Rebels Hijack DHS DroneSeptember 26th, 2012
Ok, maybe it’s frivolous to call them “rebels,” but if they are not motivated by rebelliousness certain those who imitate them will be. A group of researchers led by Professor Todd Humphreys from the University of Texas at Austin Radio navigation Laboratory recently devised a way to hijack an Unmanned Aerial Drone.
It reminds me something a police officer told me once. He said, in a brawl he always uses overwhelming force because if he loses a fist fight the suspect may steal the weapon he’s carrying. Expand that logic, and the State is in a fist fight with hackers, and so they must use overwhelming force against all of us.
The Department of Homeland Security challenged Humphrey’s crew to hack into a standard drone and take command of it’s operation. They did this with less that $1,000 in spare parts.
The researchers were able to “spoof” the GPS system on board the drone. The technique involves mimicking the signals sent to the global positioning device and then tricking the target into following different orders.
If you consider the fact that civilian police departments are already using drones to carry out their investigations, it only stands to reason that the logic of overwhelming force will be applied to drones by the very people applying it not to fist fights. If hackers can win a fist fight with a drone… I guess it won’t be long before they steal one. And Humphrey sees it coming. He said:
“In five or ten years you have 30,000 drones in (US) airspace. Each one of these could be a potential missile used against us.”
$1,000 isn’t a bad price tag for your own personal drone. But someone of ill motive wouldn’t even have to take possession of the drone. If it’s as easy as interrupting the navigational signal and giving it new coordinants, a drone is instantly a missile.
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