Hacked DJI Phantom Marks The Age Of Drone Vandalism

May 11, 2015

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

Hacked DJI Phantom Marks The Age Of Drone Vandalism

May 11, 2015

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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We have reported drones causing damage inadvertently by crashing into buildings or losing contact with operator, but this is the first time we are reporting a DJI phantom being used to a deliberate act of vandalism.

On Wednesday morning last week, the first large-scale drone-driven graffiti was done in one of NYC’s biggest and most prominent billboards. The billboard, featuring a huge ad of Kendall Jenner for Calvin Klein was tagged using a hacked DJI Phantom.

YouTube video

At 6 stories tall, this billboard is one of the tallest boards in NYC. You can see it if you walk past the intersection of Houston St and Lafayette St. at six stories tall, as you can imagine, it is not trivial to tag a face. And definitely not easy if you are going for more than a meter or two off the roof.

The artist/vandal who is responsible is KATSU, a well known figure to the New York graffiti scene. And while a drone-graffiti is A LOT easier than climbing to the roof, and is a lot faster to break down if the police comes in KATSU tells Wired that “It was a bit tense.”

KATSU tells that this is a V1 proof of concept and that it is still not trivial to control the drone for any real painting: “Seventy percent of the concentration is in maintaining this equilibrium with the two dimensional surface while you are painting“. But this act marks a new use for drones, and regulation that has been advancing slowly so far, had may speed up as these events are becoming more common

[via wired]

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Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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30 responses to “Hacked DJI Phantom Marks The Age Of Drone Vandalism”

  1. Johan du Toit Avatar
    Johan du Toit

    Yea, it is time to regulate the sale of spray paint…

    1. mike Avatar
      mike

      Actually… they already do. A lot hardware stores restrict sales under the age of 18.

      America… where there are less restrictions on buying a gun than paint.

      1. Shifty303 Avatar
        Shifty303

        Yeah because there are background checks on paint, right? Even if there were, third party sellers could still go to paint shows and sell their paint to other people without performing background checks. Meanwhile lacquer finish and paper bags are free-reign for kids to get high on.

  2. Nguyễn Khánh Avatar
    Nguyễn Khánh

    Fuck this guy. Seriously. >_>

  3. Marc Stokes Avatar
    Marc Stokes

    it’s “artists” like this who make it harder for legitimate drone owners to enjoy their hobby, all this will do is introduce more and more laws to stop people owing and flying them.

    1. Andrew Sible Avatar
      Andrew Sible

      I disagree with calling that crap art or the operator an artist. It’s vandalism, period. Quotes or none, it’s not art.

      Sadly reporting on the vandalism only gives the vandal exposure that he/she obviously seeks.

      I agree though and I hope r/c flight is not ruined.

      1. Matias Gonua Avatar
        Matias Gonua

        vandalism of a fucking billboard? who gives a shit?

    2. Marc Stokes Avatar
      Marc Stokes

      Oh I agree, this person is a pretty infamous/well known graffiti artist though, but this was just vandalism,

      1. mike Avatar
        mike

        As is most graffiti. At least draw something interesting and not just some random lines and call it a “tag”.

    3. Andrew Sible Avatar
      Andrew Sible

      Really? What a shithead. I won’t bother googling the name now thanks for the heads up.
      Got all I need to know :)

  4. Michał Korbutt Avatar
    Michał Korbutt

    Outdoor advertising is more of a vandalism act than what this drone did…in my opinion of course.

  5. Вергунов Сергей Avatar
    Вергунов Сергей

    I liked it! :)

  6. Fletch Avatar
    Fletch

    “…featuring a huge ad of Kendall Jenner for Kelvin Klein …” Kelvin Klein?!?! Seriously?

  7. Marc Pujol Avatar
    Marc Pujol

    1. That is not art, just a semi controlled drone with a spray can making a few lines.
    2. Someone spent a bunch of money producing that billboard and I suspect they will be somewhat pissed.
    3. Whether you like it or not, the billboard is actually art. So now you have some guy in the name of vandalism destroying art.

  8. Jo Avatar
    Jo

    Fucking twat.

  9. Gvido Mūrnieks Avatar
    Gvido Mūrnieks

    That is awesome, with bad execution!
    I wonder, would it be possible, to code the drone, to draw premade graffiti?
    So many possibilities!

    1. Jason Wright Avatar
      Jason Wright

      Yes, completely possible. Just need the two additions I mentioned in another post, optical flow sensor pointing at the “canvas” and ultrasonic range finder to keep the right distance away from it.
      Programming it to draw would be easy then. As would “freehand” drawing.

  10. Jason Wright Avatar
    Jason Wright

    He should have used 7 spray cans as “dots” in a dot matrix printer.
    When he scanned horizontally then it could just automatically spray a message.

    An ultra-sonic distance sensor could also help keep the right position relative to the “canvas”.

    In fact they do optical flow sensors that normally point down to keep position relative to the ground but you could face one forwards and use for altitude/horizontal hold to make this sort of thing much easier.

    That said they also sell little RC cars that stick to walls. That and a felt tip pen would do pretty much the same job :)

    Don’t blame the technology, it’s just a tool.

  11. Tom Medlock Avatar
    Tom Medlock

    They cleaned this up pretty fast I saw the billboad a few nights ago and there was no paint on it. My guess is if it wasn’t for this guy filming it himself hardly anyone would of even known about this.

    1. mike Avatar
      mike

      I expect that these billboards get graffiti quite often. They are probably ready for this kind of thing.

  12. Shachar Weis Avatar
    Shachar Weis

    Someone ductaped a spray can to a phantom. It was not “Hacked”.

    1. Alex Avatar
      Alex

      there really needs to be an education campaign about the usage of the word ‘hacked’. can’t tell you how many people think they’ve been ‘hacked’ when someone sits down in front of their logged-in facebook account

      1. Shifty303 Avatar
        Shifty303

        The internet is the greatest tool in the history of man and written/spoken language has been hacked to pieces since everyone gained access. I believe haxxors were the first to start making L337 slang so it serves them right.

  13. Bill Erwood Avatar
    Bill Erwood
  14. Philip D Bowl Avatar
    Philip D Bowl

    Cheap marketing gimmick!

  15. mzungu Avatar
    mzungu

    Someone that just spray his signature onto thing he did not create is not an artist, just some teenage tagger…at most.

    I regret really googled him….He and his work bores me.

  16. Crimson Hikari Avatar
    Crimson Hikari

    Vandals are one of the big reasons why we can’t have nice things. What an idiot.

  17. Tyson Tree Avatar
    Tyson Tree

    Your a pile of worthless trash. Its crap like this thats going to get these awesome toys banned! Learn some respect, chump!

  18. David Thomson Avatar
    David Thomson

    Once the FAA gets word of this, the painter will be hunted down for creating a ballistic weapon with a flying device. There are strict laws against this.

  19. Yomismo Avatar
    Yomismo

    More drone-moronism. Tiered of dumb asses graffiti “artists”