aerial view of industrial park

Industrial facilities should be on guard against drones. Even off-the-shelf versions of the unmanned aircraft could be used to disrupt sensitive systems.

On Wednesday, Jeff Melrose, a presenter at Black Hat 2016, showed how consumer drones could do more than just conduct aerial spying. The flying machines can also carry a transmitter to hack into a wireless keyboard or interfere with industrial controls, he said.

That makes them a potential security risk. A hacker could easily pilot one and land it on a building’s roof to secretly conduct surveillance through the onboard camera, he said.

In addition, the machines could interfere with a facility’s computers and other equipment. Melrose has been testing this by fitting a drone with a 20 feet-long tether that hauled a transmitter through the air. He found that it could easily hover over a target or follow a moving object while the transmitter operated.

The danger is that a drone could send off enough electromagnetic interference to disrupt the wireless networks controlling important utilities, he said. In the past, naval radar systems have done just that and accidentally forced pipelines to malfunction or burst.

He’s advising that industrial facilities consider incorporating more redundancies in their wireless networks to prevent interference. The security guards on site should also be watchful for drones that might be hovering nearby or snooping over
a rooftop.

I am not sure if this is actually surprising but perhaps that’s because I spend so much time learning about all of the fascinating things people think of to do with drones. There is only one way this ends and that is with concerned businesses buying interdiction technology. In case you don’t remember interdiction is a fancy a military term for “the act of delaying, disrupting, or destroying enemy forces or supplies en route to the battle area” which in this case is your office or plant.
There is a lot of it out there and for the first time this story suggests that it is being deployed in Silicon Valley an excellent choice Ground Zero in this particular battle.


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