Drones are becoming increasingly popular with everyone. While at first glance, they may seem like a somewhat annoying but benign presence, drones actually represent some very real security threats that are important to be aware of. Here are 5 drone related threats that seem to be of particular concern.
1) Drones That Can Spy On You
The age old threat of the “peeping Tom” has just been taken up a notch. Unlike a person that has to either find an unobtrusive perch from which to peer into your home or risk being exposed, a drone can get right up close and personal with your bedroom window or other windows in your home. Since drones operate almost silently, at night they can be completely and utterly indistinguishable. Thanks to drones, even windows that face a fenced backyard are no longer safe from prying eyes. Not only can a drone be used to spy on you, but they are also capable of both streaming and recording video which can easily wind up on the internet.
2) Drones As Weapons
Currently, the military uses UAVs (drones) that are equipped with missiles which can be fired remotely. This means that the technology to weaponize drones clearly already exists, even if it is not commercially available. Just over a year ago, however, a civilian security firm in Texas unveiled a personal security drone that comes armed with taser darts capable of delivering an 80,000 volt charge. Between what the military is already doing and what civilian firms are developing, the threat of weaponized drones on US soil is probably not far off.
3) Drones That Can Be Easily Hacked
Drones utilize wireless technology to connect them to the controller, but unlike your computer, phone or laptop, drones rarely utilize any form of wireless security. This leaves them incredibly vulnerable to hacking. Not only does this make them very easy to steal, but it also represents a severe threat to public safety. Imagine being out in the park one day and suddenly losing control of your drone, only to learn someone hacked into it and flew it right straight into their ex-girlfriend’s front window. A drone in the wrong hands is capable of creating extensive property damage – which the drone’s owner may end up being on the hook for.
4) Drones That Represent A Safety Hazard to Service Personnel
In September 2015, as firefighters worked to contain fires that raged throughout Northern California, locals used drones to get an inside look at the damage. Unfortunately, this created a severe hazard for the aircraft used to fight fires and transport personnel. Since that time, legislation has been passed that restricts the use of drones during emergencies, but some emergency services have also begun experimenting with the use of their own drones to aid in their work. The best solution to restrict the use of drones during an emergency would be electronic jammers, but using those would also hinder emergency service personnel from using drones of their own.
5) Drones in the Hands of Criminals and Terrorists
Unfortunately, drones have almost unlimited potential to aid in both criminal acts and acts of terror. In January of this year, a drone crashed on the White House lawn. While it was later determined to be a legitimate accident and not a genuine threat, the very fact that it happened at all was alarming enough. Criminal organizations are well known for being early adopters of technology, and drones are already being used to case houses, transport drugs and are even being used in the planning of terrorist attacks.