Drone Threat Intel Report: DroneSec Notify #47

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Welcome to a new month and with that, a review of the past month October in drone incidents. Sometimes our analysts observe some interesting results, and October was no different. We saw quite a substantial increase in drone incidents and incursions in almost every industry except health. For some countries, this may be due to the relaxing of restrictions and the opening up of lockdowns.

Just last week we discussed how the FAA were being asked to look at a process for restricting airspace over critical infrastructure in the USA. This week, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has published a very interesting memo after coordinating a technical analysis with Sandia National Laboratory to gauge the threat drones pose to plants. In conclusion, the report states that there are no risk-significant vulnerabilities that could be exploited by adversaries utilising commercially available drones. However, it is important to note they state from an adversarial perspective, this is due to the NRC’s design-basis threat model (similar to a zero-trust model) which assumes adversaries already have insider information about a plant and its operations. It is understandable that Nuclear Power Plants are designed with threat modelling in mind – however, not all critical infrastructure undergoes this type of rigorous planning nor contains the same controls or security budget. It will be very interesting to see if this has any effect on the FAA’s requests or if the space above power plants will remain open to drones (and superman-drone activists alike).

The DroneSec team have advocated the use of drone security and counter-drone frameworks since 2016, so it’s always humbling to see it materialise around the world. In Australia, submissions closed for the Department of Infrastructure’s Regulation Policy Paper including a Drone Security Framework. In the UK, the National Counter Terrorism Security Office released a simple and down-to-earth guidance piece on countering drone threats. On the other side of the pond, the Pentagon prepares to form a counter drone academy in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in an effort to baseline doctrine, UAV Threat Actor TTPs (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures), methodologies and training. We’re excited to play a part in these emerging efforts and surprised at the rate of adoption in which 2020 has shown so far.

So, what are the team reading this month? Hot off the press, the team grabbed the upcoming copy “Countermeasures for Aerial Drones” by Garik Markarian and Andrew Staniforth. All of the aforementioned articles, links and stories are below.

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