Chinese-made drones are flying in restricted DC airspace, sparking new spying fears in the nation’s capital

A sign reading “No Drone Zone” is placed on a security fence at the National Mall in Washington, DC.

There are rising concerns in DC about the potential for recreational Chinese-made drones to be used for spying.
Congressional lawmakers have received classified briefings from US agencies on these concerns, per a Politico report.
Chinese-made drones have repeatedly flown into restricted airspace over Washington, DC, the report said.

Congressional lawmakers on the Senate Homeland Security, Commerce, and Intelligence committees have received classified briefings from federal agencies and experts over concerns linked to Chinese-made drones entering restricted airspace in Washington, DC, according to a report from Politico. 

The recreational drones made by the Chinese company DJI — a firm that supplies over 70% of the world’s civilian drones — are being altered by users to work around restrictions that prevent them from flying into prohibited zones, the report said. This raises concerns that the drones could also be manipulated or hacked for purposes of espionage, though officials told Politico they do not believe the Chinese government is currently operating the swarms. 

“Any technological product with origins in China or Chinese companies holds a real risk and potential of vulnerability that can be exploited both now and in a time of conflict,” Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, vice chair of the Intelligence Committee, told Politico.

“They’re manufactured in China or manufactured by a Chinese company, but they’ll put a sticker on it of some non-Chinese company that repackages it so you don’t even know that you’re buying it,” Rubio said, adding, “But anything that’s technological has the capability of having embedded, in the software or in the actual hardware, vulnerabilities that can be exploited at any given moment.”

A spokesperson for DJI told Politico that though the firm makes an effort to ensure customers …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

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