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Feds Warn China-Made Drones Pose Risk to US Critical Infrastructure

The increasing dependence of the industry on drones manufactured in China presents a “significant risk” to vital U.S. infrastructure, as highlighted in a warning from the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). On January 17, the two agencies released collaborative guidance, advising organizations to exclusively acquire drones, or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), that follow secure-by-design principles and are produced within the United States.

According to SC Media, China has enacted laws that gave its government expanded powers to access and control data held by the country’s businesses, including drone manufacturers.

“One of these laws, the PRC’s (People’s Republic of China’s) 2017 National Intelligence Law, compels Chinese companies to cooperate with state intelligence services, including providing access to data collected within China and around the world,” the CISA/FBI guidance stated.

It said prominent China-owned drone manufacturers operating in the U.S. and identified by the Department of Defense as “Chinese military companies” were included within the scope of the National Intelligence Law.

“Without mitigations in place, the widespread deployment of Chinese-manufactured UAS in our nation’s key sectors is a national security concern, and it carries the risk of unauthorized access to systems and data,” Bryan Vorndran, assistant director of the FBI’s cyber division, said in a statement.

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