Drone jamming – what’s to know?
Drones have a vast array of positive uses – their benefits in the worlds of marketing, real estate, aerial photography and filming are clear – but, unfortunately, they are occasionally employed with malevolent intent, too. That is, there are individuals and institutions out there who deploy drones without any respect for the privacy of others or even with the aim of deliberately causing harm.
In response, various bodies have invested in developing anti-drone devices used to stop UAVS mid-flight. Drone jamming is one technique that’s become increasingly popular, so it’s worth understanding how it works and what it means for those of us who operate UAVs for commercial purposes.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DRONE JAMMING
1. JAMMING WORKS BY INTERFERING WITH DRONE-PILOT COMMUNICATION
In order for a pilot to maintain control over his or her drone, there needs to be constant communication between the aircraft and the controller on the ground, and this is typically achieved using radio waves. Jamming occurs when communication is deliberately interrupted and radio signals transmitted between the UAV and its receiver are blocked. Needless to say, when a drone can no longer receive instructions from an operator, it stops functioning, and, depending on the model and its level of complexity, will respond by dropping out of the sky (typical of cheaper technology), landing safely on the spot or returning ‘home’ to the pilot.
2. JAMMING IS NOT THE SAME AS SPOOFING
While jamming disrupts communication between the drone and the controller, spoofing actually hijacks the signals, giving the ‘hacker’ control over the aircraft. The UAV essentially mistakes the ‘hacker’s’ signal for the legitimate one and starts to respond to their instructions. As you can imagine, drone jamming is frustrating for the operator because it renders the UAV useless; drone spoofing, on the other hand, is a major cause for concern because it means the other party has the ability to direct the flight, download data from the device and view the camera feed.
3. DRONE JAMMING DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK
As drone technology has evolved, measures have been put in place to make jamming less likely. Certain UAVs can signal-hop, for example, and switch to a different radio frequency if the band they’ve been operating on is blocked. It’s now also possible to put countermeasures in place to protect drones against the threat of jamming. Amazon, for instance, has secured a patent for technology that works to protect its UAVs from hackers and individuals using wireless signal jammers.
4. SIGNAL JAMMERS AREN’T MEANT FOR THE PUBLIC
While there are, no doubt, plenty of civilians who are tempted to purchase drone jammers, they’re actually only meant to be used by government security personnel, and only for legitimate reasons. For some time now, it’s been illegal for anyone without the proper clearance to make use of a signal jammer, even if it feels justified.
Keen to fly drones for business purposes, but concerned about violating regulations? Rather hire an experienced operator who’s licensed and insured and who can guarantee you’ll get the results you’re looking for. Speak to us at Drone Media – we’re a comprehensive drone