US Army bans Chinese-made drone over security concerns

US Army bans Chinese-made drone over security concerns

The U.S. Army reportedly will no longer use drones made by Chinese manufacturer DJI over security concerns.

Troops were ordered to “cease all use, uninstall all DJI applications, remove all batteries/storage media from devices, and secure equipment for follow on direction,” according to an Aug. 2 memo obtained by Defense One.
The memo, which the publication said was confirmed by two Army officials, cited “increased awareness of cyber vulnerabilities associated with DJI products.”

DJI is the leading drone manufacturer in the world, responsible for around 70 percent of the commercial drone market. U.S. special operators in Syria have been using DJI products in Syria, according to the report, while DJI Phantom drones have also been used by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The company’s unmanned aircraft “are the most widely used non-program of record commercial off-the-shelf UAS employed by the Army,” the memo says.

As drone use has exploded, however, there has been growing concern about hackers being able to break into the device and manipulate its GPS software, which could allow a drone to enter no-fly zones that are normally blocked by geo-fencing.

Adam Lisberg, a DJI spokesman, said in a statement to CNBNC that the decision to ban DJI drones was surprising and disappointing.

"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,” he said.

"We'll be reaching out to the U.S. Army to confirm the memo and to understand what is specifically meant by 'cyber vulnerabilities.' Until then, we ask everyone to refrain from undue speculation."