Chinese-made drones pose security threat - U.S. says

DHS warns of ‘strong concerns’ that Chinese-made drones are stealing data

DHS warns of ‘strong concerns’ that Chinese-made drones are stealing data

In the middle of a rapidly intensifying fight between the United States and Beijing over Chinese telecom giant Huawei, the Department of Homeland Security warned companies on data security risks if they use commercial drones made in China, according to reports from CyberScoop and Politico.

In 2017, the US Army ended its use of DJI drone aircraft.

According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), drones from China (therefore meaning DJI, the world's biggest manufacturer of the kit) "contain components that can compromise your data and share your information on a server accessed beyond the company itself".

The government is concerned commercial drones made in China and used in the USA are being used to steal data or infect networks with malware, according to CyberScoop and Politico.

A spokeswoman for DHS's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency confirmed that it "recently released an industry alert providing organizations with information related to the inherit risks associated with using UAS technology manufactured in China and measures to reduce such risk".

This is the latest concern raised by the USA government about the threats of Chinese-made devices.

The alert comes as USA officials have engaged in a broader campaign to warn private companies and allies of the security risks Washington feels are inherent in gear made by Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE.

The report, also seen by several other U.S. publications, alleges that Chinese drones can record and store sensitive data - flight paths for example - and transmit it back to Chinese intelligence agencies.

In a statement to CNN, the company says it gives "full and complete control over how their data is collected, stored, and transmitted" and that "customers can enable all the precautions DHS recommends".

DJI makes small and medium-sized drones aimed at consumers and home builders.

"Every day, American businesses, first responders, and USA government agencies trust DJI drones to help save lives, promote worker safety, and support vital operations, and we take that responsibility very seriously".

The report, for example, identifies the DJI Phantom 4 PRO drone quadcopter bundle kit as the best option for photography.

"Commercial use will surpass the consumer drone market in 2024, becoming the largest segment of the civil market", Teal Group said in a July 2018 report.

DJI says safety is the core of its technology.

Seventy-nine percent of drones operating in the U.S. and Canada and 74% globally are made by DJI, according to a 2018 market sector report from Skylogic Research, an industry analyst.

Agencies from local police departments to the Interior Department have used drones for sensitive work.