Pilots use remote controls to connect with their drones and direct their flightpath, however, the radio signals between the remote control and drone can be interrupted. A blanket term for this deliberate radio signal interruption is jamming, but there are other ways to interfere with a pilot and their drone, including spoofing.
Jamming specifically refers to intentionally using a transmission-blocking signal to disrupt communications between a drone and the pilot.
Once a person jams a drone, they can force the drone to do the following:
Spoofing a drone refers to a third party taking over the drone remotely by impersonating the remote control. It involves emitting a signal that is supposed to confuse the drone so that it thinks the spoofing signal is legitimate (when in fact it isn’t).
Done correctly, spoofing allows a third party to do the following:
The sale and use of drone jammer technologies are illegal for individuals and enterprises, but they are still easily attainable online. Generally, a jammer is comprised of a transmitter, which can take different shapes and sizes. When aimed and fixed on a drone, a jammer disrupts the radio and GPS signals guiding it and depending on the technology used, can deploy this interruption from thousands of feet away.
Organizations that are authorized to use jamming technology are usually protecting high-risk areas, such as military bases. In a warzone, military security may want to defeat an unauthorized drone before it enters a protected area and prevent any interruptions or potential harm to themselves or their property.
Jamming is an incomplete countermeasure. There is no way of knowing the intended flight path of the drone or if it has been set to automatically reach a target regardless of being interrupted. This is especially dangerous if it is carrying a sensitive payload that could be dangerous if it crash lands or is grounded and approached by security personnel without protective measures.
Jammers do not locate the pilot, or flightpath, or identify any characteristics of the drone or its payload. They are solely used for the purpose of interfering with a drone flight.
Is it illegal to sell or use any jamming device? According to the Federal Communications Commission, the use of "cell jammers" or similar devices designed to intentionally block, jam, or interfere with authorized radio communications (signal blockers, GPS jammers, or text stoppers, etc.) is a violation of federal law. Also, it is unlawful to advertise, sell, distribute, or otherwise market these devices to consumers in the United States.
Operation of a jammer in the United States may subject you to substantial monetary penalties, seizure of unlawful equipment, and criminal sanctions including imprisonment.
Jammers pose serious risks to critical public safety communications and can prevent people from making emergency calls, and can interfere with law enforcement communications. For example, An engineer and his colleague were arrested this year for illegally producing and selling anti-drone systems.
January 7, 2023
April 29, 2023
About the author
The Dedrone Marketing Team is responsible for sharing drone defense news, updates, and solutions with organizations around the world.