The use of drones has increased dramatically in the last few years. Indeed, by 2021, the FAA says the number of small hobbyist drones in the U.S. will triple to about 3.55 million. With that growth, drone capabilities have increased while costs have decreased. For example, the DJI Phantom 4 can deliver a 2-pound payload to a target with 1.5m accuracy from 20 miles away for the less than $1000.00. This is an unprecedented capability accessible to anyone. This new technology has created an entirely new security risk for businesses and governments.

Drone Security Risks

Already, rogue groups such as ISIS have used low cost drones to carry explosives in targeted attacks. Using this same method, targeting high profile locations within our borders to create terror and panic is very possible.

Security professionals and technologists are working furiously to address the gaps in drone defense. Currently, the most common technologies in use for drone detection are video, acoustic sensors, radio, and air surveillance radar. Each of these has advantages, but they also have flaws that make it difficult to detect drones in all conditions. Both optical and thermal cameras, as well as acoustic sensors, do not operate in severe weather such as fog and snow. And while radio and air surveillance radar cover a wide area of detection, they suffer from high installation costs and limiting technical challenges, such as being unable to detect low flying drones on autopilot.

Compact Surveillance Radar (CSR) Compact Surveillance Radar (CSR) is a security technology addressing the problems with other types of detection. CSR, like traditional radar, has the benefit of being able to detect and track foreign objects in all weather conditions, but at a fraction of the size and cost. The compact size allows the radar to be mounted on existing structures or even trees, providing extensive perimeter defense almost anywhere that you can imagine. CSR can also filter out clutter such as birds by using an advanced algorithm reducing the number of false alarms. While the use of CSR and the other detection technologies are legal in the US and in most locations throughout the world, the response mechanisms are generally not.

Current regulations in the US prohibit the use of jamming or GPS spoofing in all cases except for a few federal agencies

Regulations Limiting Drones

Current regulations in the US prohibit the use of jamming or GPS spoofing in all cases except for a few federal agencies. This makes it difficult to stop the damage that drones can cause. The FAA has put into place new regulations that limit some uses of drones. However, in most cases it is still illegal for even state or local governments to stop or interfere with drones other than to locate the operator and have them land the drone.

In 2016 the first law to neutralize a drone in the United States was passed in Utah to respond to drones in wildfire areas because of their interference with airborne firefighting. This law may very well provide a model for other states dealing with drones in situations where people’s lives are being put at risk by drones. At the federal level, much effort is being put into evaluating the regulations and technology surrounding the misuse of drones. In the 2016 reauthorization bill for the FAA, Section 2135 included a pilot program for the investigation of methods to mitigate the threat of unmanned aircraft around airports and other critical infrastructure. There are many federal agencies that are evaluating the use of a variety of technologies to respond to this threat.

Security professionals and technologists are working furiously to address the gaps in drone defence
Both optical and thermal cameras, as well as acoustic sensors, do not operate in severe weather such as fog and snow

 

Effective Countermeasure Technologies

The most effective countermeasure for drones is jamming, currently off-limits to the private sector. This includes stadiums, convention centers, and other large gathering areas. A number of companies are developing new response technologies that do not require the use of jammers or hacking. Several companies have developed net guns that shoot a net at an approaching drone. These are only effective at less than 100m and frequently miss the target, especially when the drone is approaching at high speed.

Several other companies have taken this method a step further, with drones that capture other drones. Once a radar detects a drone, another defense drone is launched and flies to the point of detection. Then, using video analytics it homes in on the drone and fires a net to disable the drone and take it to a safe location. While this drone capturing technique is still in its infancy, it shows a great deal of promise and will not be restricted in the same fashion as jamming. However, even this solution is difficult under current regulations, as all commercial drones in the US must be under direct control of a human operator within their line of sight. This effectively means that a drone operator is required to be on-site at all times to protect a facility, event, or persons.

One thing is for certain, technology will continue to adapt and security companies will continue to invent new methods to protect their facilities and the people they are sworn to protect.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

Author profile

In case you missed it

Sanitization, Safety And Getting Back To Business
Sanitization, Safety And Getting Back To Business

You are not alone: operators everywhere are asking themselves what are they going to do? How are they going to get back to business, and fast? How are they going to cost-effectively operate with all the new safety requirements that have arisen as a result of COVID? How are they going to ensure it all gets done for the safety of customers and staff? How are they going to protect their brand from the negative exposure of being identified as a property with a reputation for COVID? The economic impact of COVID is expected to hit brick and mortar businesses the worst, as their businesses are dependent on people being physically present. According to a recent report by RBC, it is estimated that 70% of Americans expect to avoid public spaces, 57% of Canadians will be unwilling to attend conferences without a vaccine and 63% of people will prefer to drive vs fly.  This means, that for those of you in the business of travel, conferences, co-working spaces, retail stores, museums, art galleries, restaurants, sports arenas, hotels, cruises, airlines, resorts, theme parks, long-term care, education, etc. in the blink of an eye your approach to on-site safety just changed. To ensure your property is safe and secure, it is no longer just about access control, video surveillance and intruder alarms; it is also about sanitisation To get back to business and operating at full capacity after COVID, operations must find a way to eliminate the fear, uncertainty and doubt in the minds of their customers and employees. The affect of COVID-19 on safety and security To safely get back to business, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasis that all operations need a pandemic response planJust like cybersecurity has had a direct impact on the IT strategy and budget, COVID will have a direct hit on the operations strategy and budget. To ensure your property is safe and secure, it is no longer just about access control, video surveillance and intruder alarms; it is also about sanitization, the lines between the security and maintenance just blurred. From customers, to employees, to government regulators, to management, the focus is now on operations and the sanitization policies, procedures and actions of the team. To put this change of priority into perspective, six months ago, sanitisation was not top of mind for people. Why, because it was not a life or death issue, we had other first world problems to garner our attention. From an operations perspective if we enabled a sanitization issue to become significant enough to impact the safety of customers and staff and therefore the brand, then that was an operational choice versus a mistake. Standards for sanitisation  Just like cybersecurity has had a direct impact on the IT strategy and budget, COVID will have a direct hit on the operations strategy and budgetThe issue is, today while the operating priority of sanitization has significantly increased, it is not measured and managed to the same standard as the other safety and security concerns across a business. Also, important to consider, while people may not hold an operation liable during this first wave, we can guarantee they are not going to be as understanding during the second wave or a future pandemic. To safely get back to business, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Health and Safety regulators emphasis that all operations need a pandemic response plan and should follow these simple guidelines: Develop your plan Implement your plan Maintain and revise your plan While this sounds simple enough, keep in mind that requirements are constantly evolving and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, or at least until all the research is in. To create an emergency response plan for a pandemic, properties must first determine what needs to be sanitized. The current requirements dictate that most surfaces and objects will just need a normal routine cleaning, it is only the frequently touched surfaces and objects like light switches and COVID has changed the game and made the digital transformation of operating procedures not a ‘nice-to-have’ but a must-havedoorknobs that will need to be cleaned and then disinfected to further reduce the risk of germs on surfaces and objects. The challenge is when you step back and consider what people touch in a day; the list quickly grows. After only 30 minutes, I easily came up with a list of over 60 items that one could call ‘high touch’! If you think about it, the list is extensive; telephones, doorknobs, drawer handles, counters, pens, keypads, computers, etc. and the list is only going to get longer as the research comes in.   The challenge is when you step back and consider what people touch in a day; the list quickly grows Operating efficiency  If we don’t change our ways, not only will we be doomed to continue making the same mistakes, but we will continue to be lost in paper and filing cabinetsTo scope the impact on operations as part of the plan, we must then find and identify all of those high touch things across the property. If we then combine that with the fact that CDC requires that all high touch locations must not only be cleaned more often, but that they also require that each location is first cleaned with soap and water, and then disinfected for one minute before finally being wiped down. This means a one-minute task just turned into a 4-minute task, that must now be completed multiple times a day. From a resourcing perspective this adds up quickly, and operating efficiency must be a priority. Not to mention it is going to get very complicated to measure and manage especially. Post COVID rules Getting back to business is going to be complicated; lots to do, lots of moving parts and no technology to help. The fundamental challenge to keep in mind is not that the sanitization requirements have evolved, the real issue is that for most businesses this area has been left unchanged for generations. Still today most rely on checklists, logbooks and inspections to manage the responsibilities of our front-line workers, which might have been fine before COVID. Post-COVID the rules have changed and so should the approach to managing physical operating compliance on the front lines. COVID like most physical operating requirements is tactical, detailed and specific; broad strokes, the honor system and inspections are not going to cut it. The digital transformation  COVID has changed the game and made the digital transformation of operating procedures not a ‘nice-to-have’ but a must-have. If we don’t change our ways, not only will we be doomed to continue making the same mistakes, but we will continue to be lost in paper, filing cabinets filled with checklists, never to be seen again. Only with the right data can we significantly improve the operational decisions necessary to accelerate our return to full operating capacity. At the end of the day, to fully recover, operations must eliminate the fear, uncertainty and doubt in the minds of customers and employees, only then can we really get back to business.

Which Security Technology Is Most Misunderstood, And Why?
Which Security Technology Is Most Misunderstood, And Why?

The general public gets much of its understanding of security industry technology from watching movies and TV. However, there is a gap between reality and the fantasy world. Understanding of security technologies may also be shaped by news coverage, including expression of extreme or even exaggerated concerns about privacy. The first step in addressing any challenge is greater awareness, so we asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: Which security industry technology is most misunderstood by the general public and why?

Lessons Learned With Vanderbilt: How Have You Adapted To The COVID-19 Pandemic?
Lessons Learned With Vanderbilt: How Have You Adapted To The COVID-19 Pandemic?

With the postponement of tradeshows and events due to the effects of COVID-19, Vanderbilt and ComNet have taken their high quality, innovative solutions online, directly to their customer base. Through an Online Events and Training resource, you can stay connected with the brands’ top resources and products, as well as join upcoming product webinars hosted by their in-house experts. With a majority of the world currently working from home, businesses must respond to this changing landscape. As such, Vanderbilt and ComNet have turned to online resources to share new product demonstrations and other company news. One cornerstone of the ACRE brands approach was the launch of their Online Events and Training resource page. Ross Wilks, Head of Marketing Communications at Vanderbilt, credits this online resource as the anchor to their communicative success with customers at present. “Through weekly webinars delivered by our in-house experts, Vanderbilt and ComNet have embraced more virtual opportunities to continuously communicate to our customers regarding our latest and most relevant products,” he says. “To date, our webinars have covered a wide range of industry topics such as Why Physical Security and Cloud go together, and The most recent developments in card cloning and reader hacking. Attendance to these online events has proved popular and effective in keeping communication with our customer base open and engaging.” Each webinar ends with a Q&A section, as well as follow-up articles on the most asked questions, plus recordings of the webinars being made available to attendees. As such, the webinar approach has proven a receptive approach for Vanderbilt and ComNet. The Online Events and Training resource acts as a one-stop-shop for all virtual information. Overall, the page outlines the brands’ value-added resources for customers, including the ability to request a remote product demonstration, the availability of free online training, 24/7 access to the Vanderbilt webshop, plus the aforementioned weekly webinars. Vanderbilt and ComNet’s business mantra is built on a foundation of customer-focused core values such as empowerment, collaboration, and high performance and Wilks credits this mentality with their ability to keep information flowing to their base during the present pandemic. “The ACRE brands moved early to kick-start online webinars and ramp up awareness of their already existing online training and shopping options. Now more than ever, it is important to keep customers up to date on the latest offerings,” Wilks explains. “Our commitment has always been to make their customer’s security journey the best possible experience, and that is what this Online Events and Learning page primarily focuses on,” he concludes.