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News & Notes

U.S. Army Discontinues Use of DJI Drones

Army memorandum cites cyber vulnerabilities

August 4, 2017

In an army memorandum dated August 2, Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson called for the U.S. Army to immediately cease all use of DJI drones, as well as “uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries/storage media from devices, and secure equipment for follow on direction.”

The memo, acquired by drone news blog sUAS News, indicates that the U.S. Army is concerned about the “increased awareness of cyber vulnerabilities associated with DJI products.”

Indeed, the past few weeks have been difficult for DJI, as increasing numbers of DJI operators are finding ways through backdoors in the company’s code. Primarily, these hacks were attempts to circumvent DJI’s strict geofencing functions.
DJI’s PR provided the same statement to both sUAS News and The Register: “We are surprised and disappointed to read reports of the U.S. Army’s unprompted restriction on DJI drones as we were not consulted during their decision. We are happy to work directly with any organization, including the U.S. Army, that has concerns about our management of cyber issues.”

DJI also noted it would be reaching out to the U.S. Army to confirm the contents of the memo and clarify the meaning of the phrase “cyber vulnerabilities.” Drone360 has reached out to the U.S. Army’s public relations for comment on the memo.

This is not the first time the U.S. military was wary about the threat of small consumer drones. In April, the FAA implemented additional flight restrictions over 133 U.S. military bases. And as weaponized consumer drones play an ever-increasing role in combat, expect more such efforts by government and military organizations to neutralize potential threats.
Featured image: Drew Halverson