Rarely does a week go by without a new data breach incident or a new security exploit discovered in an operating system, software package, etc. Unmanned systems have a microcontroller running software and communicate using protocols that may have security exploits like any other device that runs software. There have already been reports of drone hacks and, given the media attention, it is likely they will become a favorite target for hackers.
Penetration testing (pen testing) and vulnerability assessment will be critical to ensure that any UAS platform does not present an easy target for hackers. In an effort to rush UAS platforms to market, many vendors may have put security on the back burner. Some platforms appear to have little or no security measures in place to prevent a malicious user from taking control of the UAS in operation.
Since this type of testing may compromise the UAS flight controller or control system it will be important to perform the testing in a netted enclosure to prevent a runaway.