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Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones

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Jun 26, 2007
11,925
2
0
/shakes head

Who thought it was a good idea to send that video feed unencrypted?
It's old tech, most military tech is old tech, disposable in the field.

The new tech is for missiles and shields that only work when a targeting device is attatched.
 

spidey07

No Lifer
Aug 4, 2000
65,469
5
76
If it was unencrypted or weakly encrypted I don't think it was very sophisticated. :D
For real! What the HELL were they doing not using the best encryption the military has? That's just a total design fault and heads should roll.
 

heyheybooboo

Diamond Member
Jun 29, 2007
6,278
0
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I imagine the typical AQ or Taliban fighter is not equipped with the 'hardware' necessary to capture the video feed.

Let's face it, they are largely illiterate, and most likely lack the skills to conquer even a MS operating system.

This is an issue in more urban terrain such as the cities in Iraq where an individual with the right hardware and infrastructure could capture the signal real-time.

But what are they going to do with it?

Get on their phone and say, "Achmed, Predator at your six!" Not a good plan.

Better yet, how silly will that terrorist look when he captures
a dozen 6-week old videos re-broadcast with a current time stamp? Ooops.

Improvise, Adapt and Overcome --- it's what the US does best. I don't doubt that we are now using this to our advantage.



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heyheybooboo

Diamond Member
Jun 29, 2007
6,278
0
0
For real! What the HELL were they doing not using the best encryption the military has? That's just a total design fault and heads should roll.
I don't think it is a good idea to use our best encryption hardware on a drone that could be picked apart on the ground after it crashes.



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Jun 26, 2007
11,925
2
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For real! What the HELL were they doing not using the best encryption the military has? That's just a total design fault and heads should roll.
Well, military tech, as i said, is old tech.

Favored encryption techniques are not something to be spread via easy targets like UAV's.

They are a fucking camera in a plane and that is all they should be, easily replacable and if they come into enemy hands all they get is a camera and a light weight plane.

How anyone can not get this is beyond me.
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,623
1,109
126
This is neither Obama nor Bush's fault really, but somebody high up at DOD should get fired for this, just a common sense failure here.
 

Robor

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
16,979
0
0
I don't think it is a good idea to use our best encryption hardware on a drone that could be picked apart on the ground after it crashes.-
Is that really a huge concern? I used to work for a company that makes proprietary encryption (software and hardware) and one of the clients is our military. I know their devices are used in the field.
 

werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,873
460
126
I was thinking more of loading up a Drone with some fake/outdated video and broadcasting it as live.
Which of course is an excellent idea, as is sending an unencrypted feed drone into one area and a higher, encrypted feed drone into the actual area of interest. Misdirection is an excellent tactic.
 

frostedflakes

Diamond Member
Mar 1, 2005
7,925
1
0
Because they couldn't sell it to the Russians or somebody who could actually reverse-engineer it, right? ;)
 

piasabird

Lifer
Feb 6, 2002
17,168
60
91
It is kind of hard to drag the body of a drone pilot through the streets. This is just a minor glitch that can be fixed. Maybe they can start releasing old saved video to trick the enemy now.
 

Lanyap

Elite Member
Dec 23, 2000
7,259
1,031
126
this is what we get for over-extending our enlistment.. OH.. and also for electing a C- president.. Bet we enlist C- programmers to program these things.. ANY PROBLEM WITH THAT?
You didn't read the whole article, did you?

The U.S. government has known about the flaw since the U.S. campaign in Bosnia in the 1990s, current and former officials said. But the Pentagon assumed local adversaries wouldn't know how to exploit it, the officials said.
 

ElFenix

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Mar 20, 2000
101,424
5,497
126
If it was unencrypted or weakly encrypted I don't think it was very sophisticated. :D
they probably hired the same people sony did for the magic marker CDs

The U.S. government has known about the flaw since the U.S. campaign in Bosnia in the 1990s, current and former officials said. But the Pentagon assumed local adversaries wouldn't know how to exploit it, the officials said.
security through obscurity! might as well run these things off some PDP-11s, bet no one in the 3rd world has one of those!
 
Last edited:

BuckNaked

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,213
0
76
I imagine the typical AQ or Taliban fighter is not equipped with the 'hardware' necessary to capture the video feed.

Let's face it, they are largely illiterate, and most likely lack the skills to conquer even a MS operating system.

This is an issue in more urban terrain such as the cities in Iraq where an individual with the right hardware and infrastructure could capture the signal real-time.

But what are they going to do with it?

Get on their phone and say, "Achmed, Predator at your six!" Not a good plan.

Better yet, how silly will that terrorist look when he captures
a dozen 6-week old videos re-broadcast with a current time stamp? Ooops.

Improvise, Adapt and Overcome --- it's what the US does best. I don't doubt that we are now using this to our advantage.



-
Just by capturing and watching the video, seeing the capabilities of the UAV, and possibly reverse engineering the tactics and techniques used to get the UAV in place to observe undetected, give the enemy the ability to counter that avenue of surveillance... so just having the video is significant, and doesn't have to be something they would only use in real time to benefit from...
 

cwjerome

Diamond Member
Sep 30, 2004
4,345
24
81
This is neither Obama nor Bush's fault really, but somebody high up at DOD should get fired for this, just a common sense failure here.
It's a "failure" that has pretty much been known about but wasn't considered an issue because an enemy would be hard pressed to exploit the problem. Temporary issue, easily fixed.

Time to roll out some honey pots and some false feeds. I'm sure it will be easy enough to overwhelm the local airwaves with false feeds. An interesting frequency hopping routine could be set up so that the video feeds hopped between false feeds and real feeds or even a stegonographic approach where the real feed has to be filtered out of the false feed.

The article starts out correctly stating that the signals (unencrypted) were 'intercepted.' Then they change it to a more involved technology of 'hacking' into the signals. This is one of the situations of inexperienced reporters creating a 'sales' story and an unsuspecting public eating it up. Every time you turn on your TV you are 'intercepting' the signals transmitted. It would be an issue IF hacking were occurring on an encrypted signal...
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,872
4,214
126
Is that really a huge concern? I used to work for a company that makes proprietary encryption (software and hardware) and one of the clients is our military. I know their devices are used in the field.
Since you seem to be the one with the most practical experience with this sort of thing, how hard is this to fix?
 

PJABBER

Diamond Member
Feb 8, 2001
4,822
0
0
Just out of curiosity, and I apologize in advance if you have, but have you earned the ability to associate yourself with the SAS crest?
This should be good.

(I can't stick around for the reply but will check back in a few days to see if one was forthcoming.)
 

EagleKeeper

Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
Staff member
Oct 30, 2000
42,591
5
0
Since you seem to be the one with the most practical experience with this sort of thing, how hard is this to fix?
Each unit will have to be taken out of service.
Install some hew hardware & software
Retested.

Then the people on the ground will have to have new updated equipment issued that will handle the encryption.

It will be more expensive also if the ground units have to handle both conditions until ALL airborne units are retrofitted. The ground units will either have to carry two systems or the modified system has to support both types

Time and money.

Such does not jive with the philosophy of getting it out the door on the original contract price and deadlines.

This has exposed a flaw that people knew and wanted to bury because of pressures. The low risk was not compatible with the extra cost.
 

her209

No Lifer
Oct 11, 2000
56,352
9
0
U.S. enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan have used off-the-shelf programs to intercept video feeds from Predator unmanned aircraft.
Sounds like a great program (pun intended) to catch and/or locate terrorists.
 

xj0hnx

Diamond Member
Dec 18, 2007
9,262
3
76
Just by capturing and watching the video, seeing the capabilities of the UAV, and possibly reverse engineering the tactics and techniques used to get the UAV in place to observe undetected, give the enemy the ability to counter that avenue of surveillance... so just having the video is significant, and doesn't have to be something they would only use in real time to benefit from...
UAVs aren't some new, or mystical technology over there. Having video of flight paths is not really significant as they change, and the battlefield is constantly evolving over there. Google Earth had images of FOBs that anyone that had been inside of could point out what was what. UAVs are just one tool, and one that has many applications, and this was fixed a while ago.
 

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