With news emerging Monday that authorities had nabbed a New Jersey man suspected of using a drone to case his burglary targets, drones have revealed their comic book dark side
With the explosion of cool and affordable consumer tech, reality is quickly caching up with sci-fi and the news is increasingly resembling a comic book.
When Geektime learned that authorities, this past Monday, had nabbed a New Jersey man suspected of using a drone to case out his burglary targets before striking, it became clear to us that drones have revealed their dark potential for serving a new breed of techno super criminal. A bit of research by Geektime has uncovered 7 potential drone wielding masterminds who may already be operating in a neighborhood near you.
We’ve even gone to the trouble of devising their comic book monikers as a public service for Geektime readers so that you may better recognize them if and when you spot them carrying out their nefarious plans:
1) The Dronegler
CBS News reported Monday that a man named Duane Holmes was captured in Pennsylvania with dozens of stolen cell phones as well as a drone in his car. A police officer had noticed the drone hovering in the air a day before the burglary of a Verizon store in New Jersey.
A security expert told CBS News that the easiest way to get into a building is through the roof and that the drone was likely collecting information on vents and air ducts that a ( very thin?) person could fit through.
2) The Dronnabis Gang
British media report that gangs are using flying drones equipped with heat-seeking cameras to spot illegal marijuana farms and rob them.
The hydroponic lights used to grow the cannabis give off a lot of heat and this enables the drones to pinpoint them. Criminals on the ground can either raid the farm or blackmail the owners by threatening to expose them to authorities.
The 33-year-old owner of one such drone justified his acts to the Halesowen News: “It is not like I’m using my drone to see if people have nice televisions — I am just after drugs to steal and sell, if you break the law then you enter me and my drone’s world.”
In 2011, the FBI foiled a plot by al-Qaeda linked terrorists to attack the Pentagon and Capitol in Washington. D.C. using explosives-laden drones.
4) Drone the Deliverer
In 2012, criminals piloted a hexacopter over a Brazilian prison to deliver cell phones to inmates. This past June, a quadcopter mounted with a Go-Pro camera flew into a prison yard in Dublin, Ireland. The drone was loaded with drugs and intercepted by wardens when they saw a group of inmates rush toward it to lay claim to the drugs.
Drones can be used by creepy Peeping Toms and stalkers to keep tabs on their prey. ‘Nuff said.
6) The Flying Hack
In 2009, Iraqi Shi’ite militants used Russian cable theft software to hack real-time feeds from U.S. surveillance drones. In 2011, American Predator and Reaper drones were infected with a virus that recorded all their moves as they flew missions over Afghanistan.
7) The Party Crasher
In 2013, members of Germany’s Pirate Party flew a drone at Chancellor Angela Merkel while she was making a speech. It landed a few meters away from her. That particular stunt was a prank, but hobbyists and criminals alike have been busy equipping drones with handguns. Not a happy thought.
Let’s face it. Drones are not a fly-by-night phenomenon. Their criminal potential will only grow. But at least we’ve been warned. And you never know, maybe some planet on the brink of destruction with send their last geek to Earth via inter galactic drone delivery to battle the forces of UAV based crime.