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New report outlines drone usage best practices

Report outlines guidelines for establishing a secure and safe smart city drone program

New report outlines drone usage best practices
One of the authors of the report, Kaspersky Lab's Hasbini, says proliferation of drones in cities portends potential disasters.

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), a global organisation dedicated to defining and raising awareness of best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment, together with Securing Smart Cities, a not-for-profit global initiative that aims to solve the existing and future cyber security problems of smart cities, announced the release of the Establishing a Safe and Secure Municipal Drone Program report.

The new 28-page report, co-authored by the CSA Internet of Things (IoT) Working Group, provides guidance for the safe and secure creation and operation of a municipal drone program by analysing the drone’s role and impact on future metropolitan areas. One of the authors of report is Mohamad Amin Hasbini, senior security researcher, Kaspersky Lab.

“Whether you are a fan of them or not, it is becoming increasingly evident that drones will in fact play an important and even critical role in the smart city environment,” said Brian Russell, co-author of the report, chair of CSA’s IoT Working Group. “Cities around the country are actively working to implement large-scale drone programs to support various functions ranging from medical, transportation and agricultural to emergency management and infrastructure protection. It is important that these drone systems be safe, stable, resilient and sustainable.”

The Establishing a Safe and Secure Municipal Drone Program research report first identifies security threats caused by drones and then provides practical guidance on how drones can be used as an effective cyber security tool in smart city monitoring. The report also details the impact drones could have on main municipal aspects such as national security and addresses the required measures needed to protect, monitor, respond to and recover from cyber security threats.

“Drones in the sky, drones in the sea, drones on land. But are we ready? The mass adoption of drones by cities implies that thousands of programmable connected mobile devices will not only operate in the streets, but also above and below them. From a security perspective, this guarantees potential disasters, should one of several drone systems or the software used to control them become compromised or manipulated. We’re trying to raise these issues early to the public, which is why we’ve prepared these guidelines,” said Mohamad Amin Hasbini, Securing Smart Cities board member.

Specific recommendations outlined in the Establishing a Safe and Secure Municipal Drone Program research report for municipal drone system operational security include planning requirements, integrated system design, acquisition security, integration, testing and deployment. Smart cities also present the problem of securing environments where systems are patched and devices are controlled. Drones can provide cyber security benefits including identifying rogue signals, monitoring sensing operations, identifying jammed signals and support incident response for other connected systems.

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