Sunday, November 3, 2013

Texas Students Hijack US Military Drone in Mid Air

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When the Department of Homeland security makes bets with the civilian population, perhaps they shouldn’t offer college students $1000. In Austin, Texas, College students said they would take that bet and they did. Texas College Students hijacked a US Military Predator Drone in mid-air in front of DHS!The University of Texas came into it saying that they not only could do it, but that it had been done before. We have seen the reports from Iran that they used a technique to do what they call “spoofing” to bring down a RQ-170 spy plane of the United States and put it on Display.
When the US Government and DHS put up the challenge to see if it could be done for less than $1000 to prove it was false, I guess they had forgotten what we in Texas call “Red Neck Ingenuity”.
From Popular Science and RT:
A group of researchers led by Professor Todd Humphreys from the University of Texas at Austin Radio navigation Laboratory recently succeeded in raising the eyebrows of the US government. With just around $1,000 in parts, Humphreys’ team took control of an unmanned aerial vehicle owned by the college, all in front of the US Department of Homeland Security.
After being challenged by his lab, the DHS dared Humphreys’ crew to hack into a drone and take command. Much to their chagrin, they did exactly that.
Humphrey tells Fox News that for a few hundreds dollar his team was able to “spoof” the GPS system on board the drone, a technique that involves mimicking the actual signals sent to the global positioning device and then eventually tricking the target into following a new set of commands. And, for just $1,000, Humphreys says the spoofer his team assembled was the most advanced one ever built.
“Spoofing a GPS receiver on a UAV is just another way of hijacking a plane,” Humphreys tells Fox. The real danger here, however, is that the government is currently considering plans that will allow local law enforcement agencies and other organizations from coast-to-coast to control drones of their own in America’s airspace.
“In five or ten years you have 30,000 drones in the airspace,” he tells Fox News. “Each one of these could be a potential missile used against us.”
Domestic drones are already being used by the DHS and other governmental agencies, and several small-time law enforcement groups have accumulated UAVs of their own as they await clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration. Indeed, by 2020 there expects to be tens of thousands of drones diving and dipping through US airspace. With that futuristic reality only a few years away, Humphreys’ experiment suggests that the FAA may have their work cut out for them if they think it’s as easy as just approving domestic use anytime soon. After all, reports Newser, domestic drones are likely to use the same unencrypted GPS signals provided to civilians, allowing seemingly anyone with $1,000 and the right research to hack into the system and harness a UAV for their own personal use.
“What if you could take down one of these drones delivering FedEx packages and use that as your missile?” Humphreys asks. “That’s the same mentality the 9-11 attackers had,”

Iran US RQ-170 spy plane: via @youtube

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