Insurgents have been hacking US drones 31 replies

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Commissar MercZ

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29th January 2005

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#1 9 years ago

There's been a bit of fallout over this lately, here are some articles if you are not familiar with it.

US military drone security breach "fixed"-official | Reuters BBC News - Iraq insurgents 'hack into video feeds from US drones' Pentagon: Insurgents Intercepted Drone Spy Videos : NPR

The use of drones has become more common in the past few years, and have been often used for both recon and strikes. In Iraq, they recently caught an insurgent and on his laptop found that he had managed to hack in to the drone's video feed.

Now while they aren't able to control it, they can see what the drones were doing.

Now for the kicker, the tool they used to hack wasn't all that difficult. From what has been seen from the laptop they've captured, most of the process involved the use of a program that costs about $29 (SkyGrabber) along with some other tweaks to hack into the video feeds the drones were sending back.

Obviously, the military sees that this would be a problem in two major ways,

A. The insurgents can tell when the drone is coming for them B. With some work, the insurgents might even be able to modify the feed and supply an altered feed to mislead the military.

This can cause problems in Afghanistan as well, and they are unclear as to how common place the hacking was.

There are some other places I was reading where it is believed that this problem was probably known by the defense contractors who built the drones, but it is only until this leak had they have begun to roll out fixes to not make hacking such vital intel a cake walk. Apparently the exploit was in the earliest drones and was never addressed, but defenders argued that then there was little technology available to the masses to do such things.

And considering the sheer amount the US spends on these defense contracts (and how much I'm often told it's not wasteful in anyway), I would have expected them to at least make hacking a drone much more difficult. Hmm, who'd've thought it, defense contractors misleading people? :rolleyes:

What ever the case now, they military has ordered fixes, first for those operating in hot zones.




Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#2 9 years ago
The hacking was possible because the remotely flown planes have an unprotected communications link.

Oh wow. :lulz: Someone really screwed the pooch on this one, the poor thing's going to need counselling.




Red Menace

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#3 9 years ago

An obvious example of underestimating your enemies. "Those terrorists wear diapers on their heads they can't do computers!"

Something else I heard recently is that, according to a Marine officer that spoke to my defense policy class, we're going unencrypted over the radio in Afghanistan because we refuse to give some of our "allies" our encryption technology. Let's see how long it takes them to figure that out and how many people get killed over it.


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Crazy Wolf VIP Member

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#4 9 years ago

Red Menace;5172209An obvious example of underestimating your enemies. "Those terrorists wear diapers on their heads they can't do computers!"

Something else I heard recently is that, according to a Marine officer that spoke to my defense policy class, we're going unencrypted over the radio in Afghanistan because we refuse to give some of our "allies" our encryption technology. Let's see how long it takes them to figure that out and how many people get killed over it.

That's all kinds of special. So, we just rely on them not speaking English for our security in that country?




emonkies

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#5 9 years ago

The data feeds are not encrypted. The Insurgents can catch the signal just like someone illegally receiving cable TV. They cant get the signal but they cant manipulate it. This takes away alot of the element of surprise.

The Military is working to add encryption technology to the drone video signals ASAP.




Huffardo

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#6 9 years ago

Lol. This is why you shouldn't award expensive contracts to people who found their degrees in cereal boxes.

Must have been nice to fix this when everything was designed from the ground up not to support encryption.




emonkies

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#7 9 years ago

Adding encryption should be easy. Can be hardware with add on chip or software with additional program. Both would be best.

Apparently US military officials warned of this problem and apparently someone with the correct equipment can manipulate the video and even send false video feeds.

The Pentagon is saying the problem ahs already been fixed but in reality it probably means we have a fix and it is being implemented as we speak.




Admiral Donutz VIP Member

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#8 9 years ago

Lol, how much did they sell the drones for? 10 bucks? :lol: I'd assume they cost big money and the client could expect the product to be in tip top shape and safe as far as anyone is concerned. True, perhaps something might pop up later that nobody could or would have expected (in this case, the enemy being able to decrypt and breack advanced coding and security measures on the drone signals) but otherwise... heh.

Though you wonder who bought the things without a proper testing and looking at the specs...

Mil: Nice drones, how does it work with the camera signal and stuff (controls)? Devs: it uses sattelite/radi/whatever signals. Mil: So how reliable are those signals (failure risk), what kind of security is in place and such? Devs: err... Possible reply from Mil: I take that as a no 1) alright, you are right we don't care about the signals being traceable 2) WTF? No deal.

1) means there never would have been a problem as the client accepted the risk/specs 2) means.. no deal... not untill the clients demands are met.




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#9 9 years ago
Admiral Donutz;5172646Lol, how much did they sell the drones for? 10 bucks? :lol: I'd assume they cost big money and the client could expect the product to be in tip top shape and safe as far as anyone is concerned.

Always keep in mind that your weapon was made by the lowest bidder!




Crazy Wolf VIP Member

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#10 9 years ago

Although in a field with little competition, it's just a coincidence that costs creep up, right?