navy ships and at government data centers.