The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has recently accused Da-Jiang Innovations (DJI), one of the largest drone manufacturers, of sending sensitive information about U.S. infrastructure to China through its commercial drones in addition to also software.
A copy memo through the Los Angeles office of the Immigration in addition to also Customs Enforcement bureau (ICE) has begun circulating online more recently, alleging “with moderate confidence” in which DJI drones may be sending US critical infrastructure in addition to also law enforcement data back to China.
However, the bureau accessed “with high confidence” in which This particular critical data collected by the DJI systems could then be used by the Chinese government to conduct physical or cyber attacks against the U.S. critical infrastructure in addition to also its population.
The memo goes on to specify the targets the Chinese Government has been attempting to spy on, which includes rail systems, water systems, hazardous material storage facilities, in addition to also construction of highways, bridges, in addition to also rails.
The memo, marked as “unclassified/law enforcement sensitive,” was dated back to August This particular year, nevertheless was recently published by the Public Intelligence project.
In its memo, ICE cited what in which called a reliable source inside the drone industry “with first in addition to also secondhand access,” nevertheless did not identify in which, specifying in which the concern can be over DJI drones used by companies in addition to also institutions, not the ones flown by hobbyists inside the U.S. in addition to also elsewhere.
According to ICE, the DJI drones operate on two Android smartphone apps—DJI GO in addition to also Sky Pixels—in which automatically tag GPS imagery in addition to also locations, access users’ phone data, in addition to also register facial recognition data even when the system can be off.
Beside This particular, ICE says the apps also capture users identification in addition to also personal information, like their full names, email addresses, phone numbers, computer credentials, images, in addition to also videos.
“Much of the information collected includes proprietary in addition to also sensitive critical infrastructure data, such as detailed imagery of power control panels, security measures for critical infrastructure sites, or materials used in bridge construction,” the ICE memo reads.
Citing an unnamed source, ICE alleged in which DJI then automatically uploads This particular collected information to its cloud storage systems located in China, Taiwan, in addition to also Hong Kong, which the Chinese government most likely has access to.
Drone Maker Denies Sending Data to Chinese Government
Of course, the drone-maker has denied the allegations, saying in which the memo through the US government office was based on “clearly false in addition to also misleading claims.”
“The allegations inside the bulletin are so profoundly wrong as a factual matter in which ICE should consider withdrawing in which, or at least correcting its unsupportable assertions,” DJI said in a statement, cited by The fresh York Times.
According to a DJI spokesman, users have complete control over how much data they can share with the Chinese drone maker, in addition to also the automatic function offered by the DJI apps to store user flight logs can also be turned off.
Moreover, the DJI has recently added a fresh feature in which allows pilots to cut off all outside internet connections while the drone can be flying.
According to drone research firm Skylogic Research, DJI dominates the overall drone market with an almost two-thirds share inside the United States in addition to also Canada. Not just hobbyists, nevertheless DJI drones are also used by commercial customers like contractors, police in addition to also realtors.
The accusation in which DJI can be facing can be similar to the one faced by Kaspersky Labs for spying on its users in addition to also sending the stolen data back to the Russian government.
The DHS has also banned Kaspersky antivirus products in US government agencies over Russian spying fears without actually having any substantial evidence. The company has always denied any direct involvement with the Russian spies inside the alleged incident.