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Texas Students Hijack a U.S. Government Drone in Midair
PopSci ^ | June 28, 2012 | Colin Lecher

Posted on 06/30/2012 3:44:32 AM PDT by 6SJ7

The U.S. government, understandably, doesn't want its drone technology to fall out of the sky and into other peoples' laps. But being able to hijack a drone and control it? That's even worse. And a team of researchers has done it for 1,000 bucks.

The University of Texas at Austin team successfully nabbed the drone on a dare from the Department of Homeland Security. They managed to do it through spoofing, a technique where a signal from hackers pretends to be the same as one sent to the drone's GPS.

(Excerpt) Read more at popsci.com ...


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: drone; government; hijack; surveillance
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Who will watch the watchers?
1 posted on 06/30/2012 3:44:45 AM PDT by 6SJ7
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To: 6SJ7

Must have taken their cue from the Iranians.


2 posted on 06/30/2012 3:46:43 AM PDT by TADSLOS (The Liberty Experiment is over. All aspects of your life will now be MANDATED.)
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To: 6SJ7

America needs a spoof device freely available at Radio Shack, to ensure that the Federal Government leaves the privacy of THE PEOPLE intact.

Drones should only be used in war abroad, outside the USA.


3 posted on 06/30/2012 3:47:45 AM PDT by Candor7 (Obama fascism article: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/barack_obama_the_quintessentia_1.html)
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To: 6SJ7

This is the best news I’ve heard all week.


4 posted on 06/30/2012 3:48:22 AM PDT by papertyger ("And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if..."))
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To: 6SJ7

And hackers will hijack the IRS penalty collection from Americans and will redistribute the funds to worthwhile charities.

They still think they are superior, they still think they can govern America like a third world country.

Guess what baby, you just kicked over the alarm clock and woke up the baby, and that kids pretty darn smart.

You won’t see this in Britain, Australia, Italy or even China.

But it WILL happen in America.

may all their drones fall from the sky or be flown back into their faces.


5 posted on 06/30/2012 3:50:44 AM PDT by Eye of Unk (Is your state Obamacare free yet?)
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To: FrogMom

Fyi


6 posted on 06/30/2012 3:53:37 AM PDT by KC Burke (Plain Conservative opinions and common sense correction for thirteen years.)
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To: 6SJ7

It would be nice if this caught on and more hackers started seizing and destroying ANY “drones” used for random surveillance of American citizens by the NAZIs in Homeland Security.

Muchas Gracias Jorge El Segundo!!!!


7 posted on 06/30/2012 3:53:48 AM PDT by ZULU (See: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=D9vQt6IXXaM&hd)
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To: 6SJ7

I am not sure that you could, even in principle, “hijack” a drone by spoofing GPS. You could confuse it, yes. Military GPS have antispoofing and antijam capabilities and I doubt that you could spoof them for anything like a thousand bucks. A truly robust navigation system would have inertial navigation as a fall back, and could either continue its mission or RTB when faced with interruption of the GPS signal.


8 posted on 06/30/2012 4:01:22 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The Democratic Party strongly supports full civil rights for necro-Americans!)
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To: ZULU

He.. he.. he... he... he... keep up the good work the elitists need to know they are as dumb as they look.


9 posted on 06/30/2012 4:03:15 AM PDT by ronnie raygun (B B)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

I have no doubts a drone can be hijacked, necessity is the mother of invention.

It was a necessity to hijack a drone, some very smart people did so.

Now if only we had the same smartness across America to bring down Obamacaretax.


10 posted on 06/30/2012 4:08:12 AM PDT by Eye of Unk (Is your state Obamacare free yet?)
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To: Eye of Unk
"...may all their drones fall from the sky or be flown back into their faces."

I was thinking of something simpler and more direct. You know. Like a couple of rounds of 7.62X54rAPI.
11 posted on 06/30/2012 4:12:59 AM PDT by shibumi (Cover it with gas and set it on fire.)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

The problem with your theory is that it didn’t know it was being spoofed to begin with. Now it will take years of research, endless government grants and how many acts of Congress to find out how they did it before they can actually be allowed to fix it. Re; the government study of the study to study the studies on the validity of studies? Reading the original story, they were able to totally take over the thing.


12 posted on 06/30/2012 4:14:02 AM PDT by mazda77 (and I am a Native Texan)
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To: shibumi

I would rather use their drones against other drones, or as intel devices “duh” against the Feds, possibly to scout internment camps? Moslem mosques?

No way I would destroy a strategic asset if I can take command over it, thats just common sense.


13 posted on 06/30/2012 4:16:57 AM PDT by Eye of Unk (Is your state Obamacare free yet?)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
They monitored, recorded, cracked the code and cloned the signal. The drone thought daddy was calling. The iranians did it with the russians supplying the equipment. Now the rooskies and iranians have our best drone tech. China has the MIRV tech that clinton gave to them and roberts just transformed America into a communist collective. Great times eh?

LLS

14 posted on 06/30/2012 4:24:56 AM PDT by LibLieSlayer (Don't Tread On Me)
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To: Eye of Unk

THAT WOULD BE THE ROBERTS/OBAMA COMMUNIST CABAL ACT OF 2012.

LLS


15 posted on 06/30/2012 4:26:38 AM PDT by LibLieSlayer (Don't Tread On Me)
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To: shibumi

I doubt you need to waste the AP on a drone.


16 posted on 06/30/2012 4:29:25 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: LibLieSlayer

You know I just had an image of a scene from Terminator Salvation, where they block the transmissions of the Cyberdyne devices and use them against Skynet.

“Cool, my own Terminator!”


17 posted on 06/30/2012 4:31:11 AM PDT by Eye of Unk (Is your state Obamacare free yet?)
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To: 6SJ7

Don’t you just love it when the Gubmint experts think they have perfected a plan, only to have a bunch of outsiders show them up?

And for cheap, too!


18 posted on 06/30/2012 4:55:25 AM PDT by plangent
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To: Eye of Unk

“may all their drones fall from the sky or be flown back into their faces.”

Amen!


19 posted on 06/30/2012 4:55:35 AM PDT by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like it)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

They are not going to say how they really hacked it in a public article and you can expect some misinformation. But we know they can be hacked and controlled.


20 posted on 06/30/2012 4:55:46 AM PDT by Mechanicos (When did we amend the Constitution for a 2nd Federal Prohibition?)
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To: 6SJ7; All
Another version of the story:

http://rt.com/usa/news/texas-1000-us-government-906/

At the end of the story you will see

Correction: this story has been modified to clarify that the drone used in the U of T experiment was not a government drone, but a UAV owned by the university.

They hijacked their own drone.

21 posted on 06/30/2012 5:04:21 AM PDT by Right Wing Assault (Dick Obama is more inexperienced now than he was before he was elected.)
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To: Candor7
America needs a spoof device freely available at Radio Shack, to ensure that the Federal Government leaves the privacy of THE PEOPLE intact.

LMAO!!! Radio Shack? Every sale they make, they want your personal information. Last time I bought a device there, they asked at the register, what I was going to be using it for, plus my name and address. You'd think I was buying cough medicine or something!

22 posted on 06/30/2012 5:04:33 AM PDT by Lady Lucky (If you believe what you're saying, quit making taxable income. Starve the beast.)
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To: 6SJ7

Most disconcerting news. Countermeasures anyone?


23 posted on 06/30/2012 5:08:44 AM PDT by SueRae (See it? Hell, I can TASTE November from my house!)
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To: CodeToad

ping


24 posted on 06/30/2012 5:10:06 AM PDT by Travis McGee (www.EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)
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To: Lady Lucky

Radio Shack? What a joke. It is a cell phone and battery store.

They have very few electronics parts these days. Just a couple little cabinets with randomly chosen parts jammed into drawers that are too small.

When you check out, the first thing they say is, “Need any batteries?”

- No, thank you.

“Can I interest you in a cell phone?”

- No, thanks. I already have five of them.

“How about another?”

At this point I just stop talking.


25 posted on 06/30/2012 5:10:24 AM PDT by Right Wing Assault (Dick Obama is more inexperienced now than he was before he was elected.)
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To: 6SJ7

If drones are so easy to hack...drones will be rendered useless

Which is good for Americans, because drones should not be used to spy on US citizens. They should be used only when a truly national security matter is involved


26 posted on 06/30/2012 5:11:28 AM PDT by SeminoleCounty (Sad....George Zimmerman is in jail for rightfully defending himself...while Eric Holder walks free)
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To: mazda77

Most people don’t realize that ANYTHING the government produces as far as technology is at least 10 years behind the latest technology.

Its due to the huge bureaucratic pile of regulations, paperwork, delays in funding, and all other factors that turn any governmental technical procurement into a “turtle.”

Most importantly, palms must be properly “greased” before any final action is taken.


27 posted on 06/30/2012 5:12:21 AM PDT by DH (Once the tainted finger of government touches anything the rot begins)
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To: Candor7

Now what the feds will do is have Congress pass a law stating that it is illegal to spoof a drone, and think that fixes the problem. This is exactly what they did with the Electronic Communications Privacy Act that supposedly “fixed” the problem of people using ordinary scanners from Radio Shack to listen to analog cell phone calls.

The real solution came from technical innovation, and that’s what will eventually happen with drones, too.


28 posted on 06/30/2012 5:20:34 AM PDT by bigbob
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To: DH

You are correct only in so much as the stuff that is known. From my experience as a member of the crypto team at the Electronic Proving Grounds from 74-76, I can tell you that in that time, we were way beyond what was known to the public.


29 posted on 06/30/2012 5:25:45 AM PDT by mazda77 (and I am a Native Texan)
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To: Right Wing Assault
Radio Shack? What a joke. It is a cell phone and battery store.

Then I went to the right place. I was buying cell phones. :)

30 posted on 06/30/2012 5:38:09 AM PDT by Lady Lucky (If you believe what you're saying, quit making taxable income. Starve the beast.)
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To: 6SJ7

Spoofing. It used to be called Meaconing.


31 posted on 06/30/2012 5:40:29 AM PDT by ops33 (Senior Master Sergeant, USAF (Retired))
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To: 6SJ7

How long before some techie libtard uses this to swat congress?


32 posted on 06/30/2012 6:12:18 AM PDT by Hardraade (http://junipersec.wordpress.com (nobody gives me warheads anyway))
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To: Eye of Unk

Can the IRS be spoofed and / or hacked?


33 posted on 06/30/2012 6:13:28 AM PDT by WildHighlander57 ((WildHighlander57 returning after lurking since 2000))
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To: Hardraade
How long before some techie libtard uses this to swat congress?

A cross between an ultralight and a radio controlled model airplane...loaded with C4.

34 posted on 06/30/2012 6:17:48 AM PDT by ROCKLOBSTER (Celebrate Republicans Freed the Slaves Month.)
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To: 6SJ7
I'm waiting for the home version for drone reduction:


35 posted on 06/30/2012 6:18:52 AM PDT by nascarnation
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To: Travis McGee

If the drone is using the non-encrypted GPS signals then the students send a stronger GPS signal to the drone that causes the drone not to be in their command but to think it is someplace else. However, such a stunt is not only illegal as Hell as any aircraft in the area also experienced the errant GPS signals, but this technique doesn’t work on military drones. They don’t use the same GPS signals. I am suprised to hear the DHS uses drones without GPS encryption, which calls into question their actual success.


36 posted on 06/30/2012 6:23:51 AM PDT by CodeToad (Homosexuals are homophobes. They insist on being called 'gay' instead.)
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To: Eye of Unk
"Now if only we had the same smartness across America to bring down Obama caretax.
37 posted on 06/30/2012 6:26:03 AM PDT by varon (The Patriots stand watch!)
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To: Right Wing Assault; Travis McGee

“Correction: this story has been modified to clarify that the drone used in the U of T experiment was not a government drone, but a UAV owned by the university.

They hijacked their own drone. “

And there is your answer.


38 posted on 06/30/2012 6:26:37 AM PDT by CodeToad (Homosexuals are homophobes. They insist on being called 'gay' instead.)
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To: 6SJ7

I’d do it for half that.


39 posted on 06/30/2012 6:51:35 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (they have no god but caesar)
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To: 6SJ7
Like I said before, with parts from Radio Shack you build a broadband RF white noise transmitter. It'll jam the GPS receiver on the drone.
40 posted on 06/30/2012 7:02:48 AM PDT by Traveler59 ( Truth is a journey, not a destination.)
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To: mazda77; Lonesome in Massachussets
These are not autonomous platforms. There are operators that “fly” the platform and operators that control the sensors.

Spoofing GPS is not hard, but to do so and get past two humans in direct contact is almost impossible.

So, yes, the operators knew it was being spoofed.

Additionally, INS (internal guidance) is a back-up.

Can't “hack” the UAV/RPV command link. Would need NSA-grade crypto-crackers.

So, watching GPS jamming/spoofing is an interesting exercise in technology but was not a threat to the control of the platform. . .like I said, you have at least two humans in the loop that would detect the platform going off kilter and they would disengage the auto-pilot and make flight control inputs to fly the platform.

41 posted on 06/30/2012 7:10:46 AM PDT by Hulka
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To: Traveler59

When the internal INS detects a wide variation between the GPS and the INS, signals are sent to the ground station and humans make corrective inputs to the UAV/RPV flight profile.


42 posted on 06/30/2012 7:13:25 AM PDT by Hulka
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To: Eye of Unk

” You know I just had an image of a scene from Terminator Salvation...”

Yep, first thing that came to my mind also.

This “clone” technology should be made freely available on the internet.


43 posted on 06/30/2012 7:23:49 AM PDT by moovova (Arrogance is believing that God needs an assistant (us).)
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To: Hulka

There is a back door to everything operating on software, everything. Just ask the Iranians, or better yet, the White House. In the event you missed it, reread my post and the position I held from 74-76. It was much tougher to “crack” the code back then because the availability of the computers necessary to do so was extremely limited.

So I guess you can sleep comfortably thinking that just because it was a “controlled” exercise that someone with the access to technology way above UTA is not going to work on it because it was monitored by DHS. It is far different to expect an event than it is to it happening as a total surprise.


44 posted on 06/30/2012 7:26:37 AM PDT by mazda77 (and I am a Native Texan)
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To: papertyger; 6SJ7
This is the best news I’ve heard all week.

You might not think that if you knew that a significant percent of UT Austin students are foreigners. One time as I was walking across campus the Iranians had set up tents and were very angry and hollering at passerbys. It's a very liberal university and Austin, with it's city motto of "Keepin' Austin Weird" is THE headquarters for eco-wackos, hippies and RATS of Texas. One of it's professors lectures his students the world would be a better place if 90% were killed off with ebola. One more step left and they're Berkeley CA. The article doesn't name the students so it's very likely they aren't conservatives out for a fun afternoon of pranks. My money is on dry run.

45 posted on 06/30/2012 8:03:20 AM PDT by bgill
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To: bigbob

I agree with you Bob, but it would be good to see every drone without a seach warrant from a court of open and approprite jurisdiction, to be spoof flown into the ground or better still, right into the control nacel of whatever is sending it.


46 posted on 06/30/2012 8:14:43 AM PDT by Candor7 (Obama fascism article: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/barack_obama_the_quintessentia_1.html)
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To: mazda77

Iranians had nothing to do with that UAV incident. Nothing. At. All. You wish to believe a third world nation has the expertise to lock-up flight controls then have at it.

Better computers today doesn’t mean easier to crack code as the computers today are better when it comes to writing code and protecting software.

“In the event you missed it, reread my post and the position I held from 74-76.”

I suppose you can sleep comfortably feeling that you are well aware of up-to-date UAV/RPV technology because of what you did nearly 40-yrs ago. (By the way, you are not the only one with experience behind the “Black” door).

“It is far different to expect an event than it is to it happening as a total surprise.”

Executive lead agent for UAV/RPV development is USAF, not DHS. DHS does their own R&D, limited as it is, to modify for their own missions. They are not aware of DOD UAV/RPV state-of-the-art technology/protections.

Of course, based upon your two years of experience nearly 40-yrs ago, you are fully aware we “hack at” everything all the time, exploring for weaknesses and flaws, to find where things can/need to be improved. This is the smart thing to do because as you are also aware, “There are no bug-free programs, just undiscovered bugs.”

Cheers

;-)


47 posted on 06/30/2012 8:33:06 AM PDT by Hulka
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To: SueRae
Most disconcerting news.

No! The most disconcerting news would be if the graduate students on the team were from Iran, China and Pakistan.

48 posted on 06/30/2012 8:39:28 AM PDT by ladyjane
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To: bgill
You might not think that if you knew that a significant percent of UT Austin students are foreigners.

I am far more worried by the domestic use of drones than I am of foreigners ability to defeat them.

49 posted on 06/30/2012 8:49:14 AM PDT by papertyger ("And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if..."))
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To: Lady Lucky

Every sale they make, they want your personal information. Last time I bought a device there, they asked at the register, what I was going to be using it for, plus my name and address. You’d think I was buying cough medicine or something! >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I know. That presents no problem. I pay cash and lie like a rug to protect my privacy. I am not a criminal and lie simply because its wrong to presume I am doing something wrong or illegal.Most of my advertising goes to the public librarian.


50 posted on 06/30/2012 9:49:35 AM PDT by Candor7 (Obama fascism article: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/barack_obama_the_quintessentia_1.html)
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