How to Take Down a Military Drone Without Firing a Shot

Thursday, April 30, 2015 14:12

drone wikimedia

There is a fundamental law of warfare that no member of any conventional military wants to admit to. For every million dollar weapon, somewhere out there, perhaps waiting to be discovered, is a $10 countermeasure. The more expensive and sophisticated the device, the more vulnerable it is to dirt cheap exploits. But they don’t want to think about that. The military-industrial-complex thinks in terms of money. If there’s a threat, they throw money at it until it goes away, which usually winds up creating boondoggles that get exploited in the most embarrassing ways.

There are numerous examples of this happening throughout history. My personal favorite, is the molotov cocktail. When Russia invaded Finland in 1939, they poured over the border with thousands of tanks. The Finns soon discovered that if they lobbed molotov cocktails into the ventilation system of a tank, it would quickly ignite the fuel and ammunition supply, and utterly destroy the tank and its crew.

See what I mean? That’s a $10 solution to a million dollar problem (roughly speaking).

The reason why I’m bringing this up, is to illustrate a problem with the mindset of our own military. They love high-tech gadgets. We have the most technologically advanced military on the planet, and they carry the most sophisticated equipment. Which means that from time to time, our enemies find horrendous flaws in our weapons, that allow them to disable these systems at a fraction of the cost it took us to build them.

The information necessary to hack a military drone is freely available to the public, in academic publications and online documents, according to an Israeli defense manufacturer.

One such paper was published just a month before Iran claimed it downed a CIA stealth drone in 2011, Esti Peshin said Monday at the Defensive Cyberspace Operations and Intelligence conference in Washington DC. Peshin is the director of cyber programs for Israel Aerospace Industries.

2011 study, titled “The Requirements for Successful GPS Spoofing Attacks,” explains how to fool GPS sensors like those in drones by mimicking GPS signals.

There’s no way to know, Peshin said, if this report in fact directly informed the Iranians, but it does go to show how easily available this information is.

In case you’re wondering what “spoofing” is, it’s a cheap method (relatively speaking) of hacking GPS. All you need to do is build a device that emits a GPS signal with slightly more power than what is emitted by our satellites. The targeted system then receives the alternate signal instead of the genuine one. You can then change the course of the target by manipulating the GPS data. The threat this poses was demonstrated two years ago, when a team of researchers used a $3,000 device to hack an $80,000,000 ship. Check it out.

Supposedly, the military has fixed these weaknesses, but it’s hard to say whether or not hackers will be able to work around them in the future. If anything, the threats posed to our absurdly expensive weapons have grown as time goes on.

In 2009 it was discovered that Iraqi insurgents had figured out how to hack the camera feeds of our drones, and view the video feed for themselves. They pulled this off with a commercially available software program called Skygrabber, which at the time cost $26. The US military had known that their satellite signals were unencrypted since the early 90’s, but did nothing to fix it until after they were hacked.

It just goes to show you that global superpowers like the United States are not as invincible as they seem. They think that every problem they face has a dollar sign next to it, and that they can use technology to bully and spy on everyone that gets in their way. In fact, they seem to be under the impression that they will be able to dominate the future with automated war machines, and ignore the humans that won’t go along with it. In reality, they’re going face stiff resistance from people who know to take down their flying boondoggles for pennies on the dollar.

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple

Contributed by Joshua Krause of The Daily Sheeple.

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