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Military Officers Warned of Flaw in U.S. Drones

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posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 02:15 AM

Military Officers Warned of Flaw in U.S. Drones

The disclosure came after The Wall Street Journal reported insurgents in Iraq had intercepted video feeds from drones, downloading unencrypted communications from the unmanned planes.

Members of the Pentagon's Joint Staff discussed the potential security shortfall of drone feeds in 2004 and 2005, according to two officers with direct knowledge of the deliberations.

Officers at the time weren't concerned about adversaries intercepting the signals in Iraq or Afghanistan because drones weren't yet common there and militants weren't thought to be technically sophisticated
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 02:15 AM
The Drone designers apparently knew that the drone videos could be hacked because they were a new weapon. Until this year the signals have not been secured, an easy process!

"Senior U.S. military officers working for the Joint Chiefs of Staff discussed the danger of Russia and China intercepting and doctoring video from drone aircraft in 2004, but the Pentagon didn't begin securing the signals until this year, according to people familiar with the matter."
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 02:33 AM
Dear lord. Yet again we have multi-million dollar equipment managed by ten dollar thinkers. I have proudly served in the military and seen obvious mistakes made before but this takes several slices of cake.

posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 02:47 AM
reply to post by badmoviefan

Dear lord. Yet again we have multi-million dollar equipment managed by ten dollar thinkers

You are obviously wrong, actually this was well thought out in advance an has been countered!

On Thursday, Pentagon officials confirmed militants in Iraq had recorded drone video feeds several times in the past year. They said the feeds have since been secured. Officials said militants never took control of a drone or interfered with its flight. Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, told reporters the Defense Department was constantly re-evaluating the security of its drones and other surveillance systems. He said the military worked to close any shortfalls that were discovered as part of those reviews.

Original WSJ source:

posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 03:02 AM
reply to post by plumranch

I may be wrong but after serving in the US military I know that those that manage and facilitate policy, procedure, and other implementations should, more often than not, be keep away from basic policy and management of even a freaking petting zoo. I wouldn't trust some of those I served with parking of a car, and that bleeds into any segment of the American Military. Be wary, that's all I am saying. Don't trust individuals based on what they have been alloted when it comes to responsibility.

posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 03:16 AM
So they could watch the feed? It really doesn't matter does it. In fact, it could be a potentially useful way to provide disinformation if you have more than one drone in the area. Criminals often know where police helicopters are also, but it doesn't help them much does it?

As for the government always making mistakes, well, the government relies on civilian contractors don't they? It wasn't PFC Broke-Johnson who built the drone now was it? No, it was your highly paid, MIT educated, software engineers and programers who left out the encryption ability of the data feed. And even then, the programmers and engineers can't be blamed either. Why? It's Because the drones were needed now, not a year later. The battlefield dictated that the equipment go to war before it was perfect. Are you going to fault them for that? How many soldiers lives do you think this technology has all ready saved to this point. How many of the enemy has been brought down by it?

So, in the end, yes, get me what you have NOW if we can use it. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to provide a needed advantage. The motto is, “Adapt and Overcome”, not, “We better wait until its perfect.”

posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 05:14 AM
No offense, but a few guys have already created the exact same thread yesterday and a lot of people have contributed good information regarding the hack. I advise you guys to search the forums for the 2 recent threads.

...I have the same software as the people who gained access to that UAV. It not encrypted and will never be until a better SatCom is launched in space.

posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 05:39 AM
Perhaps we should start transmitting our own specoial video feed to them. It might be kind of fun. perhaps some video of their virgins to get them fired up or depressed

posted on Jan, 18 2010 @ 01:56 PM
Engineers need the money.
Also the cost of a complete system is high.

Ever see all the Vanguard and Atlas missile failures as America
struggled to launch its first satellite.
I found out why.
Well the company engineers then made wage and benefit demands.
Knowing that after working on a government job the government
takes all the drawing it paid for and goes to another company for
a less expensive deal or one the managers invest it.

So the deal gave every one an early 'retirement' which came in
handy when the company folded or needed layoffs.
They collected 'retirement' as they went on to other companies.

So think straight engineers when dealing with the government.

posted on Jan, 18 2010 @ 02:05 PM
Wow, thats pretty sad.

For being so supposedly technilogically advanced, that is just piss poor performance.

posted on Jan, 18 2010 @ 02:39 PM
reply to post by badmoviefan

I concur that transmission encryption was probably argued by the engineers as a necessity but somewhere along the way, some idiot in management who doesn't know squat about crap decided that encryption was just "too much overhead" and scrapped it.

posted on Jan, 18 2010 @ 03:05 PM
Just been discussing a similar issue on another thread:

ATS thread 'Black Bomber Underway? New Hangar at Groom Lake

If you read the thread you may see some interesting posts suggesting that the USAF acknowledges threats to these devices from jamming their signals, leading to an out of control vehicle. As I understand it this is a separate issue/weakness/allegation from the one highlighted in your post OP?

I should think they should also be quizzed about what happens if a hostile party, possibly with very advanced and possibly satellite level type technology manages to jam all or vital control/links to such a vehicle simply to render it out of control?

*edit* What I mean is - OK so they managed to use encryption to secure their data exchange with the vehicle, but that doesn't prevent loss of control if the signal is jammed - is that right?

[edit on 18-1-2010 by curioustype]

posted on Jan, 18 2010 @ 03:37 PM
reply to post by the_denv

Just found/read your post here: link to ATS thread

Very interesting stuff, hacking and jamming still seem to be serious issues for operating and relying on this kind of hardware. As the other post makes clear, it is the breadth of application across many platforms, not just the UAV program but other aircraft, ground vehicles and troop deployments that makes this more of a concern.

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