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Department of Defense bans the purchase of commercial –over-the-shelf UAS, including DJI drones effective immediately

June 7, 2018

The ban went into effect immediately as of May 23, 2018 stating “on May 14, 2018 the DoD Inspector general found that DoD has not implemented an adequate process to access cybersecurity risks associated with using commercial-over-the-shelf (COTS) Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).” The memorandum goes on to state “Effective immediately, you must suspend the purchase of” and “the use of COTS UAS until DoD identifies a solution to mitigate known cybersecurity risks”.

The concern over cybersecurity concerns for the US has grown since August of 2017 when the Army banned the use of DJI drones citing “cyber vulnerabilities”. One week later the Los Angeles off of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued an Intelligence Bulletin (ICE-IL-17-00019) claiming that DJI is helping China spy on the United States. DJI’s target markets were government and private entities in sectors of critical infrastructure, and law enforcement.    

Software engineers uncovered a back door in the DJO Go App that allowed it to be altered remotely, without the knowledge of users, there was code added that allows the app to track users GPS coordinates. And that’s not all, students at John Hopkins University uncovered three additional security vulnerabilities. The apps also automatically tag GPS imagery, register facial recognition data (even when the system is off), and access users phone data capturing user identification, email addresses, full names, phone numbers, images, videos and computer credentials. The information collected is sent back to the cloud – located in China.

The Bottom Line:  Be wary and exercise extreme caution when using DJI drones; understanding the cybersecurity vulnerabilities and national security risks.

Questions may be directed to the Export Control Office. 


Drone King DJI Has a Serious Pentagon Problem

The popular consumer drone maker can’t ignore Army warnings about its civilian products.
August 28, 2017

Read the full story at Bloomberg Businessweek.


(U) Da Jiang Innovations (DJI) Likely Providing U.S. Critical Infrastructure and Law Enforcement Data to Chinese Government

August 9, 2017

Read the full story at Homeland Security Investigations, SAC Intelligence Program Los Angeles, Intelligence Bulletin ICE-IL-17-0019.


The Army Grounds its DJI Drones over Security Concerns

August 7, 2017

Read the full story at Wired.

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Last Updated: Thursday, August 23, 2018 10:34:26 AM
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