News: Iraqi Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones With 26 Dollar Download

Iraqi Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones With 26 Dollar Download

Uh oh. Somebody screwed up big this time.

It has recently been reported that Iraqi insurgents have used $26 software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. drones located in Middle East conflict zones. The drone (a remotely piloted aircraft) is considered one of the U.S. military's most sophisticated weapons. Apparently not sophisticated enough, however. 

According to The Guardian,

"The insurgents used software programmes such as Skygrabber, developed by a Russian company and originally intended to download music and videos from the internet.

The drones have become one of the most important parts of the US armoury... They are able to hover over suspect sites and launch missiles against alleged militants in Iraq and alleged al-Qaida and Taliban militants in Afghanistan and the Pakistan border region... The potential problem with the hacking was that insurgents, if they knew the locations being targeted, would be able to take evasive action.

The Pentagon had been aware of the problem for many years, but had assumed the insurgents would not have the technical knowledge to intercept the feeds.

One defense official, however, said that upgrading the encryption in the drones would be a long process because at least 600 of the unmanned planes are in use, along with thousands of ground stations..."

Whoa. Talk about putting those hacks to use.

3 Comments

If I'm not mistaken there is NO encryption on drone feeds whatsoever, so "upgrading the encryption in the drones would be a long process " should read more like "IMPLEMENTING the encryption in the drones would be a long process." Either way it's extremely unintelligent of them to assume they would have no technology for this. Any kid with a DVB card and a satellite dish (both can be obtained for less than $200 nowadays) can view unencrypted sat feeds.

The entire thing is a big WTF. Why would you assume locals are too dumb to figure out you didn't encrypt anything, and why would you not build encryption into the NEW drones?! My cable shouldn't have more protection than military equipment!

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