Improving communication security of open source UAVs: Encrypting radio control link

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

2017 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS)


The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers


Miami, FL

Publication Date



Safety and reliability (also referred to as airworthiness) are well-known factors of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operations, and significant effort has been put into maintaining and improving them for everyday UAV users. Cyber-security, on the other hand, gained attention only recently. Currently, a malicious user can relatively easily disturb operation or even seize control of the most popular open-source UAVs, as a result of their poor communications security (COMSEC). Even though solutions to improve UAV's COMSEC are known, they have not been fully implemented in a user-friendly way. The contribution of the paper is an implementation of an encrypted Radio Control (RC) link that can be used with a number of popular RC transmitters. We use Galois Embedded Crypto library, an ArduinoLibs Crypto library together with openLRSng open-source radio project. We provide some lessons learned during development, implementation, and testing so users wishing to use their own encrypted link can leverage our work.

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