Securing national infrastructure against airborne intrusions

drone near nuclear power plant

Critical National Infrastructure (CNI), including nuclear reactors, chemical facilities, water systems and airports, needs the highest level of security against all possible physical and electronic threats. Like other sectors, CNI has to deal with the new and emerging threat of commercial drones – or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). These represent a number of different risks.

The most headline-grabbing risks tend to be those of physical and electronic attacks. For example, UAVs could carry explosives into a nuclear power plant or get close enough to execute cyber attacks, causing disruptions or even mechanical failures or even stealing sensitive data.

Even with other physical and cyber security measures in place, these are real risks. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg for those in charge of national Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP). Rival governments or terror groups can also use these aircraft to conduct reconnaissance for future attacks. Corporate actors may even use them as part of industrial espionage operations. With some UAV operators vying for headlines, there is also a risk that even a simple “publicity stunt” could cause a dangerous and costly collision.

Protection from drone threats

Monitoring the RF spectrum can help detect the RF signals from the UAV video feed and the control signal. Done correctly, this helps security teams locate and intercept the aircraft and its controller. 3D TDOA geolocation software can capture not only the drone’s map location, but its elevation as well.

A network of CRFS’s RFeye Nodes installed across a facility can autonomously monitor the spectrum 24/7 and alert security if a UAV is about to enter secure airspace (or even provide advance warning when a drone is still many miles away). Deploying a monitoring network like this can give peace of mind to those tasked with CNI protection, as potential threats can be identified well before they can do damage.  By locating the UAV operator(s), the network also enables legal action against those responsible. In some cases, this can uncover further criminal intent, such as plans to carry out a terror attack.

The system can be used standalone or (for system integrators) integrated as part of a multi-sensor solution alongside countermeasures.

Additional benefits

A network of RFeye Nodes deployed for drone detection can also be used to monitor and geolocate any other signals of interest. For example, operators can further minimize RF interference and congestion by optimizing channel assignments for any wireless communications and industrial automation systems in use at the plant. An operator can locate RF interference sources both internal and external to the facility.

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