DoD Appears to Further Concerns of Cybersecurity Risk of Commercial Drones

As reported today by sUASNews, a memorandum by the US Department of Defense appears to completely forbid the use of what it calls commercial off the shell UAS (COTS) due to continuing cybersecurity concerns. This concern may be alleviated in the future and exemptions to this purported ban on commercial off the shelf UAS may be requested.

This follows on reports in the past year by ICE and the DoD which purport to have concerns specifically with UAS manufactured by DJI. In response, DJI hired consulting firm Kivu which produced a report analyzing DJI UAS and application software which appeared to find no reasons for concern. According to some critics, the Kivu report produced for DJI did not directly address concerns relating to prior versions of its UAS and application software of cybersecurity flaws; and speculation that the Chinese government had perhaps mandated “backdoors” into its software to allow sovereign espionage of US critical infrastructure.

The new Department of Defense memorandum does not specifically mention DJI, and instead seems to call into question every make of commercial off the shell UAS.

In other news, Axon, the company formerly known as Taser, announced a partnership with drone maker DJI to sell drones to law enforcement. In one interview, Axon stated that it will be developing software to work with the DJI drones, in part alleviate cybersecurity concerns. Axon makes tasers and body cameras for police officers as well as a proprietary cloud service called for the secure use and dissemination of the data produced by its body cameras for law enforcement agencies and prosecutors.



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