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FBI receives reports about drones being weaponized with homemade IEDs
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WASHINGTON (TND) — Drones are becoming increasingly popular as they’re easy to buy and find out how to use online. Now, U.S. officials are investigating cases of people attempting to fly drones carrying homemade bombs.
“We are investigating, even as we speak, several instances within the U.S. of attempts to weaponize drones with homemade IEDs,” Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray said in a Thursday Senate hearing.
Experts say they’re not surprised by the announcement and some believe that if nothing is done, they could pose a “domestic terrorism threat.”
“You can get those drones from the market right and you just need the explosive material,” said Dr. Mostafa Hassanalian, a drone expert with the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.
Wray said the potential drone risk has increased with the rapid advancement of technology.
“This is also a future concern of the concept of advanced air mobility, which for example, we now see that Amazon wants to use drones for delivery,” Hassanalian said. “We want to integrate drones into our cities for multiple applications that they will have, so here cybersecurity is another aspect of this.”
It’s an aspect Hassanalian says needs to be explored and prioritized to prevent unwanted drones in the air.
“I believe that this is a threat, and I think there needs for more research to design some anti-predator, anti-drone systems,” he said.
More immediately, the FBI director is urging Congress to act to expand authority to counter these drones from big events like the Super Bowl.
Right now, federal law enforcement officers can block drones from flying near certain events. That expires next month.