Security firm fears ‘dronejacking’ concerns are not being taken seriously enough

The growth of commercial drones is bringing added security concerns that need to be addressed if the industry is to avoid becoming a sitting duck for cybercriminals, a leading security technology firm has warned.

Earlier this week, a report from PwC revealed that drones could help to boost Britain’s economy by £42 billion by 2030 as businesses start to use the devices to collect data and improve productivity.

PwC believes there will be more than 76,000 drones in Britain’s skies in just over a decade, with around a third of them expected to be controlled by the public sector.

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But this gargantuan growth will also bring greater security challenges, according to McAfee.

Raj Samani, chief scientist and fellow at the cybersecurity company, said that with more drones in the skies, ‘dronejacking’ needs to be considered and steps must be taken to keep cybercriminals at bay.

“It’s no surprise to see that more drones are expected in British skies in the next few years. They have the potential to make certain processes cheaper and easier, from parcel deliveries right through to inspecting key infrastructure for safety. However, the increased use of drones will not only present security challenges, but also privacy considerations,” he said.

“Many drones are manufactured in a way that makes them relatively easy for criminals to compromise, for example the use of unencrypted video feeds have allowed malicious actors to view video from military drones in the past.”

Mr Samani said that any business looking to invest in drones must ensure that appropriate due diligence is taken so that even the basic security measures are in place to protect these assets and the information they produce.

“Ideally, security should be implemented to not only protect drone systems but to also detect any unusual activity and correct the system if a breach does occur. In addition, the ICO has produced guidance since drones with a camera have the potential to be covered under the Data Protection Act,” he added.

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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