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Smart city drone best practice

With cities working to implement large-scale drone programmes, it is important that systems are safe, stable, resilient and sustainable

Drones are likely to play 'a critical part' in smart city environments
Drones are likely to play 'a critical part' in smart city environments

Drone programmes could support various functions from medical to infrastructure protection

Connected mobile devices will not only operate in the streets, but also above and below them

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and the not-for-profit Securing Smart Cities in the US has released a new report and guidance for the safe and secure creation and operation of a municipal drone programme.


The CSA, dedicated to defining and raising awareness of best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment, has worked with the smart city cyber security initiative to analyse the drone’s role and impact on future metropolitan areas.


"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, chair of CSA’s IoT Working Group and co-author of the report, Establishing a Safe and Secure Municipal Drone Program.


He added: "Cities around the country are actively working to implement large-scale drone programmes 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 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,” said Mohamad Amin Hasbini, Securing Smart Cities board member.


“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."


Specific recommendations outlined in the report 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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