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05Apr 2019

DHS UAS and Critical Infrastructures: Understanding the Risk [Video]

DHS UAS and Critical Infrastructures: Understanding the Risk [Video]

The Department of Homeland Security released a short educational video on YouTube last week. The video is eleven minutes long but full of very useful and practical information on security challenges that critical infrastructures face related to UAS threats. It also discusses UAS security practices and tips to take for facility and organizational preparedness.

Key Takeaways from the video:

Measures to take to address UAS related security challenges:

  1. Research and implement legally approved counter-IAS technology
  2. Know the air domain around the facility and who has authority to take action to enhance security
  3. Contact the FAA to consider UAS restrictions in close proximity to fixed site facilities
  4. Update Emergency/Incident Action Plans to include UAS security and response strategies
  5. Build Federal, State, and local partnerships for adaptation of best practices and informations sharing
  6. Train your employee. “If you see something, Say something”
  7. Report potential UAS threats to your local law enforcement agency


What is the UAS Threat?

The DHS discusses the real concerns about how drones can be used for terrorism, mass casualties, interfere with air traffic, corporate espionage, and invade privacy. Many facilities, organizations, and businesses only have traditional 2D security measures, those include fences, barriers, access control badges. Drone threats add another dimension for security officials to address. Traditional security doesn’t take into account the 3D or aerial side of security. To protect facilities from drone threats, facilities must consider aerial security.

Richard Lusk, Director of the UAS Research Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, talks about three-dimensional side to security and drones threats. Rob Thompson Co-founder of the C-UAS Coalition discusses how drones equipped with cameras and Lidar can take very precise mappings of facilities. Espionage and misuse of drones is a very real threat to critical infrastructures.

Since nearly all aspects of everyday life is dependent on our critical infrastructures functioning, drone attacks to them could potentially disrupt life, business, and the economy. An attack on one infrastructure can have a domino effect on other infrastructures due to interdependancies. For example, the video highlights how an attack to a power grip near a critical water facility could potentially disrupt both infrastructures.

Know what to do

Cathy Lanier, Senior Vice President of Security for the NFL, talks about how drones present challenges to stadiums every single game day. When it comes to security policies to handle drone incidents, she stresses taking the time to do it right. Managers and operators must know the laws and regulations that impact what they can and can’t do in terms of counter-UAS solutions. Staff must also know how to properly handle the digital evidence if they do come across an intruding drone. If a drone crashes in the parking lot or near the facility, staff should know what to do and what not to do when it comes to collecting the evidence.

Critical infrastructures need to recognize the threat and implement an Emergency Response Plan related to drones. Employees at all levels need to be trained and know to do when an incident occurs. Now is the time to prepare.

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