Cybersecurity researchers over at the Ben-Gurion University of Negev (BGU) and the Weizmann Institute of Science have developed a new technique to detect if a drone-mounted camera is recording a targeted house or subject. The study, titled “Game of Drones — Detecting Streamed PO from Encrypted FPV Channel,” shows a definitive method that would allow detection of invasive drone camera use over one’s property or person.
The team of experts behind the study created a new technique that can detect illicit video recording with the use of a drone camera. According to the researchers, this has become a growing concern due to the proliferation of drone use both for personal and business purposes, and now it is starting to affect people’s privacy and safety.
The technique only requires the use of a laptop and an object that flickers to detect if someone is using a drone to spy on other people. The researchers used it on two tests: both were done outdoors, with each one taking into consideration cases where either people or property are being recorded.
In both of the test cases, the researchers placed a smart film on the subjects and then proceeded to enter a few software commands on a laptop. This allowed them to access the encrypted video stream taken directly from the drone camera’s point of view, where any changes related to their used smart film would be detectable.
The researchers noted that the biggest thing that works to their advantage — and therefore makes the new technique possible — is their ability to force controlled physical changes to captured targets in order to influence the bitrate being transmitted on the drone camera’s stream channel.
What’s interesting is that, according to the researchers, any laptop that can run Linux OS is said to be capable of running the software needed for the technique. In this case, the new technique is now only uniquely effective but also low-cost, which means that it can be easy to implement as long as you know the proper procedure.
Unauthorized drone recordings have steadily risen over the past couple of years right alongside the rise of unauthorized drone flights. The problem has now become so bad, in fact, that certain countries like Singapore have already introduced laws to control them. These laws are mostly simple, regulatory rules, but it’s not hard to imagine them banning drone use entirely if the problem of illegal drone recording ends up becoming much worse in the future.
Meanwhile, in places where the rules and regulations still aren’t clear, unauthorized drone use continues to rise. This will likely only become a much bigger problem as more and more people get access to drones, not to mention as the level of technology in them further increases.
In short, it may soon be totally necessary to learn techniques such as the one devised by the researchers in order to prepare yourself against illicit drone recordings. After all, an inability to detect when you or your home are being recorded equates to an inability to preserve your personal privacy. If the laws still haven’t caught up with the technological progress of drones, then it would be best to make up for them through your own personal efforts.
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