US Army bans use of Chinese DJI drones over cyber security concerns

Pierluigi Paganini August 06, 2017

The US Army has ordered its units to stop using Chinese DJI drones because of “cyber vulnerabilities” in the products.

The US Army is going to ban its units from using drones manufactured by the Chinese firm DJI due to “cyber vulnerabilities”.

The decision was based on the findings of a research conducted by the Army Research Laboratory and the navy that discovered vulnerabilities in DJI products.

A memo issued by the US Army’s Lieutenant General Joseph Anderson orders all US Army units that are currently employing DJI drones to stop using them.

DJI (Da-Jiang Innovation Corporation) is a Chinese firm based in Shenzhen, Goldman Sachs and Oppenheimer estimated in 2016 that DJI had about 70 percent share of the global commercial and consumer drone market.

In the memo, soldiers are also ordered to remove all batteries and storage media from their DJI drones and await further instructions.

“Due to increased awareness of cyber vulnerabilities associated with DJI products, it is directed that the US Army halt use of all DJI products,” states the memo.

DJI disappointed to read about the alleged ban of the US Army of using DJI drones.

DJI drones

DJI’s Public Relations Manager, Michael Perry, sent the following email to sUAS News:

“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.”

“We’ll be reaching out to the U.S. Army to confirm the memo and to understand what is specifically meant by ‘cyber vulnerabilities’.”

A U.S. Army spokesperson confirmed that the memo was issued and added that they are currently reviewing it.

The DJI made the headlines in April 2016 when the company received the pressure of the Chinese government to gain access to the data collected by its drones, included telemetry, GPS location data, flight records and possibly video shot by users and uploaded to its servers.



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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – DJI Drones, US Army)

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