How important is drone defence? In today’s ever-accelerating technological world, it’s no surprise that drones and drone defence have been evolving to every imaginable end. Recent FAA reports state that there are over 770,000 registered drones in the United States. This number is expected to be “more than triple in size from 1.1 million UAVs [currently, including unregistered and commercial drones] to 3.55 million, and the number of commercial vehicles to grow tenfold to 442,000 by 2021. Pilot licenses, meanwhile, will jump from 37,000 to 281,300 in five years.”

While the vast majority of drones exist in an ethical and legal fashion, the door is wide open for opportunistic exploitation. It can be hacking attempts on your personal Wi-Fi or the creep down the road. Drones pose a considerable threat to our personal safety and security. In this article, we will be discussing personal and home drone defense and why it’s so important.

Drone Defense: Protecting Yourself From Possible Threats

Why Drones Were Developed

First, we will review the two main purposes for developing drones. They are used for data collection and interacting with the environment. Drones also have an incredibly wide range of capabilities. Both capabilities have their own unique challenges that we will explore.

Secondly, we will explore what’s headway in the drone defense systems in the market. The more popular solutions like AR-15 attachments have been limited to government use only. Although there are some simple steps you can take against drone surveillance.

Drones for Data Collection

Photo by Popsci

This drone has a hacking computer used by researchers for breaching Wi-Fi networks.Drone development always begins with the best intentions. Unfortunately, opportunistic criminals can use this technology for their own devious ends. Data collection is a way for hackers to cast a massive dragnet to capture as much information as possible. This means people will definitely want drone defense technology. So, what kind of data are drones currently capable of collecting? From the beginning, drones have a live video feed when it flies out of direct line of sight. Since then, drone enthusiasts couldn’t help imagining countless video configurations. This capability of remote flight came with its gaps though. Primarily, this revolves around our unspecified air rights. 

The small claims court law that has preceded us unofficially defines the end of your private airspace at somewhere between 80 and 500 feet. The current justice system allows drones to spy on a private property while homeowners conduct private affairs. If you follow that link you’ll read a story about a dad who shot down a drone over his property. It was spying on his teenage daughter but was later charged with two property crimes for doing so. 

While the Kentucky solution may not be legally appropriate in every situation, we will address that method later on. Even bird watchers use drones by using directional microphones to better track songbirds. Again, the possibility for illegal surveillance surfaces here with little room for recourse. What do all these have in common? Electronic signals. Therein lies our biggest vulnerability to malicious drone operators. Self-contained networks’ main strength require hackers to be on-site to break into the network. The physical location has been a deterrent to most criminals. 

However, the ability to remotely operate a drone from miles away allows the user to get a hacking computer close enough to the facility. This means there’s a breach in the network. The hacking drone can then connect to every device directly or indirectly. This also means all of your sensitive financial information is up for grabs.

Drones for Physical Tasks

Again, the capability and versatility that drones bring seem to be growing every day. Automation continues to take over the manufacturing industry. This prompts manufacturers and operators to push the limits of how a drone can affect the environment. From package deliveries to dropping grenades, drone delivery systems are vulnerable to exploitation.

Aside from dropping payloads, some additional tinkering makes drones perform simple robotic tasks. This varies from collecting organic samples for agriculture to rigging an actuator to squeeze a trigger. The teenage owner of this drone definitely deserves questioning. Again, this demonstrates how simple it can be for a someone to modify drones.

How To Prepare For These New Threats

Knowledge is the best way to prepare. The number of registered drones and drone operators is increasing. The sheer volume of these airborne assistants will prove the need for addressing property owner’s concerns. It is then important to think critically about the possibility of you being a target. If anything, the biggest risk homeowners face is hacking of their Wi-Fi networks. This can compromise all devices connected to that network. For that reason, we will focus on what you can do to best mitigate and prepare for that threat. The best part is, these are all tips you can install today, on your own network.

Here are a few network security tips from PC Magazine that you can implement today. This can better protect your Wi-Fi network and connected devices.

  • Activate network encryption
  • Update your router’s admin username and password
  • Change your network name
  • Turn off guest networks
  • Turn down broadcast power if you find that your wifi signal is reaching out to areas you don’t use.

Active drone defense systems are still in development. The market needs a system which produces some innovative solutions. Dedrone has devised a jamming system that creates enough disruption to cause a drone to lose communication with the pilot. At that point, autopilot takes over and the drone either lands on the spot or returns to the point it took off from. This system is still new and best for large commercial or infrastructural facilitates. It is also likely to scale down for the public soon.

Dedrone’s DroneTracker system creates a protective electronic ‘bubble’ of active monitoring and defense.

Finally, remember the Kentucky solution? That got me thinking, is that a contingency worth preparing for? Since there still has not been a clear definition of air rights, the best we can do is prepare for the threat now and wait for legislation to catch up.

While shooting clay pigeons have been the best aerial replication of flight for target shooting thus far, Gnat Warfare has been developing drone targets that better replicate today’s drone flight patterns and behavior. Again, while it is very unlikely that you personally will be targeted by a handgun-toting drone, gun owners already know the value of preparing for the worst. Gnat Warfare operates and sells ground-based and flying drone targets. This is a great way to get some hands-on, real-world experience in shooting down drones with human operators.

Here is some footage provided by one of the founders, George Ford. In it, Gnat Warfare demonstrates some of their aerial drone drills along with the ground-based scenarios. While they focus on meeting current demand, Ford has been researching and developing aerial threat training programs. Even now, you can hire Gnat Warfare to run a drone shoot just for the fun of it!

Watch this video by George Ford about a Gnat Warfare shot show:

Simply learning about drone developments is the best way to prepare for these devices becoming more integrated into our lives. Lack of knowledge or half-truths spread by alarmists can end up hindering or even halting the progress we’ve made. That is exactly why this information is in the format you saw today. The best advice I can give is to follow those network security tips and stay abreast the industry developments. Stay safe, and share your drone experience with us in the comments!

What do you think about the capability of drones today? Please let us know in the comments section below!