Context introduces lightweight drone detection system

Context Information Security has developed a lightweight, low-cost drone detection system capable of detecting drones being used for surveillance, smuggling and drone enabled cyber-attacks against wireless networks. COPTHORNE is a solar-powered passive, cloud-based sensor network, capable of detecting drones and their controllers within or around restricted areas. The solution is designed to help smaller organisations and individuals to detect unwanted drone activity in and around their premises and even on the move, due to its low size, weight and power (SWaP) requirements.

The COPTHORNE scanner looks for radio frequency signals in bands used by drones. The hardware-accelerated processing helps it to discriminate a drone from benign wireless signals at a range up to two kilometres, even in noisy radio environments. Geo-location is performed once the signal is within range of two or more radios with the accuracy determined by the number of radios and local environment. Signal metadata is reported to a cloud-based server via a secure cellular VPN where it is analysed and the results checked against user defined rules. Alerts are then sent in real-time via a variety of channels. For a public area, for example, that could be as simple as messaging an on-site police officer so the pilot can be quickly located and the drone threat neutralised.

A proprietary profiling algorithm enables precision fingerprinting as to the type of signal and any known hardware associated with it. The system is designed to distinguish between different models of drones and controllers from the same manufacturer and recognise frequency-agile encrypted video downlinks.

A post-incident forensics interface enables the sharing of signal metadata for incident forensics to confirm or deny the presence of a recovered device based upon its radio footprint.

System integration is enabled via a plugin framework with support for SMS, Telegram, Google Earth, XML, CSV and KML. With very low bandwidth requirements, the system can be deployed over IP radio, PoE/LAN or cellular.  The server and interface also have a lightweight footprint and can be deployed on a single laptop for mobile events.

Following a successful two month field trial in inclement weather, COPTHORNE is scheduled for standards-based testing and is forecast to be available early in early 2020 via channel partners.

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