Hijacking drones - it's very easy to doSubmitted by Ian56 on Sun, 10/07/2012 - 12:14
Computer hardware and software companies have been asking hackers to break into their systems for years now. After all, the best way to find cracks in your system is to have an unaffiliated party point them out for you.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has adopted this tactic, asking a team of researchers at the University of Texas at Austin to hijack one of their infamous drones.
The team, led by professor Todd Humphreys, was offered $1,000 if they could successfully hack into a drone flying overhead and hijack it to fly off its course. With less than $1,000 worth of parts, Humphreys and his team from the UT Radionavigation Laboratory were able to “spoof” the GPS on the Drone and take it off its course, sending it hurtling towards the ground, pulling up just before collision, thus shining a glaring light on a potential security flaw in the drone’s technology. If a gaggle of researchers with a few hundred dollars can do it, then specially trained hackers with their government’s cash can certainly do the same, if not worse.
Spoofing a GPS system essentially tricks it into thinking the commands it is receiving are legitimate, rather than malicious. Once Humphrey’s convinced the GPS his commands weren’t amiss, he was able to control it to do whatever he wanted.