Jailbreak software for DJI drones
As we recently reported, DJI has ensured with the new firmware that various locks in terms of flight altitude, speed, range, etc. have been activated. These are particularly extreme if you do not register with the manufacturer after purchasing a DJI quadcopter such as the Phantom 4 Pro or the Mavic Pro. But even after registration, some restrictions remain, namely exactly those that apply in the country you are currently in.
This is to ensure that no-fly zones are adhered to, maximum flight altitudes are not exceeded according to legal regulations, etc. DJI thus contributes, according to its own account, a part to the compliance with the applicable law. Critics say that the drone giant is rather aiming at tying customers even more tightly to itself and ensuring that the DJI app is also used for control.
Hackers have something against the locks
But as with so many regulations, it is also with these barriers that DJI has built in; there are people who have more than just a critical opinion about it. For example, shortly after the installation of the new firmware, the company Coptersafe offered a jailbreak software with which you could simply turn off the DJI locks. In the meantime, there is also already free software on the Internet in several forums that changes the firmware installed on the DJI so that the corresponding lock functions are removed.
But DJI wouldn’t be the industry leader if there weren’t a lot of bright minds in its development centers around the world poring over the company’s problems on a daily basis. And so it took only weeks to close the holes in the firmware and thus ensure that the hacker programs, which are currently available for purchase on the Internet or for free, once again run into the void.
DJI openly states that the manipulation of the firmware increases the risk of accidents and injuries for the drone, the pilots and the environment at the flying site. In addition, buyers of a DJI quadcopter have to expect that the warranty will be voided if they tamper with the pre-installed system software.
One can be curious about the next round
Currently, the holes in the respective systems seem to have been plugged for the time being. However, the drone hackers have already announced that the last word in this matter has not yet been spoken. From there, they see DJI’s efforts to keep a certain control over the drones from their own production as an unjustified encroachment on the rights of the users and feel in the right when it comes to torpedoing the corresponding firmware.
In this respect, it will only be a matter of time before new software comes on the market, which in turn can help circumvent the locks on DJI drones. In any case, one can be curious in this matter, how it continues. For the normal DJI customer, who has registered his drone with camera quite normally with the manufacturer and adheres to the laws regarding drone flight, this little cyber war fortunately has no impact. Let’s hope it stays that way.