4 votes

Hijacking drones - it's very easy to do


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.

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Slow, low flying drones are

Slow, low flying drones are not really much of a threat to "governments with cash" to begin with. The Pakistanis under siege say, they hear the drones flying over them constantly. Even rudimentary anti air defenses would be enough to shoot them down as long as you can see/hear/locate them. And while high tech stealth, cool exhaust engines etc. makes this harder, it also makes the darned drones much more expensive and sensitive, hence risky, to deploy.

Instead, drones are effective only against largely civilian populations, who aren't armed properly. Which is why Obama likes using them to blow up kids in villages, rather than fortified "bad guys'" armies in north Korea, Syria and Iran.

This illustrates the

This illustrates the potential for massive problems with autonomous driverless vehicles and planes.

Driverless cars need not be

Driverless cars need not be any more dependent on GPS than human driven cars are on it. It is just a navigation tool. And, in honesty, neither does flying drones. But making the drones dependent on only GPS as a positioning aid, is infinitely simpler and cheaper than having them read the terrain the way an experienced pilot with a cockpit full of overlapping aids would.

Anyone with Money can build a Drone

and the Drone can be used to attack leaders of nations. I viewed an interview of Daniel Suarez who wrote "Kill Decision" and he warned that Drones can be easily built by anyone with enough money and also be programmed to attack anyone. That means EVERYONE is vulnerable.

"With enough of us, around the world, we’ll not just send a strong message opposing the privatization of knowledge — we’ll make it a thing of the past." ~ Aaron Swartz

Perfect! Just as it should

Perfect! Just as it should be!

If the people are vulnerable to Obamas drones, so should Obama be to the peoples drones. Symmetry is always and everywhere a good thing in power and military relations.