Two recent articles relating to the use of drones to collect information indicate new levels of inter-connectivity of IT systems. Summaries of the articles are provided below.

Drones detect IoT devices over Texas

The drone used for the detection over Austin, Texas, is fully autonomous and runs on software that logs the location of all connected things within a 100m range. The drone picked up 1,600 unique IoT devices, (1,235 in residential areas, 351 in commercial areas). The results are then analysed in order to identify each Internet of Things (IoT) device’s security settings, manufacturer ID, channels, and other attributes. Alarmingly, the drone was able to  detect 465 manufacturers who made the devices.

Web users can track where the drone is currently flying in real time on an interactive map. In just one 18-minute-long flight, the drone was able to pick up 726 unique IoT devices.


Main purposes of the project are to:

  • determine how many IOT-friendly devices were being used in Austin
  • find how IOT devices are being used and what the device networks look like
  • investigate security vulnerabilities that these devices pose for the public

Drones to Spot Exam Cheaters

Schools in the Chinese province of Luoyang take the Gaokao, an intense two-day exam similar to the SAT. The stakes on this examination are high. The results are key consideration for which tier of university, students can enter. Drones were used to fly over the two examination sites in June. A staff member was the exam rooms connected to the drone and it informs them of any signal being emitted from the exam room.

Cheating methods include using special pens to photograph questions while the exam is in progress and transmit them to someone who can relay the answers to a hidden earpiece worn by a student in the exam room. The drones detect signals sent to the earpieces, and send information to exam supervisors  in real time.

In both instances Drones are being for surveillance purposes to hover over buildings and detect transmitting devices below.


Security researchers identify 1, 600 Internet of Things devices just by flying a drone over Texas

How researchers are using a drone to discover connected devices in Austin

Schools use drones to spot exam cheaters

Drone is the Latest Weapon Against Cheating in China School Exam

China: Drones patrol above schools to detect exam cheats