As drone usage soars, potential for misuse also rises

If a drone is suspiciously flying around your home or neighborhood, call police

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Drones have risen far above a Christmas fad. The FAA recently released numbers pointing to an explosion of usage in hobby and commercial drones.

In some situations, they have become an asset. Fire departments have been using them to better battle blazes and protect lives.

As drone technology increases, their size and cost gets smaller, but the potential for misuse gets bigger.

“It’s just a lot of privacy and security issues we are still about to face in the near future,” said Ibrahim (Abe) Baggili, PhD with the Cyber Forensics Lab at the University of New Haven.

Baggili and the cyber forensic team at the University of New Haven helps law enforcement catch those illegally flying drones.

“We’ll take it apart, see if we can get any ad cards, get any images, then depending on the type of drones, we can get some GPS data,” said Devon Clark of the University of New Haven cyber forensic team.

The team extracts forensic evidence to help track down the owners. They also test out new technology, including the latest, tiniest drones with cameras.

“We’ve known for a long time the theory of a peeping tom right? Now you have a flying peeping tom,” said Baggili.

Quieter, able to take pictures and videos. Skilled pilots could fly smaller drones around a home or yard virtually unnoticed.

Baggili said, “We have to look at it like there is two edges to the equation. One edge, this could be used badly.”

It would be a frightening violation of privacy, but easier and easier to do if technology increases.

The cyber forensic team said if a drone is suspiciously flying around your home or neighborhood, call police.

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