Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG-SEP 2018

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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67 unmanned systems inside ENGINEERING. PRACTICE. POLICY. August/September 2018 ONLINE REPOSITORIES A forensic image is a copy of all the data from a hard drive or other digi- tal media. NIST maintains a reposi- tory of forensic images from a variety of dev ices, such as personal com- puters, mobile phones and tablets. Investigators can use these images to practice recovering data, while software developers can use the im- ages to test their forensic programs. NIST's Computer Forensic Reference Data Sets are available to download for free at I n 2 017, t h e D e p a r t m e n t o f Homeland Secur it y 's Science and Te c h nolo g y D i r e c t or a t e 's C y b er S ec u r it y D iv ision awa rded a re - search and development contract of more than $928,000 to V TO Labs to develop instr uctions on how to identif y, collect and analyze digital evidence from drones. "We seek to answer basic investiga- tive questions from data stored within the drone or its connected devices," Watson said. "Where did the drone take off from? Has the drone f lown other routes? Can we identify who the drone is registered to? What devices or networks has the drone connected to?" A BACKGROUND IN FORENSICS The researchers first proposed this drone forensics project because "we saw a gap emerging among law en- forcement agencies in the knowledge and protocols for how to address these devices," Watson said. "Agencies were receiving devices as evidence without any guidance on if data existed on the device and how to get the data off." The unprecedented aspect of this re- search is what attracted the researchers. "Our focus at VTO Labs is on retrieving data from new technologies and prob- lem areas," Watson said. "Devices with no known digital forensic protocols. Prototype devices. New technologies not yet deployed to the public." Watson has worked in technology for more than 20 years, nearly all of which was focused on cyber-security. "Among my colleagues I was known as the one who could get data off of old devices, new devices, rare devices and anything unusual," Watson said. "I made my mark in this space by doing the hard things that other people didn't know how to do." "In one my first jobs in IT, I came in one morning, and my boss had unusual things happening on his computer. He got the ILOVEYOU virus, and shortly after that the Melissa virus came, so my earliest days in IT involved deal- ing with malware and cyber-security risks," Watson said. "After I left that job, I started working at a startup that was purchased by Intel Corporation, and I spent nights sleeping in a sleep- ing bag on the f loor of the data center waiting for updates to help stop mal- ware. When you go through all that, you start wanting to understand how this malware got in, which led me on the path of digital forensics." EXTRACTING DATA There are many different kinds of drones on the market, each potentially requiring unique approaches when it comes to data extraction. "The data from some drones can be retrieved while the drone is intact,"

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