Criminals used a swarm of drones to surveil and disrupt an FBI hostage operation

Criminals increasingly use unmanned aircraft in illegal activities and as a way to counteract surveillance and interfere with the FBI and other law enforcement officials, according to a report from Defense One.

The publication cites an instance in which an FBI hostage rescue team created a high observation post to monitor a situation. A so-called "swarm" of small drones appeared and attacked the FBI in a series of "high-speed low passes to agents at the observation post to drive them out." That incident was shared by Joe Mazel, head of the operational agency Technological Law Unit at the AUVSI Xponential conference in Denver. Mazel said that the FBI agents lost situational awareness. "Then we were blind." It definitely presented some challenges. "Swarms of drones were also used to monitor FBI agents and send video to other members of the gang." Mazel declined to give details about where or when the incident occurred, but said the suspects packed the drones in backpacks and bags. brought to the area, anticipating the arrival of the FBI.

The incidents illustrate how organized crime groups increasingly use small consumer drones to support their activities Other notable uses include the identification of witnesses watching police departments to see who comes and goes from those facilities, and in support of robberies by observing gaps in security patrols and other vulnerabilities at duty stations. He said that drones were used in smuggling plans in Australia to monitor the workers of the port authority. Distractions like a false alarm if the border guards get too close to a container containing contraband goods. It is also known that unauthorized drones introduce contraband into prisons.

Andrew Scharnweber, Deputy Chief of Customs and Border Protection of the US UU., Defense One drones are also being deployed as scouts to detect their officers. "We have fought with scouts, human explorers who cross the border, are stationed on several mountain peaks near the border and would explore … to detect law enforcement and radio to their counterparts to surround us. effectively replaced by drones, "he said.

Defense One notes that there are some resources to combat the criminal use of drones. The US military UU They deployed drone blocking equipment in Syria and Iraq, although these techniques would probably not be appropriate for use in cities, given the risk of interference with mobile phone and aircraft signals. There are legal options, such as requiring drones to transmit the identity of their operator, or making "armed" consumer drones illegal. There are also anti-drug guns that clog all possible radio frequencies that a drone can use to communicate with the operator, forcing it to land or return home. However, they remain illegal under the laws of the FCC.

Government officials who spoke at the conference said that the use of drones in criminal activities would probably worsen before it improved.

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