US cyber security agency publishes best-practice defence against malicious drones

A new report released by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (ISA) outlines awareness and mitigation measures for use by US federal departments and agencies to protect against malicious unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations. “Protecting Against the Threat of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): An Interagency Security Committee Best Practice,” has been compiled as a result of extensive collaboration within the ISC Unmanned Aircraft Systems Working Group. Topics covered in the document include:

  • An overview of UAS;
  • Threats posed by UAS;
  • Vulnerability assessments;
  • Protective measures and activities;
  • How to develop a facility response plan for UAS incidents;
  • How to increase workforce awareness; and
  • How to engage with community partners.

The report points out that although most agencies do not have the authority to disable, disrupt, or seize control of an unmanned aircraft, there are other effective risk reduction measures they may implement. The document aims to provide best practices that any organization or facility can use to mitigate UAS threats.

The report outlines a number of  ways UAS-specific vulnerability assessments can be made by federal agencies. “A UAS-specific vulnerability assessment will assist organizations and facilities in understanding how a site may be vulnerable to the risks posed by UAS and will aid in identifying mitigation options to build resiliency and response procedures. Completing such an assessment increases understanding by focusing on site- specific threats, launch points, flight profiles, and platforms. The following figure provides an example of a UAS specific vulnerability assessment and mitigation options.”

The Interagency Security Committee (ISC), chaired by the DHS, consists of 64 departments and agencies and has a mission to develop security policies, standards, and recommendations for nonmilitary federal facilities in the United States.

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