Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

How to succeed as a startup

Book, in Firefly, once said “Out here, people struggled to get by with the most basic technologies; a ship would bring you work, a gun would help you keep it. A captain’s goal was simple: find a crew, find a job, keep flying.”

The startup version is:

“As a startup, people struggle to get by with the most basic resources; an idea will bring you attention, passion will help you keep it. A founder’s job is simple: build a team, find revenue, survive.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Guidance to UAV Operators Responding to Florida

September 9, 2017 Leave a comment

[I am the Public Information Officer for National Council on Public Safety UAS. This post is written in that role. We will stand up an official location for future announcements.]

The Director, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program, FSU, working in conjunction with local, state, and Federal agencies, requests that all volunteer UAS operators respect the following:

Volunteer/humanitarian aid/emergency response operators:

  1. Do not self-deploy during response/life-safety, it’s dangerous.
  2. Register on
  3. When the State gets to recovery, we will need help. Registered volunteers should report to a Volunteer Reception Center for vetting and assignment.
  4. Be prepared to be self sufficient. Do not assume that food, shelter, water, transportation, power, medical support, and fuel will be available to support your activities

Commercial operators:

  • All commercial operators working for utilities, insurance companies, etc should comply with their Part 107 restrictions.
  • Please coordinate operations through local and state EOCs if flying during response phase.

Official agencies:

  • Official agencies should contact the FAA Systems Operations Support Center (SOSC) at 202-267-8276 and request an Emergency COA or SGI. This authorization will permit operations inside any posted TFRs or within controlled airspace.


All operators in Florida should utilize Airmap (including registering of flights) for maximum visibility. Emergency Management is using Airmap to help deconflict air operations.

Other guidance:

  • Low flying aircraft will be an issue. 
  • Monitor FAA and other resources for new or changing TFRs.
  • Follow the eCOA process when working with a sponsoring agency or private sector partner. 
  • Be patient with the SOSC as they will get bombarded with requests


Defending Against UAVs Operated by Non-State Actors

The author hopes to help the reader understand the potential impact of consumer UAVs in the hands of non-state actors as well as the technical and regulatory challenges present in the United States that we face so that they can make informed decisions about public policy choices, investments, and risk.

Our hypothesis is that Western nations are not prepared to defend civilian populations against the use of small UAVs by non-state actors. This can be proved false by:

    • Identifying counter-UAV technology that can be deployed to effect a “win” against currently available UAVs that meet the UsUAS definition
    • Identifying the regulations that allow the technology to be utilized within the borders of the United States and at sites not covered by “no fly zones”.
    • Demonstrating that the solutions are capable of being deployed at sufficient scale to protect all possible targets, not just major events

The defenders are at a classical asymmetric warfare disadvantage – they need a nearly 100% success rate, and if they can demonstrate that success, even better. This is essentially an impossible victory condition to meet. If the scope is limited to critical infrastructure, and if the rules of engagement are adjusted, the odds increase dramatically for the defenders but are still daunting.

Attackers win if they can conduct a single terror attack using a UsUAS against any civilian target, one of thousands of Friday night high school football games for example.

A successful attack need not injure or kill civilians. It may not even make major headlines. It just needs to demonstrate enough capability to generate sufficient public outcry to slow consumer and commercial UAV sales and deployment. Lawmakers already show a great deal of interest in responding to requests for greater regulation and the industry has demonstrated little effective lobbying power to hold off these regulations. A notable hostile use of a consumer UAV could result in regulation that would have significant impact on the civilian industry predicted to be worth $2 billion by 2020.[1]

Full text of my thesis is available here – David Kovar – GMAP 16 – Thesis

[1] B. I. Intelligence, 2016 Oct. 2, and 092 2, “THE DRONES REPORT: Market Forecasts, Regulatory Barriers, Top Vendors, and Leading Commercial Applications,” Business Insider, accessed February 15, 2017,


Categories: Uncategorized

UAVs, IoT, and Cybersecurity

December 8, 2016 1 comment

I presented a talk on UAVs, IoT, and Cybersecurity at the LISA conference in Boston on December 7th, 2016. The abstract for the talk was:

“Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) aka “drones” are all the rage—$500 UAVs are used in professional racing leagues and major corporations are building $100,000 UAVs to deliver packages and Internet connectivity. UAVs are slowly working their way into almost every commercial sector via operations, sales, manufacturing, or design.

sUAS—emphasis on the final “S”—are complex systems. The aerial platform alone often consists of a radio link, an autopilot, a photography sub-system, a GPS, and multiple other sensors. Each one of these components represents a cybersecurity risk unto itself and also when part of the larger system. Add in the ground control stations, the radio controller, and the video downlink system and you have a very complex computing environment running a variety of commercial, closed source, open source, and home brew software.

And yes, there is already malware specifically targeting drones.

During this presentation, we will walk through a typical operational workflow for a UAV, all of the components of a representative system, and through a possible risk assessment model for UAVs. Even if you are not working with UAVs, you should consider that UAVs are an instance of “the Internet of Things”—a collection of sensors and computing devices connected to each other and to the cloud designed to gather, distribute, and analyze data in a semi- or fully-autonomous manner.”

The slides may be found here:

Categories: Uncategorized

UAV (drone) forensic analysis presentation available on YouTube

November 30, 2016 Leave a comment
Earlier this year, Greg Dominguez and I developed the second UAV (drone) forensic analysis presentation. I presented it at SANS in Austin this summer and that presentation is now available on YouTube.
It was “Next Gen” when presented but we’ve moved on. We’re already working on a more comprehensive version for several conferences next year. Stay tuned.
Categories: Uncategorized

UAV Forensics – version 2

Working with Greg Dominguez and Cindy Murphy, we updated my UAV Forensics presentation from last year to address the Phantom P3, it’s additional data sources, some new tools for analyzing data, and our first pass at JTAG analysis.

Greg and I gave the presentation at Techno Security in June and a PDF version is attached here: UAV Forensics -TS16-final distribution

Categories: Uncategorized

Public Agency Operations and Part 107

After consulting with a UAV lawyer and an FAA representative, I believe that:

  • Public Agencies (PAs) still have to operate under a COA
  • PAs can also operate non-Public Agency Operations (PAOs) under Part 107.

See pages 61-68 of the Rule for details

If a PA wishes to examine the roof of the court house for hail damage, a Part 107 operator working for the PA can perform the task.

If a PA wishes to conduct a SAR mission, or fly a UAV in support of fire fighting operations, they need a COA or to contract with a 333 exempt operator with the appropriate COA.


Categories: Uncategorized