Drones The Unconsidered Cyber Exposures

The FAA believes that drones are currently the most dynamic growth sector within the aviation industry, and it estimates that 7,500 drones will be operating commercially by 2018.

Unmanned aerial drones, also called unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), are a new type of aircraft that has broad commercial and personal uses. UAS can be used to inspect buildings, deliver materials or fly around as simple, recreational products. However, as UAS become more advanced and widespread, they can represent a significant new threat to your business.

The exposures caused by UAS have been widely covered by the media. Drones have crashed at the U.S. Open, the White House and other prominent locations, and they have led to instances of property damage, severe injuries and death. Additionally, as UAS technology advances, new risks such as cyber security and privacy need to be considered.

These threats, along with the lack of definitive UAS regulations, make drones a new and substantial risk exposure. You need to be aware of how UAS can impact your business, and what you can do to protect it.

Consider the Technological Risks

Since most drones are small and widely viewed as advanced hobbyist aircraft or toys, you may not consider them substantial threats. However, many small UAS are already equipped with advanced cameras and listening devices, and they also present other risks to your business’s privacy.

Researchers have demonstrated that drones equipped with smartphones can access data from a business’s insecure networks and devices. Additionally, these drones can access areas that a normal person could not, such as the top floor of a building or outside the window of a secured room.

Any of your business’s Wi-Fi networks, computers or wireless printers could also be targeted by a properly equipped drone. Employees’ personal devices could be vulnerable to this same type of attack, and any business information on these devices could be compromised.

The cyber security risks of drones will only be compounded by additional features that make UAS easier to use and even autonomous. As GPS and sensor technology improves, the owner of a UAS could instruct a drone to automatically monitor your business, disrupt its operations or steal its data. Even if a drone isn’t used for nefarious activities, if one is unmonitored or forgotten, it could still crash and cause significant damage.

Here are the basic guidelines for registering recreational UAS:

  • UAS that weigh between 0.55 pounds and 55 pounds must be registered online. If a UAS weighs more than 55 pounds, it must be registered by paper.
  • Once registered, the UAS operator will receive a registration number that must be placed on all applicable drones.
  • Registration is valid for three years. Failing to register may result in regulatory and criminal sanctions.

No matter what, we’ve got you covered. Call us today to learn more.

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