July 2017 Counter-UAS Newsletter

C-UAS News

Motherboard: Drone Pilots Are Buying Russian Software to Hack Their Way Past DJI’s No Fly Zones

“Should drone owners be able to fly their drones wherever and however they want to? This is the question increasingly asked by the consumer drone community as drone giant DJI tightens flying restrictions on its customers.”

UAS Vision: Russia and Iran Cooperate on UAVs, UCAVs

“Iran is sharing its experience of operating UAVs with Russia, including three years of operations over Iraq and Syria. The cooperation started in October 2013, when Russian air force commander General Victor Bondarev visited Tehran and was presented with a local copy of the Scan EagleUAV.”

San Francisco Chronicle: Cities look for ways to enforce no-drone zones

“San Francisco Gay Pride organizers are prohibiting drones from this weekend’s celebrations, but if the recent Golden State Warriors parade is an indication, keeping the popular quadcopters from taking off might be difficult.

At least 78 drone flights were detected during the June 15 NBA championship parade in downtown Oakland, even though police tried to make the celebration a no-drone zone, according to San Francisco startup Dedrone, which was enlisted to track the devices.”

France24: Exclusive: IS group’s armoured drones attack from the skies in battle for Raqqa (with video)

“The Islamic State (IS) group is using drones rigged with munitions in the battle for the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa, a FRANCE 24 team inside the jihadist group’s highly dangerous self-proclaimed capital discovers.”

Defense One: I Could Kill You with a Consumer Drone

“Right now, I’m holding a drone that can fly thousands of feet in air in less than 30 seconds, getting it to an altitude where no one could see it. My drone could be up in the air, ready to strike a target before you even had time to blink.”

Defense News: German firms link up to tackle emerging counter-drone markets

“Three German companies made their joint debut at the Paris Air Show to present a counter-drone system designed to foil anything from explosive-laden aerial robots to protecting against corporate espionage from the skies. “

Asharq Al-Awsat: Facing the Challenge of ISIS Arming Consumer Drones

“Terror group ISIS has deployed consumer drones carrying grenades in the battle for the Iraqi city of Mosul, creating the most daunting problem US Special Operations Command troops faced in Iraq during 2016, according to their commander Raymond Thomas.

Groups around the world are taking advantage of the increasing accessibility of drone technology to build and deploy them as weapons. And it’s not hard to imagine them being used in an attack in the West; the bomber responsible for the May attack on a concert in Manchester used parts purchased locally and may have been trained in Libya.”

Iran Front Page: ISIS Drone-Making Factory Discovered in Mosul

“The Iraqi army forces, who have liberated most of the neighbourhoods in Mosul from the ISIS terrorists, have discovered one of the terrorist group’s factories in the northern Iraqi city, in which they used to make drones.”

The Drive: Australian Drug Cartel used Drone to Spy on Police

“When we cover drones being used as tools, whether it be to monitor the integrity of a burning building, advance the evolution of the ever-mythical “flying car”, or for governmental surveillance of criminal activity, we’re usually reporting on how the good guys are taking advantage of this new technology—not the bad guys. Only rarely do we hear about drones being used for illegal activity, like smuggling drugs into federal prisons. Well, we have a new contender for most illegal unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) use, and this time it’s coming from down under. According to Australian publisher TheAge, an international drug cartel was recently busted for attempting to smuggle $30 million worth of cocaine into the country. How exactly was a UAV useful, if we’re ruling out that the drone itself was used to transport the 92 kg weight? Apparently, the criminals in question were snooping onto the police as law enforcement was snooping on them. Counter-surveillance via drone at its finest.”

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: Drones aren’t missile, so don’t regulate them like they are

“This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), a voluntary arrangement founded by seven countries in 1987 to prevent the spread of longer-range cruise and ballistic missiles with the potential to carry weapons of mass destruction. Today, the MTCR has 35 member states, and while containing cruise missile proliferation has proven difficult, it has effectively slowed the spread of long-range ballistic missiles.”

UAS Vision: Skylark Crashes in Southern Gaza

“The terror group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, said it retrieved the drone near the Al-Maghazi refugee camp, according to a Walla News report.”

The Guardian: Escaped South Carolina inmate may have used drone-delivered wire cutters

“A South Carolina inmate broke out of a maximum-security prison using wire cutters apparently flown in by drone, officials said Friday, describing a new and hard-to-stop means of escape.

The convicted kidnapper Jimmy Causey, 46, was recaptured at a Texas motel before daybreak, more than two days after bolting to freedom in a plot worthy of a Hollywood script. It was the second time in 12 years that he had escaped.”

Quartz: Firefighters are getting increasingly frustrated with drones

“It’s wildfire season in the US, and fire departments are issuing pleas to hobbyists to stop flying their drones anywhere near the blazes. When a drone is in the sky, firefighting planes and helicopters are grounded or kept away, because a collision could be disastrous. More than a dozen hobby drones—sent up by their owners in the hope of capturing spectacular video—have already caused problems at fire sites this year.”

Uasvision: European Union Chooses Sensofusion as Counter UAS Industry Partner

“This month, the European Union officially selected Sensofusion to be an industry partner in Project SECOPS (an integrated SECurity concept for drone OPerationS). In its role to develop and commercialize its AIRFENCE drone detection and prevention system, Sensofusion is “key to the project’s success,” according to the EU.”

Janes: Rafael adds laser hard-kill intercept capability to Drone Dome

“Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has introduced a directed-energy, hard-kill intercept capability to its Drone Dome micro- and mini-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) detection and neutralisation system.”

Uasvision: Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Installs British Drone Detection Radar

“Aveillant, the Cambridge based radar technology company, has announced its first airport installation of the Gamekeeper drone detection radar. The installation at Charles de Gaulle, Paris comes after successful demonstrations of the system at the Paris Airshow at Le Bourget Airport.”

Hawaii News Now: FBI: Hawaii soldier with ties to ISIS threatened to ‘kill a bunch of people’

“Additionally, the FBI said, Kang contributed to the purchase of a drone that he thought would be used by ISIS. And he allegedly offered training to an undercover agent who purported to be a member of the terrorist group.”

sUAS News: Why We Need C-UAS: The C-UAS Coalition

“Today, we are pleased to announce a new partnership: the C-UAS Coalition. This hybrid between a defense policy think tank user/manufacturer group will focus on the technology and issues surrounding the growing but unsustainably regulated counter-unmanned aircraft systems (C-UAS) industry. This coalition will leverage its collective experience and expertise in aviation policy to unlock doors for the counter-drone industry at the highest levels of government.”

TheDrive: Hobbyists and Hackers Are Overriding DJI Drone Flight Restrictions at a Rapid Pace

“DJI drones use software which implements geofencing flight restrictions, preventing its consumer drones from being flown into airports and other restricted areas, or reaching unregulated altitudes. Recently, it seems that this regulatory software which DJI calls “No Fly Zone” (NFZ) is being overridden more rapidly and more easily than ever before by hobbyist hackers and general users. Users can easily download patches or simply visit various websites where these software packs are sold and shared. In the era of the internet, overriding a basic line of code in a basic piece of software isn’t too difficult—and DJI is very concerned.”

Flight Global: USAF calls for drone defense after F-22 overflight

“In the course of one day last week, the air force counted two reports of small drones interfering with operations at an ACC base, Gen Mike Holmes told an audience in Washington DC this week. In one incident, a Lockheed Martin F-22 almost collided with a small drone during its final approach and during another, a gate guard watched a drone fly over the top of a gate and tracked the vehicle as it flew over the flight line, Holmes says.”

DoD: Researcher, Airmen Test New Counter-UAS Program at Bagram

“The Air Force’s 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron here teamed up with a researcher from the Air Force Research Lab to teach airmen how to pilot drones and use them to train coalition forces on how to react to them on the battlefield.”

Motherboard: DJI Is Locking Down Its Drones Against a Growing Army of DIY Hackers

“The tension between drone pilots who want complete control over their aircraft that they bought and DJI, the world’s biggest consumer grade drone maker, has come to a head. An arms race between hackers and the company is earnestly underway.”

Analysis & Commentary

For newsletter subscribers only: We discussed the threat of hacked drone software and information security during counter-UAS testing and training.


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