Tags: Emerging Threats | US | terrorists | drones | Secret Service | FAA

WSJ: Terror Attacks Using Drones Pose Huge Threat for US

Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 09:56 AM

Terrorists and criminals are turning to drones to carry out their acts, leading to U.S. law enforcement officials going on high alert to deal with the increasing threat from unmanned aircraft.

Criminals are using small drones popular with kids and hobbyists to smuggle drugs and other contraband across the border and even into prisons, according to The Wall Street Journal.

But the even bigger concern is that posed by terrorists — authorities in the U.S., Germany, Spain and Egypt have foiled at least six potential terrorist drone attacks since 2011, the newspaper said, noting that the alarm bells were raised in the wake of a drone crashing on the White House grounds this week.

At a conference this month, it was revealed that federal intelligence officials are worried that drones could be modified to launch attacks on major targets with explosives or chemical weapons.

The summit was arranged to allow counterintelligence and security officials to inform local law enforcement agencies and executives in charge of critical infrastructures, like power stations and nuclear plants, about the growing drone danger, the Journal reported.

"The threat is not going away," one attendee quoted a security analyst as saying.

Earlier this week, a 2.8-pound drone accidentally crashed on the White House grounds. Although the Secret Service said it went down during a recreational flight by a hobbyist, the accident highlighted fears of a possible drone terror attack on the president, sporting events and tourist meccas.

The device's Chinese manufacturer, SZ DJI Technology, says it will update the software on its drones to prevent them from flying over Washington, D.C. And it planned to stop unmanned aircraft from crossing U.S. borders in light of police in Tijuana, Mexico, finding a SZ DJI drone that had crashed while transporting drugs to the U.S. Such drones are called "blind mules."

SZ DJI spokesman Michael Perry said "there's more stuff that the industry can be doing as a whole to improve the overall security (of drones)."

Resilient Solutions of Alexandria, Virginia, told the Journal that it had partnered with a European defense contractor to create a sophisticated system that can track a drone and identify whether it is a threat.

"We're working with government agencies who are very much interested in solving this problem and solving it now," Fred Roggero, the chief executive and a former chief of safety for the U.S. Air Force, told the Journal.

Officials at the conference showed videos of drones equipped with guns that could be fired remotely, and U.S. military and counterterrorism officials illustrated how drones could be weaponized, with a video showing drones dropping explosives on moving and stationary targets.

The main problem, however, currently facing security officials is that many of the drones are too small to be picked up by radar techniques, according to the Journal.

Earlier this week, the Federal Aviation Administration said that Sunday's Super Bowl game in Glendale, Arizona, is strictly a "‘no drone zone."

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Terrorists and criminals are turning to drones to carry out their acts, leading to U.S. law enforcement officials going on high alert to deal with the increasing threat from unmanned aircraft.
US, terrorists, drones, Secret Service, FAA
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2015-56-29
Thursday, 29 Jan 2015 09:56 AM
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