When Drones Fall Prey to Terrorists’ Trap

Drones have somewhat become disassociated with merely being military tools for warfare with their ever-growing popularity in the civilian world. However, of late, consumer drones have fallen prey to terrorists’ trap, posing a new risk to the young civilian drone industry.

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In the last month, the Islamic State has tried to use small drones to launch attacks at least two other times, prompting American commanders in Iraq to issue a warning to forces fighting the group to treat any type of small flying aircraft as a potential explosive device. The Islamic State has used surveillance drones on the battlefield for some time, but the attacks — all targeting Iraqi troops — have highlighted its success in adapting readily accessible technology into a potentially effective new weapon. Read more at:

So-called Islamic State (IS) and groups like the formerly-named Nusra Front (with close links to al-Qaeda) have been using cheap off-the-shelf drones for some time for surveillance purposes or to shoot propaganda videos. But now they are turning them into weapons. […] the small commercial drones cannot carry much of a pay-load, so their destructive potential is limited, but they clearly can kill, as last week’s incident shows.Read more at:

Such use of small commercial drones likewise has become a headache for drone manufacturers.

The attack is also a problem for commercial drone companies — particularly DJI, the maker of the popular Phantom — which are now facing questions about how their products end up in the hands of the world’s most notorious terrorist group.

DJI enjoys about 60 to 70 percent of the commercial drone market, so it makes sense that the company is the one most often named in media reports of drone use by ISIS. Read more:

How then to counter this growing threat? According to an opinion article, it’s time to consider the dangers of repurposed systems.

While there is growing recognition of this risk, more needs to be done. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security announced it has identified counter-drone technology solutions as one of several first responder “capabilities gaps,” and will host an event this October that will enable personnel in New York City to experiment with various solutions being offered by the private sector.

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Drones for aerial photography services are most popular; the benefits they provide in other fields such as in education, agriculture, search-and-rescue operations are numerous. Certainly, there should be a way to stop the criminal use of drones, but hopefully, the threat posed by terrorist groups getting their hands on drones for their nefarious activities will not at all cripple the hobby and commercial drone industries.

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