Skip to comments.US Navy buys Linux to guide drone fleet
Posted on 06/11/2012 4:46:39 AM PDT by ShadowAce
The US Navy has signed off on a $27,883,883 contract from military contractor Raytheon to install Linux ground control software for its fleet of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drones.
The contract covers the Naval Air Station at Patuxent River in Maryland, which has already spent $5,175,075 beginning to install Linux systems. The no-bid contract was awarded to finish the work and get the Navy's drone fleet fully operational using a Linux backbone.
The Navy's only listed VTOL drone is the Northrup-Grumman MQ8B Fire Scout, which is designed to be carried by frigates and to provide electro-optical and infrared reconnaissance over a range of 110 miles, while allowing five hours on station. The Navy plans a fleet of 168 of the drones; some are currently deployed scouting-out drug shipments in the Caribbean, but can also be fitted 70mm rockets as needed for other missions.
US Navy Fire Scout scouts and fires
While the US military has been a growing user of Linux, the contract might also have something to do with the swabbies learning from the mistakes made by the flyboys and girls in the US Air Force. After a malware attack on the Air Force's Windows-based drone-control system last year, there has been a wholesale move to Linux for security reasons.
"If I would need to select between Windows XP and a Linux based system while building a military system, I wouldn't doubt a second which one I would take," F-Secure's security researcher Mikko Hypponen pointed out at the time.
As for those worried over GPL licensing, the US Department of Defense is well ahead of you. The DOD has already issued guidelines on the use of open source code in its systems, and says the matter is in hand.
"The US government can directly combine GPL and proprietary/classified software into a single program arbitrarily, as long as the result is never conveyed outside the U.S. government, but this approach should not be taken lightly," it states. "When taking this approach, contractors hired to modify the software must not retain copyright or other rights to the result (else the software would be conveyed outside the US government.) ®
Funny. I thought Linux was free...
To “install” Linux?
Where they already developed code on Windoze?
Open Source = Snack for Hackers. When are we ever going to learn. It is impossible to secure Linux because everyone worldwide has the source code.
Linux has a whole different model/theory of security than Windows does.
Windows started out life as a single-user OS, running on single-user machines. This was fine as long as the machine was not connected to a network. Linux, however, started out as a multi-user OS for multi-user machines. The whole theory of separating processes and users into their own space on the machine is built-in and a core part of the OS. This means that any process started on a Linux computer is confined to the space of the user account it is running as.
Windows doesn't have that separation as an innate part of the OS. It was built in afterwards and is still not as good as *nix-based systems.
...hackers don't waste their time w/ Linux because of the small population of users?
Linux runs on more systems, with higher amounts of responsibility, than Windows does. Getting into a Linux-based system would be a huge win for crackers.
Absolutely incorrect. In fact, that is so incorrect, you cannot get any more incorrect.
Check out how PGP works for an example.
So where did you get your computer science degree?
Oh, you don't have one?
You just "know" things?
You and Ubama have a lot in common.
The fact that the source code is available around the world is part of why Linux is secure. Nowhere for security flaws to hide. Remember security by obscurity isn’t actual security.
/lost of n00b on this thread.
Funny. You are joking, right? Whew. I thought so. Besides the superior security model,a linux system is the most flexible platform for building any enterprise class application. While I do love the rock solid platform that we are using (AIX) I lobby for a linux platform regularly.
“It is impossible to secure Linux because everyone worldwide has the source code.”
Are you kidding? Security by obscurity is a terrible model and going with Windows because of this is a terrible idea. Open Source allows the flexibility to create almost any level of security you need in an embedded system.
mikey_hates_everything is correct.
So, you're a member of the "security through obscurity" camp? :)
The pertinent question to ask (and I don't know the answer) is, does the US military employ well-known or proprietary algorithms for encryption. It's the same principle.
you can still pick up malware with Linux , it will not affect you , but you can pass the malware to a windows user LOL
And Linux with SeLinux enabled should be very well suited for military applications.
Of course I'm just a former NASA engineer with a CISSP cert - so what do I know??? :)
Must be a site license with some insane level of support.
Without getting to technical the UNIX operating system is more inherently stable and less susceptible to attack because every application runs in its own memory space which limits the damage that can be done to the OS. Having said that if you can get the root password the system is wide open. Getting the root password would require human intelligence/bribery.
Another overlooked source of UNIX success is that UNIX system programming requires a hight caliber of developer/admin than is normally required for windows due to UNIX's sophistication.
This is something that the pointy haired manager would say.
LOL- that's fun to imagine. It's the IT support equivalent of the guarding of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Routine trouble ticket SLAs breach within minutes- critical ones within seconds.
While still on active duty in 1994 and serving at a 3 letter agency, we mostly used SunOS transitioning to Solaris; however, they squints started reviewing the Linux codebase. That eventually became SeLinux. Since I have been on the retired list for a while, I can't speak authoritatively about the contractors' activities. My guess is that they are working to incorporate there parts into a beefed up SeLinux as well as locking down all the processes. They probably still need to resolve differences in their efforts and often disparate databases used for support and input.
You can't just grab a copy of Ubuntu or RedHat, install software and go. As I said the codebase must be reviewed, the network must be "blessed", and user management must be certified. Another problem is input/output management. Most PCs and laptops are designed for one person, and miniscule IO. Mainframes and large minis may not have had a blazingly fast processors, but they could handle massive IO.
What is Active X....?
If everybody has source code....how can a backdoor of code be snuk in to the open source code?
My suprised what.