A drone was successfully hacked in the White sands Missile Range in New Mexico by a group of researchers. These researchers were given the opportunity to prove they could hack a drone outside of the lab and in the field using GPS spoofing. Who gave the University of Texas researchers this opportunity? The Department of Homeland Security extended the invitation to see if the hacking could be done.
Even though the BBC suggested that Iran may have used the same kind of hacking technology to gain control of a spy drone flying over their country, it’s thought it was more likely jamming tech. Jamming GPS is different than spoofing it as jamming tries to remove the signals and spoofing tries to hijack the signal and pretend to be the original one.
The drone was successfully hacked by UT researchers using a spoofing method they detailed in an article titled, “Straight Talk on Anti-Spoofing.” It was in this article that attention started to arise of the methods that Professor Todd E. Humphreys and his researchers were referencing.
Now the article released in GPS World wasn’t exactly a how to spoof a drone expose article but a warning and things one can do to stop spoofing of GPS devices. In the GPS World article it started out saying, “Disruption created by intentional generation of fake GPS signals could have serious economic consequences. This article discusses how typical civil GPS receivers respond to an advanced civil GPS spoofing attack, and four techniques to counter such attacks.” The four ways someone can deploy anti-spoofing for GPS devices are listed as SSSC, NMA, Dual-Receiver and VSD.
Using the techniques warned about in the article, the UT researchers were successful in taking over control of the drone while the Department of Homeland Security watched and prove the possibility of drone hacking. The exact way they did it is explained from their article as drone GPS spoofing, “the transmission of matched-GPS-signal-structure interference in an attempt to commandeer the tracking loops of a victim receiver and thereby manipulate the receiver’s timing or navigation solution. A spoofer can transmit its counterfeit signals from a stand-off distance of several hundred meters or it can be co-located with its victim.”
While the drone program expands across the United States fears are building that they could be taken down, commandeered and used to hurt people or much more serious consequences. Wait, did you think drones couldn’t fly over US territory? No, that was taken care of when a bill was passed in Congress around February 7th, 2012 when the Washington Post claimed, “Drones over U.S. get OK by Congress.” So get ready, the drones are coming in full force and by 2015 there will be licensing of commercial drones.
Now don’t think that this drone hacking or spoofing tactic just ends with unmanned aerial vehicles in the sky. Remember all that research that Google and other automakers are doing with Unmanned Vehicle Systems? Well those cars that are driven by computers are using GPS and spoofing and jamming can effect all those cars that will eventually be on our roads as well.
Who would have know that hacking a drone in the US could have such implications to many of our new technologies coming down the pipeline. If you think it’s out of reach of many people the UT researchers state that it costs them $1000 in equipment costs to get the job done.
Domestic drones can be hacked by “terrorists”
Iran: US Drone Hacked, not Crashed
The U.S. drone which crashed in Iran has been all over the media and even came up in the Iowa GOP debates. Now Iranian intelligence is claiming that they used a cyber attack to hack the drone, which explains why it’s in better condition than a prized Star Wars toy. So what will the U.S. do about Iran now?
Iran Hacked Stealth Drone GPS Forced RQ-170 to land in Iran
The U.S. Military and CIA may have a serious security flaw to deal with if an Iranian engineer’s story proves to be true. An Iranian specialists reportedly figured out that the RQ-170 Sentinel’s weakest point is its GPS by examining previously downed American drones back in September. Using this knowledge, they designed a trap for one of the drones doing reconnaissance work “by putting noise jamming on the communications, you force the bird into autopilot. This is where the bird loses its brain,” the engineer says. The team then simply programmed it to “land on its own where they wanted it to.” The engineer asserts that the whole process is as easy as hacking into a Google, Yahoo or Facebook account.” The attack was ultimately successful, leading the unmanned vehicle to land in Iran instead of its home base in Afghanistan.
A 2003 study on GPS vulnerability indicates that the U.S. Military has known about the problem for nearly a decade. If the RQ-170 in Iran’s possession was indeed hacked, it means the susceptibility is yet to be fixed.
Drones hit American universities
We are drawing close to the end of the school year and millions of high school seniors will be moving on to college. Across America, several universities are adding drones degrees to their curriculum. The Federal Aviation Administration has already approved 25 universities to fly drones in its airspace, and Amie Stepanovich, a member of the National Security Council for the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).
(FAA List) Why are So Many Universities Using Spy Drones? : FAA List Of Drones Approved America
Congress opens US airspace for drones
The US Congress has just passed the bill that allows private and commercial use of drones. This entails lots of questions as the arcraft that untill now have been used solely by the military and intelligence is now available for an average citizen. How this bill implementation could harm your privacy and safety is one of the main
concerns. To talk more about the implications of the bill Scott Norton of Harper’s Magazine joins RT’s Liz Wahl.
Drones to patrol US protests?
In January of 2012, the US Congress passed legislation that will open up the US sky to unmanned drones. The robotic aircraft will be used for military and police operations and will add to America’s current arsenal of around 7,000 drones. According to some accounts, peaceful protest might be a reason that feds would deploy the unmanned craft. There are currently 300 active drone permits in the US, but will that soon swell out of control? Amie Stepanovich, a member of the National Security Council for EPIC, joins us for more.