Predator drones hacked in Iraq operations

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Predator drones hacked in Iraq operations

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:17 pm

Predator drones hacked in Iraq operations

Iraqi insurgents have reportedly intercepted live video feeds from the U.S. military's Predator drones using a $25.95 Windows application that allows them to track the pilotless aircraft undetected.

Hackers working with Iraqi militants were able to determine which areas of the country were under surveillance by the U.S. military, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, adding that video feeds from drones in Afghanistan also appear to have been compromised.

Meanwhile, a senior Air Force officer said Wednesday that a wave of new surveillance aircraft, both manned and unmanned, were being deployed to Afghanistan to bolster "eyes in the sky" protection for the influx of American troops ordered by President Obama.

This apparent security breach, which had been known in military and intelligence circles to be possible, arose because the Predator unmanned aerial vehicles do not use encryption in the final link to their operators on the ground.

Read more of "U.S. was Warned of Predator Drone Hacking" at CBSNews.com.


U.S. was Warned of Predator Drone Hacking


Iraqi insurgents have reportedly intercepted live video feeds from the U.S. military's Predator drones using a $25.95 Windows application which allows them to track the pilotless aircraft undetected.

Hackers working with Iraqi militants were able to determine which areas of the country were under surveillance by the U.S. military, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, adding that video feeds from drones in Afghanistan also appear to have been compromised.

Meanwhile, a senior Air Force officer said Wednesday that a wave of new surveillance aircraft, both manned and unmanned, were being deployed to Afghanistan to bolster "eyes in the sky" protection for the influx of American troops ordered by President Obama.

This apparent security breach, which had been known in military and intelligence circles to be possible, arose because the Predator unmanned aerial vehicles do not use encryption in the final link to their operators on the ground. (By contrast, every time you log on to a bank or credit card Web site, or make a phone call on most modern cellular networks, your communications are protected by encryption technology.)


(CBS)When a Predator unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, is far from its base, terrain prohibits it from transmitting directly to its operator. Instead, it switches to a satellite link. That means an enterprising hacker can use his own satellite dish, a satellite modem, and a copy of the SkyGrabber Windows utility sold by the Russian company SkySoftware to intercept and display the UAV's transmissions.

The Air Force became aware of the security vulnerability when copies of Predator video feeds were discovered on a laptop belonging to a Shiite militant late last year, and again in July on other militants' laptops, the Journal reported. The problem, though, is that the drones use proprietary technology created in the early 1990s, and adding encryption would be an expensive task.

The implications of the Predator's unencrypted transmissions have been known in military circles for a long time. An October 1999 presentation given at the Air Force's School of Advanced Airpower Studies in Alabama noted "the Predator UAV is designed to operate with unencrypted data links."

The Air Force had hoped to replace the Predator with a stealthier, high-altitude version nicknamed "Darkstar," and the 1999 presentation by then-Maj. Jeffrey Stephenson noted that the new "high altitude UAVs will be capable of encryption." But the Defense Department informed Lockheed Martin that year that the Darkstar program would be terminated.

Iraqi interest in intercepting U.S. military transmissions is not exactly new. A report prepared for the CIA director after the U.S. invasion and occupation noted that Saddam Hussein assigned a young relative with a master's degree in computer science to intercept transmissions from U.S. satellites. The relative, "Usama," was secretly given office space in the Baghdad Aerospace Research Center, which had access to satellite downlinks.

The 2005 CIA report compiled by special advisor Charles Duelfer quotes Abd al-Tawab Huwaysh, Saddam's minister of industry, as saying he was shown real-time overhead video supposedly of U.S. military installations in Turkey, Kuwait, and Qatar before the invasion. A likely explanation, the report concludes, is that "Usama located and downloaded the unencrypted satellite feed from U.S. military UAVs."

A 1996 briefing by Paul Kaminski, an undersecretary of defense for acquisition and technology, may offer a hint about how the Iraqi's interception was done. Kaminski said that the military had turned to commercial satellites -- "Hughes is the primary provider of direct (satellite) TV that you can buy in the United States, and that's the technology we're leveraging off of" -- to share feeds from Predator drones.

"What this does is it provides now a broader distribution path to anybody who's in that downward receiving beam, for example," Kaminski said.

So why, after the CIA publicly reported that Predator transmissions had probably been intercepted in Iraq, did the Air Force do so little? One explanation is that the contractor, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems of San Diego, built the system in the early 1990s before encryption was common and easier to include. (Computer scientists had warned at the time that the U.S. government's anti-encryption laws were counter-productive because they discouraged the development and routine use of that technology.)

Bureaucratic inertia is another. As CBSNews.com reported last month, messages from President Clinton's entourage were intercepted in 1997, but Secret Service agents continued to use unencrypted pagers to share sensitive information about threats to the president's life on September 11, 2001. Perhaps it takes a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal to prod government officials into rethinking their views on the desirability of encryption.
does announcing genocide on twitter violate terms of service?
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Postby Penguin » Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:37 pm

Are they fucking serious? No encryption in the downlink?
Jeezz, thats the stupidest thing Ive heard in a long time...

Those drones are worse than useless against any decently equipped adversary IF that is true and this is not some propaganda ploy...
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Postby barracuda » Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:00 pm

Realistically, the Central Asian theater is a new kind of war, in which the object is not to win, but merely to create the impression of needing to remain. About half of all operations there are designed to give the "enemy" a meager chance of maintaining some semblance of a narrative will to fight. The U.S. supplies weapons to the Taliban. We pay enemy warlords huge sums to allow supply convoys access to troop stations. The CIA funds heroin production. Et cetera, et cetera. This latest story is just another part of the pattern and strategy.
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Disinfo story.

Postby Hugh Manatee Wins » Thu Dec 17, 2009 3:20 pm

C'mon. Get real, RI. This disinfo story's objective is obvious.

"Ewww. Gross! Lots of dead Afghan babies!
But maybe it was caused by al-Queda trying to discredit the virtuous CIA-Blackwater sharpshooting team!"
:roll:

And that kind of nonsense also leads to-
"Planes hijacked by software on 9/11? Maybe it was al-Queda outsmarting the entire US military avionics industry!"

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CIA runs mainstream media since WWII:
news rooms, movies/TV, publishing
...
Disney is CIA for kidz!
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Postby barracuda » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:41 pm

Right, because nothing about OUR mighty Armed Forces could ever be inept, or stupid, or useless, or pathetically crappy. They're just practically perfect in every way!

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Postby 8bitagent » Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:08 pm

barracuda wrote:Realistically, the Central Asian theater is a new kind of war, in which the object is not to win, but merely to create the impression of needing to remain. About half of all operations there are designed to give the "enemy" a meager chance of maintaining some semblance of a narrative will to fight. The U.S. supplies weapons to the Taliban. We pay enemy warlords huge sums to allow supply convoys access to troop stations. The CIA funds heroin production. Et cetera, et cetera. This latest story is just another part of the pattern and strategy.


We've argued before, but I do say we can agree 100% on here. Much to the chagrin of my mainstream Democratic left pals; I started to question whether the US was really "screwing up" unintentionally in Iraq and if it was "truly about oil".

I truly believe more than ever the US' role in Iraq and Afghanistan is to keep an endless conflict going, where the "bad guys" are given plenty of room to fight back so the US can test all the toys/experiments/combat readiness it wants

...like a real life shooting gallery, instead of carboard popups.

We know about P2OG, financing all sides of the Afghan and Iraq militancy(either outright or through proxies) We know bin Laden was intentionally allowed to escape.

Hell, it was mainstream news that one of the biggest drug kingpins in Afghanistan happened to not just be the brother of US stooge president Karzai; but on the CIA take for 8 long years. Yet, noone seemed to care in the long run
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Postby DoYouEverWonder » Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:43 pm

barracuda wrote:Realistically, the Central Asian theater is a new kind of war, in which the object is not to win, but merely to create the impression of needing to remain. About half of all operations there are designed to give the "enemy" a meager chance of maintaining some semblance of a narrative will to fight. The U.S. supplies weapons to the Taliban. We pay enemy warlords huge sums to allow supply convoys access to troop stations. The CIA funds heroin production. Et cetera, et cetera. This latest story is just another part of the pattern and strategy.
I'm starting to believe that Afghanistan is our garbage dump for all the Rambo's that the US doesn't want coming back home to act out their PTSD, while they collect unemployment.
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Re: Disinfo story.

Postby nathan28 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:17 am

Hugh Manatee Wins wrote:C'mon. Get real, RI. This disinfo story's objective is obvious.

"Ewww. Gross! Lots of dead Afghan babies!
But maybe it was caused by al-Queda trying to discredit the virtuous CIA-Blackwater sharpshooting team!"
:roll:

And that kind of nonsense also leads to-
"Planes hijacked by software on 9/11? Maybe it was al-Queda outsmarting the entire US military avionics industry!"

Image


HMWs, your utter blindness to the nature of this story and the one about Kubrick leads me to ask something I've asked you before:

What are you smoking AND WHERE CAN I GET IT?
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Postby Nordic » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:06 am

DoYouEverWonder wrote:
barracuda wrote:Realistically, the Central Asian theater is a new kind of war, in which the object is not to win, but merely to create the impression of needing to remain. About half of all operations there are designed to give the "enemy" a meager chance of maintaining some semblance of a narrative will to fight. The U.S. supplies weapons to the Taliban. We pay enemy warlords huge sums to allow supply convoys access to troop stations. The CIA funds heroin production. Et cetera, et cetera. This latest story is just another part of the pattern and strategy.
I'm starting to believe that Afghanistan is our garbage dump for all the Rambo's that the US doesn't want coming back home to act out their PTSD, while they collect unemployment.


What an interesting idea ....

The "wars" are definitely nothing but job security for the military contractors. It's perfect for them. Low level, expensive, endless.

They've been able to finally show off two of their new toys, the "Monster of Kandahar" and the Osprey, the multi-billion dollar boondoggle that nobody really wanted except the fat-cat contractor who profits from making it. Wonder when a bunch of marines will die in one of those babies?
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Postby 82_28 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:10 am

‘Iranian Cyber Army’ hacks Twitter

http://lucire.com/insider/20091218/iran ... s-twitter/

For those trying to get on to the Twitter website presently, one need not bother: a group calling itself the Iranian Cyber Army claims to have hacked the site.
Users on the micro-blogging service were presented with a new home page, apparently protesting the United States. It appears to be a DNS attack, redirecting users to the new page.
The new home page emerged at 6 a.m. GMT today.
In the poorly translated English (full text noted here), there is an odd reference to an embargo list, and that the hackers were against the Iranian people being stimulated. The hackers gave the address of iranian.cyber.army@gmail.com.
This publication will hold back on Tweeting till the hacking problem is resolved.
It marks an already difficult week on Twitter. Twitter application Twitterfeed had a data migration, leaving many users with a reduced service.

Update: Within an hour, Twitter restored its service.
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Postby barracuda » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:25 pm

Not Just Drones: Militants Can Snoop on Most U.S. Warplanes

Tapping into drones’ video feeds was just the start. The U.S. military’s primary system for bringing overhead surveillance down to soldiers and Marines on the ground is also vulnerable to electronic interception, multiple military sources tell Danger Room. That means militants have the ability to see through the eyes of all kinds of combat aircraft — from traditional fighters and bombers to unmanned spy planes. The problem is in the process of being addressed. But for now, an enormous security breach is even larger than previously thought.

The military initially developed the Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receiver, or ROVER, in 2002. The idea was let troops on the ground download footage from Predator drones and AC-130 gunships as it was being taken. Since then, nearly every airplane in the American fleet — from F-16 and F/A-18 fighters to A-10 attack planes to Harrier jump jets to B-1B bombers has been outfitted with equipment that lets them transmit to ROVERs. Thousands of ROVER terminals have been distributed to troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But those early units were “fielded so fast that it was done with an unencrypted signal. It could be both intercepted (e.g. hacked into) and jammed,” e-mails an Air Force officer with knowledge of the program. In a presentation last month before a conference of the Army Aviation Association of America, a military official noted that the current ROVER terminal “receives only unencrypted L, C, S, Ku [satellite] bands.”

So the same security breach that allowed insurgent to use satellite dishes and $26 software to intercept drone feeds can be used the tap into the video transmissions of any plane.
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Postby American Dream » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:34 pm

We've seen all kinds of stories spread to support the funding of the War on Communism, the War on Drugs, the War on Terror etc.- so why would'nt they plant a few stories in favor of the U.S. Cyberwarfare program???
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Postby barracuda » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:40 pm

If you have the time, could you expand your line of thought so that I might understand what point you're trying to make?
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Postby Sounder » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:47 pm

Bow down to your god, Hugh.
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Postby Penguin » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:30 pm

barracuda wrote:If you have the time, could you expand your line of thought so that I might understand what point you're trying to make?


Mo' money for mo' security!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPCmOcqihvM
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Last edited by Penguin on Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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