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US spy drone hijacked with GPS spoof hack, report says

Welshtaff 2011/12/20 16:07:54

Electronic warfare comes of age – in Iran

by Dan Goodin in San Francisco

The US stealth drone broadcast last week on Iranian state television was captured by spoofing its GPS coordinates, a hack that tricked the bird into landing in Iranian territory
instead of where it was programmed to touch down, The Christian Science Monitor reported.

The 1700-word article cited an unnamed Iranian engineer who said he's studying the inner workings of the American bat-wing RQ-170 Sentinel that recently went missing over Iranian airspace. He said the spoofing technique made the craft “land on its own where we wanted it to, without having to crack the remote-control signals and
communications” from the US control center.

CSM reporter Scott Peterson and an Iranian journalist publishing under the pen name Payam Faramarzi said the GPS weakness of aircraft has long been known to US military officials. They cited a 2003 report titled GPS Spoofing Countermeasures that appears to warn of the type of attack claimed by the Iranian engineer.

“A more pernicious attack involves feeding the GPS receiver fake GPS signals
for that it believes it is located somewhere in space and time that it is not,”
the report states. “This 'spoofing' attack is more elegant than jamming because is surreptitious.”

paper (PDF) presented at a security conference in October further elaborated on GPS spoofing attacks, laying out the ingredients necessary for a “seamless takeover” of drones and other airborne vehicles.

US officials have blamed the loss of the sophisticated drone on a malfunction, but have yet to explain how it managed to stay in relatively pristine condition after its recovery by the Iranians.

The past 36 months, Iran has suffered a series of setbacks that some analysts blame on a covert war carried out by the US, Israel, or other adversaries. The recent assassinations of its nuclear scietists, explosions at missile and industrial facilities, and the Stuxnet worm that sabotaged uranium enrichment plants are three examples.

“Now this engineer's account of how Iran took over one of America's most
sophisticated drones suggests Tehran has found a way to hit back,” the CSM article states. ®

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Top Opinion

  • Welshtaff 2011/12/20 16:11:01
    Welshtaff
    +4
    I thought these US drones would have a self destuct mechanism if got into the wrong hands. Maybe we should have just given them the plans and secrets of the drone. Will they or China copy it and use it against the United States of America?

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  • uguess 2012/05/12 16:21:39
  • Pegasis 2011/12/21 08:09:54
    Pegasis
    +2
    The US continues to deny this is a result of a cyberattack. I have begun to believe differently, but would still prefer some honesty from our government.
  • Spider20 2011/12/21 07:14:34
    Spider20
    +2
    Shouldn't happen....
  • Dagon 2011/12/21 02:05:34
  • WhereIsAmerica? ~PWCM~JLA 2011/12/21 01:33:27
    WhereIsAmerica? ~PWCM~JLA
    +3
    This is inexcusable.
  • Patriot Unit 2011/12/20 19:20:25
    Patriot Unit
    +3
    Yes, and it is my understanding, that the controllers, had no clue where it was. I still think it should have been destroyed, or followed down by a hellfire missile.
  • S. Gompers 2011/12/20 16:19:00
    S. Gompers
    +2
    They been hacking our drones for years for $29.95, and we have known about it. Apparently they are improving their skills at it. Meanwhile accolades, promotions, and bonuses abound at the industrial military complex.

    http://online.wsj.com/article...
  • Welshtaff 2011/12/20 16:16:04 (edited)
    Welshtaff
    +3
    U.S. drone crashes in Seychelles:


    VICTORIA (Reuters) - A U.S. drone aircraft crashed at Seychelles International Airport on Tuesday, the U.S. embassy in Mauritius said.



    "A U.S. Air Force remote-piloted MQ-9 crashed at the Seychelles International Airport in Mahe. The MQ-9 was not armed and no injuries were reported," the embassy said in a statement.



    The Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA) confirmed the incident and said that the plane was on a "routine patrol" and had crashed because of mechanical failure.



    The U.S. embassy did not comment on the plane's mission and said that the cause of the crash was unknown.



    Iran announced on December 4 it had downed a U.S. drone in the eastern part of the country, near Afghanistan. It has since shown the plane on television and said it is close to cracking its technological secrets.



    http://www.reuters.com/articl...


    (Reporting by George Thande; Writing by Barry Malone)
  • Welshtaff 2011/12/20 16:11:01
    Welshtaff
    +4
    I thought these US drones would have a self destuct mechanism if got into the wrong hands. Maybe we should have just given them the plans and secrets of the drone. Will they or China copy it and use it against the United States of America?
  • motherg... Welshtaff 2011/12/21 10:41:42
    mothergoose706
    +1
    Your right according to the military channel that is exactly what is supposed to happen to them ........I personally believe that that Drone was just handed over for whatever reason and OUR Government has put out this story to cover there own Butts...But Thats just my thoughts....

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