Drone hacker infects other competitors

The winning entry connected wirelessly with other drones, prompting them to "run amok."

At the recent Drone Games in San Francisco, the winning entry managed to infect other drones while airborne, BoingBoing reported.

James “substack” Halliday's Virus-Copter made wireless contact with other drones and not only infected them with his amok-copter program but then got the infected drones to infect others, causing them to "run amok."

The Drone Games are a programming competition powered JavaScript, in which each team is given a $300 Parrot AR Drone 2.0,  which is a kind of helicopter, and spends the day programming it. At the end of the day, the teams present their work to the other attendees and to a panel of judges.

This kind of program might not represent a threat to government agencies’ growing use of drones, although researchers have shown that, in some circumstances, drones can be compromised. In June, a team from the University of Texas at Austin demonstrated to Homeland Security Department and Federal Aviation Administration officials how the UT team used GPS spoofing to take control of a drone in flight.

Unmanned aerial vehicles have been used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan, and of late have been employed by a variety of civilian agencies, for everything from taking weather readings and monitoring global warming to tracking invasive species, along with some surveillance efforts.

The only thing holding back further drone use, at least until 2015, are Federal Aviation Administration regulations that bar the commercial use of robot aircraft, according to a recent article in Mother Jones.

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