US drones hacked by insurgents

Posted by Nigel Constantine

Insurgents in Iraq have worked out how to hack into the live video feeds from unmanned American drone aircraft.

Apparently the Shia fighters can pop to the shops and buy off-the-shelf software programs such as SkyGrabber to capture the footage.

Until now, the US army thought that the opposition was too dim to gain access to their remotely flown planes and did not bother to protect the communications link.

However, by getting access to the video feeds the insurgents can guess the sites the military might be planning to target.

SkyGrabber is software that grabs data being broadcast by satellites and acts as a radio for data feeds and lets people tune into different data streams as they might radio stations. It eavesdrops on all the data being downloaded over a link and turns it back into whole files.

A US Department of Defense official said the military has also found evidence of at least one instance where insurgents in Afghanistan monitored drone video and footage shot by a Predator drone which was found on a captured laptop.

At the moment the Pentagon says there is no evidence that they were able to jam electronic signals from the aircraft or take control of them yet, but knowing where they are and if they are coming is a start.