Last month between 23-25 June 2017 the WORLD DRONE CONGRESS 2017 was held at the Convention and Exhibition Center in Shenzhen, China. The theme of this year was “The exciting world of drones” and was hosted by the China UAV Industry Alliance (CUAVIA) and Shenzhen UAV Industry Association (SUAVIA). With the increasing international use of UAV/Drone technology and systems, this show was designed to showcase new technologies, advances in cutting edge aerial systems and present how UAV/Drones applications are being used in different industrial and civil fields.
J.D & Associates (JDAS) was invited by the organizing committee along with experts and scholars from 30 countries and 500 UAV industry organizations, enterprises and advisory bodies for academic exchange, lectures and technology demonstrations to high-ranking officials. JDAS focused on the UAV/Drone applications within the security industry presenting the massive market opportunity, highlighting as well the impact to both corporations and personal security.
One of the topics that was extensively analyzed by JDAS was the fact that drones have become an asset to public safety providing situational awareness with the help of specific technologies. However, not only are drones being used for defensive security purposes, but counter-drone technology is also on the rise to combat potential security threats such as drones used by operators hoping to sabotage large scale events or breach our current security framework.
It was commonly accepted that a work still in progress in many countries is drone legislation; In Europe, the European Commission has been working on Europe-wide regulations since early 2014, but the actual limits and rules, vary from country to country. France for example, has advanced drone regulations in place and has the largest number of drone operators in Europe (1,600 companies).
Security applications for businesses, residence and corporate security was another concept developed, along with the use of pocket drones with personal security features. Not to mention the fact that, the proliferation of sensor technology has provided drones with a growing number of capabilities such as night time surveillance, biometrics recognition, and motion sensing. While drones are a big potential market for security, it is not a great fit in every way.
Drones usually have fairly short battery lives, meaning they are not a 24/7 security solution. Wired products are being developed, but the range is very limited. While solutions and regulations to make drones more commonplace are not built yet, the potential for the market is undeniable. Perimeter control, security for parking lots, prison security, critical infrastructure protection, campus security, sport venues security, cultural landmarks protection and border security were among the topics analyzed during the Congress.
Last but not least, a long and productive discussion was made about the impact of drones to corporations, and personal protection of executives, political figures, dignitaries and high-net worth individuals. Given their maneuver-ability, small size, and the fact that their combination of onboard processing power, photographic equipment, and connectivity makes them the equivalent of flying laptops and it’s no wonder that drones are now perceived as viable threats.
Many drones have serious design flaws. Therefore, drones are vulnerable to interception, malicious data injection, and the alteration of their flight paths. Such manipulation could potentially have alarming consequences in the field, ranging from the theft of high-value cargo, to product tampering and the re-direction of drones for the delivery of explosives, biological weapons, or other terrorist payloads.
The fact that risk-scenarios against civilians are so frightening, leads to the logigal assumption that, simply detecting a drone is not enough — we must also have a process to defeat, disable, or at least stop the drone from approaching certain areas. As the technology evolves and new opportunities for cyber-attackers present themselves, security professionals will need access to a range of measures to stop those malicious attackers.
It sounds laughable, but such outside the box thinking may be just what is required in these early days of drone development. As security professionals, we must take the lead and share our knowledge with those who are still unaware of the negative effects thinking that drones are simply fancy toys with no harm capability.
JDAS will continue to offer solutions and advisory services to private and public sector entities in Europe ,Middle East and Asia presenting the security implications of technology to our professional and private life, with focus on the importance of threat awareness and constant and periodic reviews of the existing security measures in homes and businesses.