Article Title

Amazon furious about the use of anti-“Flying Pineapple” technology

Article Content

Aerial warfare of a whole different flavour has hit the open skies. Anti "Flying Pineapple" technology implemented by various private companies has become a thorny issue for the world's biggest online retailer, Amazon.

Disclaimer: This article is a forecast of a possible future and should not be confused with a real news story. This is an abstract from the upcoming book entitled "Headlines from the Future". The book interweaves scientific fact with human unpredictability, juxta-positioning historical lessons with new technological breakthroughs.

According to Amazon’s spokesperson, Benzonn Clifford, they have launched an in-depth investigation after losing an unusually high number of delivery drones in the past month. "We are anxious because we are losing around 20 delivery drones per day. Our financial losses are just getting bigger, and our customers are getting more and more frustrated with delayed deliveries.

Private companies who installed anti-‘Flying Pineapple’ technology are hurting the economy because their technology can't differentiate between a threat and a bird," said Clifford. In the world of hacking, a Pineapple refers to a piece of equipment made by a US-based company called HAK 5 that specialises in hacking prevention and penetration testing.

The HAK 5 Pineapple can detect and record the information sent over Wi-Fi networks. Experts say that coffee shops are some of the most vulnerable spaces because many people connect their devices to the free Wi-Fi provided by the coffee shop, and they are not even aware of the dangers.

Not many people realise that all communication to and from their devices can be hacked and listened to if those connections aren't properly secured. Those in the know use VPN (Virtual Private Network) technology to mitigate this threat.

Several companies worldwide have made headlines in the last year where hackers have successfully stolen data and valuable, private information by making use of advanced Flying Pineapples. Flying Pineapples are regular HAK 5 pineapples fitted with LTE modems and mounted onto drones.

The hackers land these drones, or Flying Pineapples, on the roofs of corporate buildings over weekends or during nighttime. They eagerly await the morning hours when they start their "Man in the Middle" attack. The "Man in the Middle" attack begins by giving the Wi-Fi hotspot on the drone the same name as the private corporate Wi-Fi cloud.

When company employees want to connect to their corporate network, they see two seemingly identical network names. When asked for the network password, they don't suspect anything out of the ordinary and then dutifully enters the password, providing network access to the Flying Pineapple sitting on top of the company building.

At this point, the Pineapple knows what the secure Corporate Wi-Fi password is, and dutifully logs into the Corporate Wi-Fi using this password. All subsequent communication passes through the Pineapple to the corporate Wi-Fi - hence the "Man in the Middle" moniker. This sensitive information is passed on to the hackers in real-time via the LTE cellular network.

Employees go about their daily duties, entering usernames and passwords into the database servers and websites they usually use, believing that they are logged in to their employer's secure network. The Pineapples also collect these login details, providing the hackers with an even wider field of attack," Lloyd Fitch, an IT-expert, explains.

Instead of merely implementing hardware and software solutions to avoid these man-in-the-middle attacks, some corporates have started deploying anti-drone technology from companies such as CERBAIR and Droneshield to protect their corporate offices from unwanted visitors. The countermeasures include elements such as GPS spoofing or sending out RF commands that trigger the drone's emergency procedure, stopping it in its tracks.

A number of the installed anti-drone technologies available resets the drone on which the Pineapple device is mounted, or scrambles the communication between the drone and the controller in the hands of the hacker. The uncontrolled roll-out of these technologies is what is giving Amazon nightmares.

More and more of their drones are falling from the skies, and this is impacting their delivery record. The Amazon drones can easily evade the buildings fitted with anti-drone technology. The problem is that that these companies are not updating the no-fly zones on the Open Skies Drone database.

"All drones that fly too close to these buildings are vulnerable once they have installed their Anti-Flying Pineapple technology", said Clifford. "We are proud of our innovative logistics chain by delivering our packages by drone. We implore all companies making use of anti-drone technology to update the Open Skies databases so that no more delivery drones get destroyed," Clifford says.

The challenge that Amazon is facing is compounded by the fact that a new form of piracy has emerged. Numerous shoulder-held anti-drone weapons have started to appear on the streets of Los Angeles. Upon spotting a delivery drone, bands of pirates are actively beginning to shoot down drones and steal their cargo.

As these shoulder-held weapons interfere with numerous RF frequencies, video-assisted surveillance of the drones is of little help. An arrest last week in downtown Los Angeles lead to the recovery of a number of Turkish-made anti-drone weapons, made by a company called Harp Age. It is unknown these gangs obtained these tightly controlled weapons. A Harp Arge press release states that its anti-drone gun has a weight of 2.5 kilograms and is capable of combating rogue drones within a 3-kilometre (1.86-mile) range.

It is rumoured that Amazon is considering using Solar Powered High Altitude Pseudo Satellites, similar to the Airbus Zephyr, to help track down these new-age pirates.

To summarise: Amazon wants to use big drones to prevent drone thieves from stealing their small drones after corporate companies started shooting down their drones because they were afraid of Flying pineapples. Who said drones have become boring?

mood_bad
  • No comments yet.
  • chat
    Add a review