Cloud–SPHERE: Towards Secure UAV Service Provision


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are gaining popularity in many fields and have now increased connectivity. Among others, security is considered one of the greatest challenges for UAV technology acceptance from the general public, more so when the UAV is connected to other vehicles and/or systems. In this paper, the first steps towards secure UAV service provision are presented through the Cloud–SPHERE platform, a security approach for integrating UAVs into the IoT ecosystem. UAV security and service provision are discussed and the prototype outlined. Preliminary service provision by UAVs using the MQTT protocol are presented.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.

    Al-Fuqaha, A., Guizani, M., Mohammadi, M., Aledhari, M., Ayyash, M.: Internet of things: a survey on enabling technologies, protocols, and applications. IEEE Commun. Surv. Tutorials 17(4), 2347–2376 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Ali, M., Khan, S.U., Vasilakos, A.V.: Security in cloud computing: opportunities and challenges. Inform. Sci. 305, 357–383 (2015).

    MathSciNet  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Altawy, R., Youssef, A.M.: Security, privacy, and safety aspects of civilian drones. ACM Trans. Cyber-Phys. Syst. 1(2), 1–25 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Alwateer, M., Loke, S.W., Rahayu, W.: Drone services: an investigation via prototyping and simulation. In: IEEE 4th World Forum on Internet of Things (WF-IoT), IEEE, Singapore, Singapore, pp 367–370 (2018).

  5. 5.

    ANAC: Certificados de drones., in Brazillian Portuguese (2017)

  6. 6.

    Atzori, L., Iera, A., Morabito, G.: The internet of things: a survey. Comput. Netw. 54(15), 2787–2805 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Botta, A., de Donato, W., Persico, V., Pescapé, A.: Integration of cloud computing and internet of things: a survey. Futur. Gener. Comput. Syst. 56, 684–700 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Cavalcante, E., Pereira, J., Alves, M.P., Maia, P., Moura, R., Batista, T., Delicato, F.C., Pires, P.F.: On the interplay of internet of things and cloud computing: a systematic mapping study. Comput. Commun. 89-90, 17–33 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Choi, S.C., Sung, N.M., Park, J.H., Ahn, I.Y., Kim, J.: Enabling drone as a service: OneM2M-based UAV/drone management system. In: 2017 Ninth International Conference on Ubiquitous and Future Networks (ICUFN), IEEE, Milan, Italy., pp 18–20 (2017)

  10. 10.

    Eclipse: Eclipse mosquitto- an open source mqtt broker. (2018a)

  11. 11.

    Eclipse: Eclipse paho. (2018b)

  12. 12.

    Ermacora, G., Toma, A., Rosa, S., Bona, B., Chiaberge, M., Silvagni, M., Gaspardone, M., Antonini, R.: A cloud based service for management and planning of autonomous UAV missions in smart city scenarios. In: Hodicky, J. (ed.) Modelling and Simulation for Autonomous Systems, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 8906, Springer International Publishing, chap 3, pp 20–26 (2014).∖_3

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Gupta, S.G., Ghonge, M.M., Jawandhiya, P.M.: Review of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). Int. J. Adv. Res. Comput. Eng. Tech. 2(4), 1646–1658 (2013). ISSN: 2278–1323

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    HardKernel: ODROID-XU4. (2018)

  15. 15.

    Hartmann, K., Steup, C.: The vulnerability of UAVs to cyber attacks - an approach to the risk assessment. In: International Conference on Cyber Conflict (CyCon), IEEE, Tallinn, Estonia, pp. 1–23, (2013)

  16. 16.

    Hashizume, K., Rosado, D.G., Fernández-Medina, E., Fernandez, E.B.: An analysis of security issues for cloud computing. J. Int. Services Appl. 4(1), 5 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Hayat, S., Yanmaz, E., Muzaffar, R.: Survey on unmanned aerial vehicle networks for civil applications: a communications viewpoint. IEEE Commun. Surv. Tutorials 18(4), 2624–2661 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    He, D., Chan, S., Guizani, M.: Communication security of unmanned aerial vehicles. IEEE Wirel. Commun. 24(4), 134–139 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Hossein Motlagh, N., Taleb, T., Arouk, O.: Low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles-based internet of things services: comprehensive survey and future perspectives. IEEE Internet Things J. 4662(c), 1–1 (2016).,

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Hunkeler, U., Truong, H.L., Stanford-Clark, A.: MQTT-S — a publish/subscribe protocol for wireless sensor networks. In: 2008 3rd International Conference on Communication Systems Software and Middleware and Workshops (COMSWARE ’08), pp 791–798 (2008).,

  21. 21.

    ISO/IEC: ISO/IEC 17788:2014. International Organization for Standardization, Geneva. (2014)

  22. 22.

    ITU-T: ITU-T Y.2060: overview of the internet of things. International Telecommunication Union, Geneva, (2012)

  23. 23.

    Kim, Y., Jo, J., Shrestha, S.: A server-based real-time privacy protection scheme against video surveillance by unmanned aerial systems. In: International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS), IEEE, Orlando, USA, pp 684–691 (2014).

  24. 24.

    Koubaa, A., Qureshi, B., Sriti, M.F., Javed, Y., Tovar, E.: A service-oriented Cloud-based management system for the internet-of-drones. In: IEEE International Conference on Autonomous Robot Systems and Competitions (ICARSC), IEEE, Coimbra, Portugal, pp 329–335 (2017).

  25. 25.

    Lin, J., Yu, W., Zhang, N., Yang, X., Zhang, H., Zhao, W.: A survey on internet of things: architecture, enabling technologies, security and privacy, and applications IEEE Internet Things J. (2017)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Luo, C., Nightingale, J., Asemota, E., Grecos, C.: A UAV-cloud system for disaster sensing applications. In: IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference (VTC Spring), IEEE, Glasgow, Scotland, pp 1–5 (2015).

  27. 27.

    Mahmoud, S., Mohamed, N., Al-Jaroodi, J.: Integrating UAVs into the cloud using the concept of the web of things. J. Robot. 1–10, (2015)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Majumder, S., Prasad, M.S.: Cloud based control for unmanned aerial vehicles. In: Signal Processing and Integrated Networks (SPIN), IEEE, Noida, India, pp 421–424 (2016).

  29. 29.

    Maple, C.: Security and privacy in the internet of things. J. Cyber Policy 2(2), 155–184 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Meddeb, A.: Internet of things standards: who stands out from the crowd? IEEE Commun. Mag. 54(7), 40–47 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Mell, P., Grance, T.: The NIST definition of cloud computing. Tech. rep., National Institute of Standards and Technology, (2011)

  32. 32.

    Miorandi, D., Sicari, S., De Pellegrini, F., Chlamtac, I.: Internet of things: vision, applications and research challenges. Ad Hoc Netw. 10(7), 1497–1516 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Mokhtarzadeh, H., Colten, T.: Small UAV position and attitude, raw sensor, and aerial imagery data collected over farm field with surveyed markers. (2015)

  34. 34.

    MQTT: MQTT Version 3.1.1. Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, Boston, (2014)

  35. 35.

    Munhoz, L.T., Pigatto, D.F., Branco, K.R.L.J.C.: Performance evaluation of handoff in mobile ipv6 networks: the case of safety-critical systems with NIMBLE platform for mobility. In: Branco, K., Pinto, A., Pigatto, D. (eds.) Communication in Critical Embedded Systems. WoCCES 2014, WoCCES 2015, WoCCES 2013, WoCCES 2016., Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol. 702, Springer International Publishing, Cham, chap 2, pp. 23–44,∖_2 (2017)

    Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Nahrstedt, K., Li, H., Nguyen, P., Chang, S., Vu, L.: Internet of mobile things: mobility-driven challenges, designs and implementations. In: IEEE International Conference on Internet-of-Things Design and Implementation (IoTDI), IEEE, Berlin, Germany, pp 25–36 (2016).

  37. 37.

    Pigatto, D.F.: HAMSTER - healthy, mobility and security-based data communication architecture for unmanned aircraft systems. PhD thesis, USP – Universidade de São Paulo, São Carlos. (2017)

  38. 38.

    Pigatto, D.F., Gonçalves, L., Roberto, G.F., Rodrigues Filho, J.F., Floro da Silva, N.B., Pinto, A.R., Lucas Jaquie Castelo Branco, K.R.: The HAMSTER data communication architecture for unmanned aerial, ground and aquatic systems. J. Intell. Robot. Syst. 84(1-4), 705–723 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Pigatto, D.F., Rodrigues, M., Carvalho Fontes, J.V., Pinto, A.S.R., Smith, J., Branco, K.R.L.J.C.: The internet of flying things, Wiley-Blackwell, chap 19, pp. 529–562. (2018)

    Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    RELIC: Relic toolkit. (2018)

  41. 41.

    Rodrigues, M., Branco, K.R.L.J.C.: UAVs at your service: towards IoT integration with HAMSTER. In: International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS), Atlanta, EUA, (in press) (2019)

  42. 42.

    Rodrigues, M., Pigatto, D.F., Fontes, J.V.C., Pinto, A.S.R., Diguet, J.P., Branco, K.R.L.J.C.: UAV integration into IoIT : opportunities and challenges. In: International Conference on Autonomic and Autonomous (ICAS), p 6 (2017)

  43. 43.

    Rodrigues, M., Pigatto, D.F., Branco, K.R.L.J.C.: Cloud-SPHERE: a security approach for connected unmanned aerial vehicles. In: International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS), IEEE, Dallas, EUA, pp 769–778 (2018a).

  44. 44.

    Rodrigues, M., Pigatto, D.F., Branco, K.R.L.J.C.: Navigation phases platform: towards green computing for UAVs. In: IEEE Symposium on Computers and Communications (ISCC), IEEE, Natal, Brazil., pp 01,171–01,176 (2018b)

  45. 45.

    Shariat, A., Tizghadam, A., Leon-Garcia, A.: An ICN-based publish-subscribe platform to deliver UAV service in smart cities. In: IEEE Conference on Computer Communications Workshops (INFOCOM WKSHPS), IEEE, San Francisco, USA, pp 698–703 (2016).

  46. 46.

    Sicari, S., Rizzardi, A., Grieco, L., Coen-Porisini, A.: Security, privacy and trust in internet of things: the road ahead. Comput. Netw. 76, 146–164 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. 47.

    Uher, J., Harper, J., Mennecke, R.G. III, Patton, P., Farroha, B.: Investigating end-to-end security in the fifth generation wireless capabilities and IoT extensions. In: Ternovskiy, I.V., Chin, P. (eds.) SPIE 9826 - Cyber Sensing, SPIE, Baltimore, USA. (2016)

  48. 48.

    Valavanis, K.P., Vachtsevanos, G.J.: Handbook of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Springer, Netherlands (2015). ISBN: 9789048197064

    Google Scholar 

  49. 49.

    Whitmore, A., Agarwal, A., Da Xu, L.: The internet of things — a survey of topics and trends. Inf. Syst. Front. 17(2), 261–274 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. 50.

    Xiao, Z., Xiao, Y.: Security and privacy in cloud computing. IEEE Commun. Surv. Tutorials 15(2), 843–859 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. 51.

    Yapp, J., Seker, R., Babiceanu, R.: UAV as a service: enabling on-demand access and on-the-fly re-tasking of multi-tenant UAVs using cloud services. In: 2016 IEEE/AIAA 35th Digital Avionics Systems Conference (DASC), IEEE, Sacramento, CA, USA., pp 1–8 (2016)

  52. 52.

    Zhou, M., Zhang, R., Xie, W., Qian, W., Zhou, A.: Security and privacy in cloud computing: a survey. In: International Conference on Semantics, Knowledge and Grids, IEEE, Beijing, China, vol. 2, pp. 105–112. (2010)

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mariana Rodrigues.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brasil (CAPES) - Finance Code 001. Research was also sponsored by the Army Research Office and was accomplished under Grant Number W911NF-18-1-0012. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the Army Research Office or the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Government purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation herein.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Rodrigues, M., Branco, K.R.L.J. Cloud–SPHERE: Towards Secure UAV Service Provision. J Intell Robot Syst 97, 249–268 (2020).

Download citation


  • UAV
  • IoT
  • Security
  • Safety
  • Service
  • Cloud–SPHERE