Inside Unmanned Systems

FEB-MAR 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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26 unmanned systems inside   February/March 2017 make it dead easy to mount drone data links near your target and just take over passing drones to do your spying. Remember how we discussed unbreakable encryption meth- ods won't work for large numbers of drones because of key management problems and latency? Also, how FA A insistence on ultra- reliable drone links means manufacturers will make it dead easy to reacquire a link once it drops? Well, links that don't ask too many questions when lost also don't care if a slightly higher powered antenna takes over from their original ground station and gives their drone orders for a bit. The beauty be- hind easy way No. 3 is the original owner (and UTM) think the drone has just gone lost link, so they never even know they just contributed to Chinese intelligence. EASY WAY NO. 4 (THIS SHOULD PROBABLY BE CALLED DEAD EASY WAY NO. 1): Start your own drone critical infrastructure inspection front company and make money while you spy! Simply set up a front company that does critical infrastructure inspection, hire some unwitting remote pilots, buy a UTM license (subscription, access, or whatever it becomes) and get all the imagery you want. Dead easy way No. 1 works because currently, the FA A and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) don't apply the same background check rules to unmanned aircraft manufacturers and user companies as they do to manned air- craft. Airlines/air freight and manned air- craft manufacturers go through some very stringent FA A, DHS and intelligence com- munity vetting before they're allowed to f ly in U.S. airspace. These vital security processes are in place to stop foreign intelligence ser- vices and terrorists from using commercial aircraft to do harm to our country. Notori- ous arms smuggler Viktor Bout never f lew his Antanov's over the U.S. because the FBI knew the front companies he used and at least kept him out of our skies. Luckily, he's in jail or he'd probably be starting a drone delivery front company for smuggling because no one is checking drone companies. Of course, these scenarios don't HAVE to occur because the FA A and DHS still have time to set standards and procedures. The current Part 107 rule only allows within vi- sual line of sight (VLOS) drone operations and it's tough to take over a drone that's be- ing watched. The risk comes when the FA A approves BLOS rules and drones need de- tect and avoid systems—that's when we add things like UTM and BLOS data link relays that bring significant cyber risk. However, done correctly, UTM could and should make BLOS drones more secure than VLOS operations. It's tough to make a reliable and secure drone data link, but easy to secure a drone ground control station's connection to UTM because that connection can use ground links with heavy encryption. Geofencing is al- ready a UTM feature and designers can hard- en and enhance it to stop drones from getting anywhere close to critical infrastructure. Ef- fective ground based detect and avoid systems (radar) connected to UTM should be required to track any drones that go "lost link" and drift near sensitive targets, and be able to instantly alert law enforcement to the remote pilot if the radar track gets near critical infrastructure. THE BEAUTY BEHIND EASY WAY NO. 3 IS THE ORIGINAL OWNER (AND UTM) THINK THE DRONE HAS JUST GONE LOST LINK , SO THEY NEVER EVEN KNOW THEY JUST CONTRIBUTED TO CHINESE INTELLIGENCE. General Overview by James Poss, Maj Gen (RET) USAF

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