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INSIGHTS

Drones can be useful in perimeter security. But what if drones are the intruders?

Drones can be useful in perimeter security. But what if drones are the intruders?
We’ve discussed drones as useful tools in perimeter security. But when drones are themselves the intruders breaching the perimeters, a good anti-drone system needs to be in place to counter them. This article takes a closer look.
We’ve discussed drones as useful tools in perimeter security. But when drones are themselves the intruders breaching the perimeters, a good anti-drone system needs to be in place to counter them. This article takes a closer look.
 
Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), can play a key role in perimeter protection. They provide improved coverage and faster response time. Using drones on a 24/7 basis also reduces the cost associated with guards or security officers.
 
Yet conversely, when hostile drones breach the perimeters, this can be quite dangerous and lead to dire consequences.
 
“In November 2022, FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress that the FBI was investigating drones being weaponized with homemade explosives and used on US soil. Drones have interrupted flights, stopped sports games, delivered contraband to prisons, and more. In addition to carrying payloads or surveilling sensitive sites, drones can also be used as jumping-off points for cybersecurity attacks, so they represent a threat to physical, intelligence and digital security,” said Mary-Lou Smulders, CMO at Dedrone.
 
“Widespread drone use presents significant privacy and security challenges. Notably, drones are increasingly utilized by criminal gangs and terrorist organizations, posing threats to innocent populations. Criminals use drones to smuggle illegal substances and conduct surveillance, bypassing traditional security measures. Terrorist organizations like ISIS have weaponized drones, using them for surveillance and direct attacks, creating a complex security dilemma. Additionally, privacy concerns are escalating with drones' capacity to infiltrate personal spaces. An alarming incident involving German Chancellor Angela Merkel, where an unauthorized drone crashed during her public address, underscored this issue. This event could have taken a deadly turn had the drone been armed,” said Ofer Kachan, CTO of Skylock C-UAS Systems.
 
According to Charity Lin, VP of Strategic Partnership at Tronfuture, damage can be done by different types of drones. These include:
 
  • Suicide drones
  • Attack drones
  • Aerial vehicles used to drop bombs
 
“In recent years, drone attacks and defense have been taken seriously by various countries. Whether it was the killing of Qasem Soleimani, a senior officer of the Iranian ‘IRGC,’ or the frequent use of drones in the war between Ukraine and Russia, the world has seen the importance of drone defense,” Lin said.
 

Verticals affected

 
Drone attacks can be a threat to a range of industries, critical and non-critical. “There are few verticals that are more vulnerable to drone intrusion like critical infrastructure, large-scale events, border areas are among the locations that require C-UAS (counter-unmanned aerial system). For instance, drones have been used in numerous cases to smuggle contraband, such as drugs and cell phones, into prisons,” Kachan said.
 
“In the drone defense market, there are in fact many different types of users. In addition to the military industry, which is most easily associated with the public, private security, airports, mines, and higher education are also opportunities for drone defense,” Lin said. “For example, some wealthy individuals in specific industries are concerned about drone attacks and therefore require drone defense systems as part of their private security.”
 

Countermeasures needed

 
It fact, drone threats have forced end users to think beyond conventional security planning and deployment. “At its core, most security teams have never had to consider security from a 360-degree point of view. Threats have traditionally come from the ground. The innovation of drones and consequent improvements to drone capabilities mean that a new, 3rd dimensional threat victor has emerged – simply flying over fences or other ground-based physical impediments,” Smulders said.
 
To counter these threats, then, a good anti-drone system is needed, one that can effectively detect drones and mitigate the situation. “A good drone countermeasure system should be able to detect drones entering the target area in a timely and accurate manner, and quickly disrupt or shoot them down. This is to prevent the drone from conducting any kind of attack and reconnaissance on the area to be protected,” Lin said.
 
Indeed, a layered approach is critical in any counter-UAV measure. “The primary objective in anti-drone warfare is to prevent the drone or UAV from fulfilling its mission, be it surveillance, intelligence gathering, or launching an attack,” Kachan said. “A layered defense mechanism that incorporates detection, verification, tracking and neutralization capabilities is crucial, whether it's for long or short-range threats, stationary or mobile. Rapid deployment and user-friendly, plug-and-play systems are also key components of an effective C-UAS.”
 
We’ll look at some of the currently available counter-UAV technologies in an upcoming article.


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