The New Threat: Drones Attacking Industrial Systems

We’ve discussed how recreational drones can be used as murder weapons in the past but drones can also be used in ways which businesses and governments should find quite disturbing. At the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, Yokogawa Senior Principal Tech Specialist Jeff Melrose explained there are numerous drone-related problems to be concerned about:

  1. They can be used to block sensors in factories such as those monitoring temperature.
  2. They can block radio signals using a jammer or similar device making a factory and IoT devices unable to communicate or perhaps communicate erratically.
  3. They can be used to trail a vehicle at up to 25 MPH.
  4. They can infiltrate computer networks – attacking WiFi as well as bluetooth mice and keyboards to get into a network.


In addition, the Marines have a drone which can best be described as a mini-tank, capable of firing guns and launching grenades. It comes in two sizes – the large one can potentially fire 3,000 rounds per minute!

In all, the world is becoming a more challenging place with new threats emerging on a regular basis. Perhaps of greater concern is cybersecurity breaches are easier to pull off than the industrial sabotage outlined above. In other words, attackers will likely focus on cyber first and the physical world second. When they can’t get into a system through the internet, they can resort to flying in a gadget to wreak havoc.

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