Drone Forensic Investigations

The use of drones used by negligent or nefarious actors is becoming more and more prevalent in the commission of criminal offences.  This includes, but limited to, offences such as:

  • Hostile Reconnaissance / Voyeurism / ISR
  • Conveyance of prohibited articles into prisons
  • Unauthorised airspace incursions

Drone forensics is a sub-discipline of digital forensics relating to the recovery of digital evidence or data from a drone under forensically controlled conditions. The term drone forensics usually refers to the drone (UAV) itself; however, it can also relate to any connected device which forms part of the unmanned aerial system (UAS), such as the wireless remote control, attached cameras or other connected devices.  A Drone usually has a Ground Control Station (GCS) which can be a bespoke device or mobile phone, this forms part of the UAS.

Drones are proven to be extremely valuable sources of information, whether the investigation is criminal or civil in nature.  For example, the investigation could be regarding the conveyance of illicit articles into a prison or civil litigation case where the flight of a drone has caused damage or injury.

Important recoverable data often includes location data including:

  • Where the drone has flown to and from
  • Time and date of flights
  • Duration of flights
  • Distance, speed and height of flights along with other telemetry
  • Photos / videos taken during a flight
  • Attribution relating to who may have operated the aircraft

In many cases the above artefacts can be represented on a map to provide a graphical representation which is easy to understand.  This information can be used in conjunction with other information to provide a comprehensive picture.

Working with you, Aerial Defence will initially explore and define your requirements, advise on a forensic strategy where necessary and undertake the examination of any necessary devices or data, subsequently producing a comprehensive expert report which will be suitable for presentation at court if required.