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Danger of drone-jacking

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Drones currently play a large role in private and a state surveillance around the world. However, according to JARED HIGGINS of the Arcfyre Group, these devices can be easily hacked and used to access state information and spy on those protecting the public.

Drones currently play an invaluable role in surveillance conducted by both private and state security forces across the world. However, they can just as easily be utilised – or even hi-jacked – by terrorist organisations and used to access state information and spy on those protecting the general public.

And while drones have traditionally been associated with hobbyists for recreational use, their potential to drastically enhance and streamline the processes of delivery, movement and observation has seen them pique the interest of many organisations, governments and terror forces alike.

The increase in drone-jackings recently highlighted in the media, means that security and protective service organisations need to look beyond the traditional threats and be ever cognisant of the growing body of tech savvy cyber criminals. These individuals, whether for political, social or economic gain, are finding increasingly sophisticated ways of hacking into the operating systems of these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

When it comes to the risks associated with drone-jacking within the security sector these vary, ranging from the potential loss of highly confidential surveillance footage, to the destruction of property and even the loss of human lives.

Travel in today’s volatile, politically charged global landscape is already fraught with multiple risks, and the advent of drone technologically adds another dimension to the security risk mix.

Although a relatively new concept, with the losses from reported drone-jacking cases being largely limited to the financial loss of the drone itself – which still comes with a hefty price tag, it is nevertheless a risk that all security and protective services organisations will need to incorporate into their risk mitigation strategies going forward.

Organisations that understand the importance of ensuring the safety, security and ultimately safe passage of their clients, expect their protective services provider to be on top of the latest technologies and trends.

As such, industry experts need to gain understanding and thorough insight into the implications of drone usage and what measures they can take to minimise it as a risk.

While front runners in the sector will perhaps – in time – invest in drone intelligence to stay better informed, the onus ultimately remains on drone owners to ensure that they invest in adequate cyber security measures.

At the end of the day there is only so much we as a protective services firm can do to mitigate the risk of drone-jacking. We have no control over what security measures have been deployed to protect the overall operating system.

It really comes down to the cyber security sector ensuring it continually develops solutions that make attacks, not only more difficult – but also costly – to carry out.

* Jared Higgins, CEO of leading protective and risk consulting firm, the Arcfyre Group

 

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Kenya tool to help companies prepare for emergencies

After its team members survived last week’s Nairobi terror attack, Ushahidi decided to release a new preparedness tool for free, writes its CEO, NAT MANNING

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On Tuesday I woke up a bit before 7am in Berkeley, California where I live. I made some coffee and went over to my computer to start my work day. I checked my Slack and the news and quickly found out that there was an ongoing terrorist attack at 14 Riverside Complex in Nairobi, Kenya. The Ushahidi office is in Nairobi and about a third of our team is based there (the rest of us are spread across 10 other countries).

As I read the news, my heart plummeted, and I immediately asked the question, “is everyone on my team okay?”

Five years ago Al-Shabaab committed a similar attack at the Westgate Mall. We spent several tense hours figuring out if any of our team had been in the mall, and verifying that everyone was safe. We found out that one of our team member’s family was caught up in the attack. Luckily they made it out.

At Ushahidi we make software for crisis response, including tools to map disasters and election violence, and yet we felt helpless in the face of this attack. In the days following the Westgate attack, our team huddled and thought about what we could build that would help our team — and other teams — if we found ourselves in a similar situation to this attack again. We identified that when we first learned of the attack, nearly everyone at Ushahidi had spent that first precious few hours trying to answer the basic questions, “Is everyone okay?”, and if not, “Who needs help?” 

People had ad-hoc used multiple channels such as WhatsApp, called, emailed, or texted. We had done this for each person at Ushahidi (their job), in our families, and important people in our community. Our process was unorganised, inefficient, repetitive, and frustrating.

And from this problem we created TenFour, a check in tool that makes it easier for teams to reach one another during times of crisis. It is a simple application that lets people send a message to their team via SMS, Slack, Voice, email, and in-app, and get a response. It also works for educational institutions, companies with distributed staff, as well as part of neighbourhood networks like neighbourhood watches.

This week when I woke up to the news of the attack at Riverside, I immediately opened up the TenFour app.

Click here to read how Nat quickly confirmed the safety of his team.

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Kia multi-collision airbags

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The world’s first multi-collision airbag system has been unveiled by Hyundai Motor Group subsidiary KIA Motors, with the aim of improving airbag performance in multi-collision accidents.

Multi-collision accidents are those in which the primary impact is followed by collisions with secondary objects, such as other vehicles, trees, or electrical posts, which occur in three out of every 10 accidents. Current airbag systems do not offer secondary protection when the initial impact is insufficient to cause them to deploy. 

However, the multi-collision airbag system allows airbags to deploy effectively upon a secondary impact, by calibrating the status of the vehicle and the occupants.

The new technology detects occupants’ positions in the cabin following an initial collision. When occupants are forced into unusual positions, the effectiveness of existing safety technology may be compromised. Multi-collision airbag systems are designed to deploy even faster when initial safety systems may not be effective, providing additional safety when drivers and passengers are most vulnerable. By recalibrating the collision intensity required for deployment, the airbag system responds more promptly during the secondary impact, thereby improving the safety of multi-collision vehicle occupants.

“By improving airbag performance in multi-collision scenarios, we expect to significantly improve the safety of our drivers and passengers,” said Taesoo Chi, head of the Hyundai Motor Group’s Chassis Technology Centre. “We will continue our research on more diverse crash situations as part of our commitment to producing even safer vehicles that protect occupants and prevent injuries.”

According to statistics by the National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System (NASS-CDS), an office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in USA, about 30% of 56,000 vehicle accidents from 2000 to 2012 in the North American region involved multi-collisions. The leading type of multi-collision accidents involved cars crossing over the centre line (30.8%), followed by collisions caused by a sudden stop at highway tollgates (13.5%), highway median strip collisions (8.0%), and sideswiping and collision with trees and electric poles (4.0%). 

These multi-collision scenarios were analysed in multilateral ways to improve airbag performance and precision in secondary collisions. Once commercialised, the system will be implemented in future new KIA vehicles. 

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