- These high school theater kids put on a totally awesome ‘Alien’ play Saturday 3:59 PM
- Behold these photos of Elon Musk, but with Elizabeth Holmes’ eyes Saturday 3:11 PM
- Barbra Streisand gets canceled over remarks about Michael Jackson’s alleged victims Saturday 2:09 PM
- Report: Florida man raped Texas teen after posing as Instagram celeb Saturday 12:14 PM
- Lori Loughlin’s daughters, Olivia and Isabella, could be banned from USC forever Saturday 11:46 AM
- ‘Starfish’ is a heartbreaking tale of BFFs, grief, and apocalyptic alien invasions Saturday 10:35 AM
- How to stream UFC Fight Night 148 for free Saturday 10:00 AM
- The kids are making scantron memes instead of studying Saturday 9:29 AM
- Every installment of Hulu’s ‘Into the Dark,’ ranked Saturday 6:00 AM
- The internet is mocking Robert Mueller’s report deadline Friday 7:53 PM
- Instagram blocks some anti-vax hashtags—but still has far to go Friday 6:20 PM
- Study: Netflix released more originals than licensed titles last year Friday 2:26 PM
- Laura Ingraham, Dinesh D’Souza slam journalist for having a job Friday 1:40 PM
- Netflix is testing a cheap-as-hell mobile-only plan Friday 1:08 PM
- Astrology app Co-Star’s bizarre push notifications are now a meme Friday 12:18 PM
The agents were ‘blind.’
A report from Defense One describes how small drones stormed the FBI making “high-speed low passes at the agents in the observation post to flush them.” The tactic worked. Joe Mazel, head of the agency’s operational technology law unit, said the agents were “blind” as the consumer drones flew above them.
“It definitely presented some challenges,” he said at the AUVSIXponential conference.
The suspects filled backpacks with drones you can buy at Best Buy and unleashed them in an area near the FBI. The drones were used not only to muddle the operation but also to surveil the agents. Captured video was uploaded to YouTube and sent to other members of the group so they could map out the FBI’s position. Mazel said counter surveilling law enforcement is the fastest growing use of drones among organized criminals. He didn’t offer any other details about the incident since it remains “law enforcement-sensitive.”
The account reveals one of many ways organized criminals are using consumer-grade UAVs for unlawful activity. Authorities have detected gangs flying them over police departments to get eyes on “who is going in and out of the facility and who might be co-operating with police,” Mazel said. A more commonly cited use is to scope out targeted locations during robberies to look for potential security vulnerabilities.
Criminals in Australia have even used them to smuggle drugs from ports by calling in false alarms when they notice security teams getting close to containers containing illegal substances. Last April, we learned fellow gang members of convicted criminals were using drones to smuggle contraband into prisons.
Government bodies and third-party agencies have come up with creative ways to combat these aerial pests. The most commonly referenced is a jammer, or a gun that neutralizes drones by blasting “electromagnetic noise” at high-frequencies to drown out communication between a pilot and the device. Jammers are illegal under FCC laws as they could potentially disrupt the communication of other electronics.
A more likely method for potentially fixing these problems is penning regulations that gives law enforcement more visibility over consumer drones, or that outlaws them in certain areas altogether.
Phillip Tracy is a former technology staff writer at the Daily Dot. He's an expert on smartphones, social media trends, and gadgets. He previously reported on IoT and telecom for RCR Wireless News and contributed to NewBay Media magazine. He now writes for Laptop magazine.