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U.S. Military Drones Hacked With $26 Commercial Software

U.S. Military Drones Hacked With $26 Commercial Software
Years of top secret R&D and millions of dollars of military hardware has been thwarted -- by a $26 program you can buy on the Internet. Insurgents in Iraq have figured out how to use off the shelf software to intercept video feeds from unmanned drones, like the Predator, on the battlefield.

Yesterday, Lt. Gen. David Deptula announced that this summer, American military personnel found laptops with days' worth of footage, snatched from drones that were streaming back to military control centers. Furthermore, it was evident that insurgents had shared the video with other extremist groups, providing valuable intelligence to those looking to defeat the U.S. military effort in the country. The vulnerability lies in an unencrypted video link that sends the footage back to ground control, which the enemy has been able to intercept using programs such as SkyGrabber. The military is working to secure and encrypt all data feeds between operators on the ground and the unmanned craft, but why designers didn't think to include that basic level of security from the beginning isn't clear.

Thankfully insurgents haven't managed to gain any interactive access to the craft, but the video feeds alone could provide important information about American military movements and tactics. With the large amount of Predators being deployed to Afghanistan by the administration, the military must work quickly before enemy fighters learn how to use the same tricks to take control of the drones. [From: Wall Street Journal]

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