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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39 unmanned systems inside August/September 2017 ENGINEERING. PRACTICE. POLICY. proper steps to protect valuable data, both on and off the drone. "A drone's data collection capabilities make it an attractive target for malicious actors who, like the individuals and companies op- erating drones, seek to harness the value of data stored or collected by drones," said Brian Kennedy, who is an associate at the Hogan Lovells law firm. "Meanwhile, the complexity of the data chain provides several potential sources of vulnerability, each of which may be exploited by a savvy hacker." The Threats There are three types of drone-related data that companies need to protect: telemetry data, such as where the drone was launched and its f light path; the actual information the drone collected while in f light and any subse- quent products created from that information; and management data, such as who bought the drone, who f lew the drone and when mainte- nance was last performed on the drone, said David Kovar, president and founder of Kovar & Associates, a data and cyber forensics com- pany that develops the software Unmanned & Robotics Systems Analysis (URSA). Those charged with protecting this data need to understand its value, where it resides and how it moves, experts said. Data collected from the cameras and sensors, as well as man- agement data, are typically stored and pro- tected just like any other information gathered for business operations, Kovar said. Most busi- nesses likely already have processes in place for identifying, tracking and securing sensi- tive information; these same processes should be used for drone-related data. The telemetry data is where it gets a little trickier. While this information can be protected via typical processes, many businesses aren't aware of its value or that it even exists. "Most UAS have an onboard black box, just like commercial airliners, that contains a lot of the telemetry data," Kovar said. "Companies MITIGATING IN-FLIGHT RISK Kevin Finisterre and the team at Department 13, the company developing MESMER counter drone technology, are constantly working to mitigate vulnerabilities found in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). When manufacturers make mistakes, they can take the fl aws and nuances in protocols and turn them into positive controls to ensure operators keep in command of the aircraft and avoid any problems and safety issues a hacker might cause. "Having a secure communication link is very valuable to the operator," he said. "I relate a lot of this back to computer security. It's no different than antivirus versus virus. It's a constant cat and mouse game of people discovering security vulnerabilities and exploiting them and people on the other end mitigating the vulnerability by patching them and trying to make the system more robust." INCREASED RISK The data gathered by a drone is more complex than a normal computer, said David Kovar, president and founder of the data and cyber forensics fi rm Kovar & Associates. Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) fl y outside the company's physical environment and network. That means you can't monitor them at all times, especially if they're fl ying beyond visual line of sight, which many companies hope to do regularly someday. need to make a decision about whether they're going to preserve that information and if so, how they're going to preserve it. That could mean extracting it and putting it in an archive like other forms of data. It also means making a decision on whether to leave the data on the aircraft or to take it off the aircraft. You have to understand where the data is, the value of the data to the company itself and the value of the data to an attacker or a business competi- tor or somebody with malicious intent. This will help businesses make informed decisions about how to manage that data." How Hacking Can Happen The data drones collect, whether it's in the form of high-definition images, video, infrared ther-

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