With technological advancements enhancing the services provided to the public, at the same time the malicious usage of technology almost always arises. Drones are one such technical innovation that’s being used for good and bad. While drones certainly do improve logistics and health sector and aid in research or studies, their potential threats to privacy, possibility of their use in smuggling and attacks, and their potential use for unauthorized surveillance are alarming and need to be addressed.
A serious concern regarding security threats was the usage of drones to record or see foreign delegates of different countries in the G20 International Summit held in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The security setup for the summit was designed to be extremely robust to prevent any mishap or security breach. The Argentinian defense ministry not only mitigated conventional security threats, they went a step ahead and acknowledged the possibility of unauthorized or malicious drone surveillance of the delegates attending the summit.
To account for this problem regarding drone usage, the Argentinian defense ministry signed a contract that was worth more than US $5 million with ELTA, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries. The “Drone Guard system” thus developed proved its worth in the field. The network of drones stopped several suspicious flying devices in security-intense vicinity.
It was due to the arduous efforts of the Argentinian defense department and the innovative security setup up by outsourced parties such as Israel Aerospace Industries that the participation of delegates from all over the world, ranging from France and Germany to Russia and India was not affected at all, despite previous security concerns raised.
These security concerns were in fact confirmed by observation of several aerial devices in the summit flying for unidentified reasons but luckily, the Argentinian authorities were one step ahead of any malicious elements as an unauthorized drone in the vicinity of the hotels where the foreign delegates stayed was neutralized. Just one day later, on Friday, another drone was spotted near the Colon Theater where a Gala event was being held. This drone was shot down at the spot as well, according a report by the Clarin newspaper.
This project itself required approval from several international signatories as different countries cleared it for implementation on 21st September. This project is a part of a much bigger security plan, the Cyber Defense Informatics Emergency Response Team (CERT) and a Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT). The program approved and implemented inhibition of drone activity to a certain range, which is a trade-off between research and commercial usage of drones and their security aspects.
The G20 is not the first event where Defense guard has been used. Considering the seriousness of Argentinian defense ministry regarding aerial robotic threats, the same system as also been used in the past – during the 2018 Youth Olympics, also held in Argentina.
Yoav Tourgeman, IAI VP and CEO of ELTA, recently said, “The Drone Guard, with its new addition of COMINT capabilities, is a proven operational system for civilian and military applications that can meet the growing threats of hostile UAS and small drones. ELTA designed the Drone Guard to be modular, so that customers can choose the best combination that meets their operational and budgetary requirements in the most cost-effective manner. We at ELTA are dedicated to continue to develop the Drone Guard system to counter evolving threats and provide maximum security for our customers.”