Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG-SEP 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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CYBER RISK REDUCTION 38 unmanned systems inside   August/September 2017 Security experts weigh in on the threat posed by cyber thieves and what you can do to protect your drone data both during and after flight. by Renee Knight Photo courtesy of Delair-Tech. T here's no doubt unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) offer a better way for businesses to col- lect information that can improve their opera- tions. The data is so valuable, in fact, that the compa- nies deploying drones aren't the only ones interested in getting their hands on it—with some people even willing to steal it. While many operators might not think about data theft while they're in f light, drones are vulnerable to this threat just like any other technolog y, said Kevin Finisterre, senior software engineer at the firm Department 13. Not only can UAS become compromised while they're in the air, the data they collect and the derivative products created from that data also can be stolen, giving hackers (and possibly competitors) ac- cess to telemetry data from the drone's f light as well as any sensitive information it collected. "When markets haven't been exposed to people with a security mindset, they wind up being half a decade or more behind the curve of what's considered best practices in the security industry," Finisterre said. "I'm seeing things now I saw 10 years ago or more that are 101 junior level security vulnerabilities. Basically the biggest problem at this point is the drone companies are thinking about making things f ly and how to make sensors work. They're focused on bells and whistles and market differentiators. Security isn't a big market differentiator right now." It's unclear exactly how common cy- bersecurity issues are when it comes to UAS and the information they collect. Not every industry is required to report and investigate breaches, so many don't—and oftentimes companies don't even realize they've been hacked. But cybertheft is a threat drone operators and service provid- ers should be aware of so they can take the HOW SAFE IS YOUR DATA? CYBERSECURITY QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK Where does the data reside? Who moves it? What value does the data have to the organization and to anyone with malicious intent? Source: David Kovar, president and founder, Kovar & Associates.

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