Israeli researchers can now detect drones capturing illicit film

"Game of Drones" enables your average layman to protect him or herself against cyber threats of this kind.

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January 14, 2018 13:17
1 minute read.
drone

A drone (illustrative). (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

A revolutionary technique that can detect when a drone is capturing video, nicknamed “Game of Drones” by its creators, was revealed by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot in a study released on Sunday.

In the study, titled Game of Drones – Detecting Captured Target from an Encrypted Video Stream, the researchers show how to detect a drone’s video streaming from an encrypted first-person-viewer channel.

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"Game of Drones" demo showing how to detect drone streaming from encrypted FPV channel. (Youtube/Cyber Security Labs @ Ben Gurion University)

A demonstration video shows a man focusing a drone camera on his neighbor’s back door and window. The neighbor uses smart film attached to the window to create a physical stimulus that intercepts the encrypted wi-fi traffic being sent from the drone.

Previous detection methods have been able to detect nearby drones, but the new technique is the first that can decipher whether drones are streaming video.

Ben Nassi, a PhD student and researcher at the BGU Cybersecurity Research Center, commented, “Our findings may help thwart privacy-invasion attacks that are becoming more common with increasing drone use. This could have significant impact for the military and for consumers, because a victim can now legally prove that a neighbor was invading their privacy.”

All that is needed to employ the method is a laptop with the Linux operating system and a controlled flickering LED strip, or smart film. According to the cybersecurity labs at BGU, this ease of access is “a game-changer in the battle on privacy. It empowers the victim.”


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