DroneWarz: Hacking Drones at DEFCON

Hey everybody, this is Ray with Unicorn
Riot, we are here at DEFCON 26 in Las Vegas in the DroneWarz Village, which is
a new village. Can you guys tell me a little bit about what’s going on here? Today we are hacking drones in here, both from an offensive and defensive
perspective, we are hacking the drone license plates at this table over here.
So this is proposed regulation for drones, to actually have these license
plates on them, so, we’re hacking those as well,
we have several commercial drones that will be put in here tomorrow for hacking
as well, and we are also building our own payloads. Currently we’re working on a
group of wireless and testing tools using a Raspberry Pi connected to a
drone, so we can actually do fly-by testing. When we started DroneWarz we actually started volunteering at Roots about five years ago, I started as a robotics
program first, and then later, we became a, kind of, evolved naturally into a drone
program as robotics evolved into drones, as well, the kids’ interest really took
off, the Roots program has about a thousand kids per year that go through it,
and so this was a very popular program. Last year, when H0m3less joined me,
we did a lot more, we built our own payloads for it, which was on a custom operating system that we built over time, and it’s designed to be an open-source
platform that people can build on, the kids love that, they took Raspberry PIs home at the end of the day, everyone built drones throughout the
entire work station, and we had so much positive feedback that DEFCON came up to us, approached us, and said we would really like to see this happen as a full village, would you please apply next year. We said, absolutely, so we pulled this together, we put together what we thought was going
to be a really good highly interactive themified version of drone hacking, and so
this is our version one. So are there any, you said there’s a competition going on
here, are there, like, racing, or… So we do have racing going on, it’s all simulated
racing for today, next door we actually have some of the mini, mini loops to try
to fly, if you really want to test your patience, they can be quite squirrely, but
it will actually teach you the basics of how to control a controller. There’s also
a whole group over here building drones onto clipboards, and people are actually
learning how to put a racing drone together. So hopefully we’ll see 400 of those in the skies tonight. So if somebody were interested
in drone technology and learning more and they walked in, what happens? Like, is
there a mentorship thing going on, or what, how does that process go? That’s exactly how it happens, so if you look behind the tables, you’re gonna see that
we have some scientists sitting by the tables, so over to my left, here, and this
is our pwn-a-drone area, and on this section, this is a highly interactive
section where we’re building the drones that we’re gonna break, so tomorrow and
Sunday they’re all gonna be bricks once they’re completed, but right now we’re
building them, getting them ready, and he builds drones for a living, enterprise drones for large companies he knows drones better than anyone I’ve met, and he’s a, he’s a fantastic hacker for drones, so we’re mentoring people with
hacking drones here, and then, as you go around the room, each one of those areas
has a scientist behind the table, that’s going to sit there and work with you on
your objectives. Awesome, do you need to bring anything in here? A computer or…? It’s great to have a laptop, if you have a laptop bring it with you. So some of the stuff like the license plate, RF equipment, if
you have it, any, any software-defined radios and things like that. So, yeah, if you got your bag with you, bring it. So if somebody isn’t at DEFCON, what can they do to start learning this kind of
stuff that you can learn in this room? Any resources or… There’s so many, we did
put together, we have a website, DroneWarz.org, we are going to be linking a lot of, we’ve had a lot of great people that
have approached us with good research, some of it’s on YouTube, some of its out
there, and we have a lot of collaborators, annually, our payloads development
happens all year round, we’re building our own flight
controllers, platforms, everything that people will be working with long term,
including the CTF events, so we’ll be linking more and more content every day,
and as more and more collaborators grow, we’re hoping that this grassroots
initiative literally takes off. So what do you see for the future, is there gonna
be, do you have other ideas brewing for next year, or kind, of beyond that? That depends on how much space they’ll give us. If we can, if we can build our ideal flight area, we’re looking to build a
full active CTF, with no rules, with drones that people can bring in for
teams of four or eight total in-flight, active payloads that are attacking and
defending, audience interactive, so everyone in the audience can actually
participate, take the drones down too, we’re looking for a very highly, highly
interactive large stage to put that on, about 60 by 40 is our ideal space. Where
can we kind of, like, cast our vote, like, give the drone people their space, you
know, DEFCON, I want to see that… I’ll say this, the drone enthusiasts market is, there’s now over a million FAA-registered drones in the United States, the largest density of drones that are
registered with the FAA is right here in Las Vegas, and so this market is
really already a strong market for it, I think that, I think DroneWarz and drone
hacking and what we’re planning on doing with our CTF events presents one of the
largest growth opportunities for the DEFCON audience, if you’ve ever wanted to see it, go to three hotels, I think DroneWarz might
be the way to do it. Can you describe in, kind of, like, plain
words, what a payload is for some of our viewers? So basically, just different sets
of tools that we’re putting together, some of it can be ran as, like, a script, where
it’s two or three, two or three different tools working together, some of it on the
Raspberry Pi, yes, it’s made for Debian, yes, it’s made for, what, yeah, it’s made
for Linux, but it’s not necessarily made for the PI, so where I’m gonna do a lot
of stuff and actually pull it together, I’ve got my youngest mentor back there,
or mentee, actually, I think he’s mentoring me this year, yeah, it’s
getting some of the tools to work together, and that’s what we’re talking
about, an actual payload to put together, and as our drone grows, there’s actually going to be a
second side of the payloads which will be physical things that slide on and off
of the drones, such as magnets, to actually leave, leave devices behind, claw, to
actually drop USBs behind enemy lines, ’cause why walk in if I can just drop it
off, different things like that, so, payloads, down here, kinda has a couple
of different meanings, but, yeah, that’s the gist of it. These are operational drones, and
although it looks like a weird platform, the idea is that this is a blown apart
version of a drone that a hacker can interface with any
given component. So if you want to, if you want to interface with the flight
controller itself, you can interface with the flight controller, the receivers, the
motors, the controllers. Now this is just a piece we put on for safety
purposes, so this lets us know if someone’s doing a high-voltage attack
against the device, it will light up in amber, really bright, so any of us that
are standing around the table will be able to tell the attack’s taking place.
This is our pwn-a-drone objective, we do have these set up for all three
protocols for drones, we also have it set up so that you can attack the
controllers. We have several different controllers, about eight different
options, and again offer all protocols, and we have a setup so you can attack
vision systems, so a vision systems would include things like Fat Shark goggles and
Fat Sharks, one of our sponsors, so they gave us several goggles to test with, and PB viewers to attack as well. So those are all within our pwn-a-drone objectives. Overall, we’re looking for the best exploits, the best vulnerabilities, any
CVEs that come out of this village we’re one day hoping to rival the IOT village. Yeah, so there’s build a drone, and then this is also part of pwn-a-drone, once
it’s built we can pwn it? Exactly. Well, it wasn’t really intended to have a build-a-drone, this happened because we ran into a timing issue with the, with the actual
conference, we were locked out of our room for a few hours, so we’re building
now, as a group, and that’s what’s great about DEFCON, because everyone
just came in and said, hey we’d like to, solder, hey we’d like to go ahead and
build, so we built the build-a-drone station, so we can just break what we build, and we’ve made a lot of new friends doing it. We have several commercial
drones, racers, different things that people dropped in from the bring-your-own-drone drone zone section, so there’s a lot of different things to play with.
DRL, Drone Racing League, and Multi-GP sponsored a idea, of just having this
group, this community, help find out how they can make races safely, and so the
objective isn’t necessarily to find out how people cheat, or how people can
defend against cheaters, but how we can keep a drone from just flying into the
audience, because somebody had manipulated the systems in-air while they were trying to cheat, so that’s something we’re definitely focusing on from a research
perspective. Our second research objective is set around the idea of
right-of-way, so, drones in the air today are unmanned, I have, maybe, I have visual systems that I’m using to see what the drone is doing, but if I don’t see an
approaching aircraft that is manned, or an approaching aircraft that’s larger and
meets the right-of-way restrictions, they would know that exists in other fields,
then I would expect that the drone would have some intelligence of determining
its right-of-way path. So we’re building the ability to, for an approaching, an
approaching vehicle that should have the right-of-way to basically push the, not, the
other vehicle that should not have the right-of-way out of path, so that we
hopefully reduce or increase safety to airplanes, or increase fire missions that
are being cancelled because of drones in flight around fire, wildfires, and things
like that, so that’s something we’re trying to do for our community. Thank you.

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