April 19, 2021

DJI Drones- Chinese Spyware or Safe For Use

I work for a small security consulting company specializing in physical security for electrical and power generation infrastructure in Canada and the US.
We are looking to expand our services to include using a drone to take aerial photographs of facilities like dams and power plants to provide a more detailed risk assessment for clients.

We want to purchase a DJI Air 2S due to its ease of use and price point. However, being a Chinese brand, we are hesitant that clients will deny the usage of this drone due to spyware concerns. (Nobody wants to give the Chinese government 5.4K footage of their sub station)

We are seeing some US government agencies claiming that they are not safe for secret information use, while other independent studies say they are bug free.

Does anyone have a take on this, or perhaps a comparable piece of equipment that isn’t Chinese made?



I’d recommend you go elsewhere for drone tech. The firmware on the DJI drones and controllers has to be updated regularly. The update app requires local admin privileges to run. So you are at the mercy of the update app to not inject something malicious, which is possible to have happen with any update. AFAIK there is no good way to inspect the updates beforehand, etc unless you are going to use some kind of sandbox environment to study it first. For me the dealbreaker is the need for local admin access.

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