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Author Topic: Unbelievable: Insurgents Tap Into Drones Feeds  (Read 3163 times)
Rattler
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« on: 27 December 2009, 06:26:31 »
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Yes, you read right: Iraqui and probably Afghan Insrugency taps the US Drones´feeds, by simply aiming a sat dish at them.

Noah Schachtman has a interesting article in Danger Room with some vid material of feeds about what could be the biggest security hole in ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The for me unbelievable part: It was known by US officials since the Bosnia operations, 10 years ago, and obviously did not get fixed since then.

Quote from: Noah Schachtman
In Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military depends on an array of drones to snoop on and stalk insurgents. Now it looks as if insurgents are tapping into those same drones’ broadcasts, to see what the flying robot spies see. If true — and widespread — it’s potentially one of the most serious military security breaches in years.

“U.S. military personnel in Iraq discovered the problem late last year when they apprehended a Shiite militant whose laptop contained files of intercepted drone video feeds,” Wall Street Journal reports. “In July, the U.S. military found pirated drone video feeds on other militant laptops, leading some officials to conclude that militant groups trained and funded by Iran were regularly intercepting feeds.”

-snip-

According to the Journal, militants have exploited a weakness: The data links between the drone and the ground control station were never encrypted. Which meant that pretty much anyone could tap into the overhead surveillance that many commanders feel is America’s most important advantage in its two wars. Pretty much anyone could intercept the feeds of the drones that are the focal point for the secret U.S. war in Pakistan.

Using cheap, downloadable programs like SkyGrabber, militants were apparently able to watch and record the video feed — and potentially be tipped off when U.S. and coalition forces are stalking them. The $26 software was originally designed to let users download movies and songs off of the internet. Turns out, the program lets you nab Predator drone feeds just as easily as pirated copies of "The Hangover".

-snip-

If you think militants are going to be content to just observe spy drone feeds, it’s time to reconsider. “Folks are not merely going to listen/watch what we do when they intercept the feeds, but also start to conduct ‘battles of persuasion’; that is, hacking with the intent to disrupt or change the content, or even ‘persuade’ the system to do their own bidding,” Peter Singer, author of Wired for War, tells Danger Room.

This has long been the nightmare scenario within Pentagon cybersecurity circles: a hacker not looking to take down the military grid, but to exploit it for his own purposes. How does a soldier trust an order, if he doesn’t know who else is listening — or who gave the order, in the first place? “For a sophisticated adversary, it’s to his advantage to keep your network up and running. He can learn what you know. He can cause confusion, delay your response times — and shape your actions,” one Defense Department cybersecurity official tells Danger Room.


A disaster if true, and more so as it looks it will take a long time to fix.:

According to officials they cannot encrypt the sgnals for various reaons: Other NATO forces depend on the feeds and cannot decrypt them should US encrypt them, and decryption needs to prep the ground stations to read the feeds.

Still, from my POV this is like allowing eney to listen to your BN nets or read your OPORDS.

Another FUBAR of the most technically advanced army of the world, and strangely foreseeable.

Rattler
« Last Edit: 27 December 2009, 07:30:24 by Rattler » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: 27 December 2009, 16:45:07 »
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While the intercept of the unencrypted feeds is inconvenient, in that the subjects of surveillance may be aware of them, I believe the actual control of the drones uses an encrypted system. The continued upgrading and protecting of this encryption is vitally important and I have no doubt it is under constant improvement for the very reasons cited in the attached quote. The fact alone that the targets may be aware of the surveillance should cause them some considerable discomfort and require of them a continuous change of venue, lest they fall prey to the drones. In my mind this alone makes their continued use worthwhile until a method of concealing these feeds is developed.

 my2c
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stoffel
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« Reply #2 on: 27 December 2009, 17:44:42 »
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It clearly shows the way some designers think towards moslims(or third world) countries.
Simple foolish peasants without any knowledge...hence why should you use security.
Security measures cost money, why spend extra money on  simple peasants;)
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FACman
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« Reply #3 on: 27 December 2009, 18:21:19 »
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Aye, it is never a good idea to underestimate ones opponents. One does so only at their own peril.
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Rattler
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« Reply #4 on: 27 December 2009, 19:36:25 »
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got commemts, but they will have to wapt a day or two or three, RL itw... Just basically, FACman, I think you do not realize the magnitude of the problem, sorry if I do not go into details now, but those guys *use* the feeds not only to evade strikes, but to mislead forces, formerly called "coalitiion forces", by feeding them contradictory or misleading impressions as facts.

Rattler
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the_13th_redneck
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« Reply #5 on: 10 April 2010, 05:03:04 »
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Actually this is not new news.  I was aware of this months before but didn't post it due to OPSEC reasons.  But now that the cat's out of the bag...
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Geordie
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« Reply #6 on: 27 May 2010, 21:33:48 »
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Ive known about this since I was in Kosovo in 2000-01.  Its how the video picture is transmitted, which often uses systems that arent secure.

The carrier isnt always military an there are a few stories that guys that were hunted in Kosovo, Bosnia that got away because they were tipped of through live feeds.
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