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Encryption The Military United States IT Technology

Most US Drones Still Beam Video Unencrypted 138

Posted by timothy
from the hey-it-beats-satellite-piracy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Four years after discovering that militants were tapping into drone video feeds, the U.S. military still hasn't secured the transmissions of more than half of its fleet of Predator and Reaper drones, Danger Room has learned. The majority of the aircraft still broadcast their classified video streams 'in the clear' — without encryption. With a minimal amount of equipment and know-how, militants can see what America's drones see."
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Most US Drones Still Beam Video Unencrypted

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  • Link is spam (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @10:48PM (#41861835)

    The real Wired article is here.
    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/10/hack-proof-drone/

  • Re:Editor Fail (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2012 @10:53PM (#41861875)

    Direct link to the article http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/10/hack-proof-drone/ [wired.com]

  • True Story (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2012 @01:24AM (#41862543)

    I was deployed in Afghanistan in 2010, had a bunch of prototype "advanced" receiver equipment that I was volentold to test. When I asked how I'm supposed to load keys into the decoder, "Oh you don't need that" Confused, I looked in the unit to see the keyfiles empty. Somehow the unit still worked. After playing with the equipment, even in-theater, our drones were broadcasting completely in the clear on UHF. Whenever there was one overhead, I could simply fire up this heavy POS attached to my kit, and watch us on the ground walk around, (Or whatever female medic on one of the local FOBs the UAV operator was stalking)

    Actually most of the time, the UAV was watching the chicks on the big FOB.. Yeah.

  • Re:play chess much? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lloyd_Bryant (73136) on Saturday November 03, 2012 @05:44AM (#41863279)

    What is this some Michael Bay "the signal that hacked your network" shit? How could they detect a passive receiver?

    Because the receiver ain't quite as "passive" as you think. Google for "local oscillator" for an example.

    Digital systems tend to generate noise on predictable frequencies as well - if a device has a chip that's clocked at a given frequency, then somewhere in that device is an oscillator used to generate that clock (though it may or may not be working at that particular frequency).

    The only truly passive receiver is one that is completely shielded to prevent it from radiating any of this noise. But you *have* to have a gap in the shielding in order for the incoming signal to be received. So building an undetectable receiver is not quite as easy as you might think.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 03, 2012 @09:27AM (#41863963)
    As someone who trains on ISR feeds in Afghanistan, I can tell you that's not how it plays out. If they can't put eyes on target, and confirm 100% there's no collateral, there's no shot. It's written into the Rules of Engagement, and I've watched countless times where a bad guy runs into a house and we waive off the ISR.

    Back to the article, a bad guy sitting there with an antennae, trying to grab ISR RF is going to have a very short life span.

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