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December 17th, 2009
10:00 AM ET

WSJ: Militants used $26 software to hack U.S. drones

There's a new report out today that says militants were able to hack one of the most effective weapons in finding and killing al Qaeda members. Insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan were reportedly able to intercept live video feeds from U.S. unmanned drones, allowing them to see on the ground what the drones were seeing in the air.

On Thursday's American Morning we spoke with the reporter who broke this story, Wall Street Journal Intelligence Correspondent Siobhan Gorman.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Iraq • Military
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Ron

    So, just an FYI – this was a hack. A hack is defined as "...unauthorized access or use of a system ..." Since this is a military system, and the terrorists are obviously not a part of the US military, this was a hack.

    December 28, 2009 at 8:21 pm |
  2. Ron

    So, just an FYI – this was a hack. A hack is defined as "...unauthorized access of a system ..." Since this is a military system, and the terrorists are obviously not a part of the US military, this was a hack.

    December 28, 2009 at 8:20 pm |
  3. Tony

    The only "hack" is this article's writer...

    December 28, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  4. Angel

    Our military is not perfect, but they are not dumbs. It has to be some kind of reason for them to allow it to happened, if it actually happened which I am not that certain anyway.

    December 28, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  5. Richard

    One more comment with regards to time to crack encryption: The very large and impressive numbers that get bandied about are how much time it would take to crack the key with current technology. However, since computing power tends to double every 18 months, the real answer is that you get 18 months per bit beyond what is breakable today. That is, if a 128 bit key is the largest that is feasible today, a 256 bit key would give you 2304 months, or 192 years of security. 192 years is enough, but billions or trillions of years it is not.

    The sweeping claims about how many eons algorithm xyz can lock up your secrets are misleading because they are based on faulty assumptions. The claims are also troubling because they could result in encryption that is far too weak (a few bits beyond capabilities today) because of an unfounded belief that it would give "thousands" of years of protection.

    December 28, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  6. Richard


    Whilst your suggestion may work in a Bruce Willis film, the fact of the matter is that often a computer of an innocent party is compromised and used as the interception and storage point. The goods (video, credit cards whatever else they may be) are transmitted to the malefactors at a later time. Your suggestion would in all likelihood lead to deaths/arrests of innocents.

    The right answer is the simple one: encrypt the data feed using a reasonably robust algorithm, key strength, and key management system. That neutralizes the threat of interception.

    December 28, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  7. Jeff

    About what "Aaron" wrote:

    > Why does it matter? So the insurgents saw the video feeds. So
    > what? Think about it: The camera from these drones will only
    > display what's in front of them. Unless you can identify where the
    > drone is, the image is useless.

    If all terrorists were as dumb as Aaron then we wouldn't have a problem.

    What insurgents can learn: what the drone operators think is important, what objects in the image attract attention, how effective in different lighting and weather conditions, how long the operators wait before firing, effect of nearby civilians, etc.

    Definitely terrorists / insurgents should not be seeing the feeds.


    December 28, 2009 at 3:38 am |
  8. SFDaddySaul

    Don't believe everything you read.......

    December 27, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  9. Entertained

    As scary and "sensational" as the reporter made this whole matter out to be I have to agree with Jim. 1st of all anything these "terrorists" saw, they saw because they were meant to see it. I'm not even in the military and it's obvious. I can see the scenario now. There they are, sitting in their war room/cave way up in some remote mountain of Afghanistan monitoring their HD view screen scanning the airwaves with their high tech decryption equipment that they ordered over the Internet. Then the highly trained tech officer calls to his commander "Sir, I have "Hacked" into the HD TV when I pushed the button on the remote to change the channel, the video I see is as if the camera is flying, Oh! and I recognize that bush. It must be looking at...." 'BOOOOM' !
    These are all great conspiracy theories though. I was entertained throughout the whole thread.......

    December 26, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  10. Jimmy

    This is a HUGE opportunity for tactical advantage for the US.

    Quite possibly an orchestrated one.

    December 26, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  11. Brian

    Has anyone ever looked at the video feeds from a drone. It's like looking down at the ground through a straw. A very limited view. Even if someone does manage to identify the intended target, the drone is already on it's attack run. By the time someone would answer the phone or radio, it would be too late anyway.

    December 24, 2009 at 9:31 pm |
  12. Paucity

    I do not believe the drones were hacked. I believe the video feeds were unencrypted on purpose. The message being "you can run ... but you can't hide". And who knows ... perhaps other drones are flying around out there with completely encrypted communications.

    December 24, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  13. Advertiser

    Insert Coca Cola ads in the video link! It will pay for the drone fuel!

    December 24, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  14. FJE

    Dr. Budwin, check your spelling or maybe you need to refine your typing skills. If you have this bulletproof security software why are you advertising on blogs? There's way better avenues like twitter and facebook...DEE TA DEE.

    December 24, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  15. Al

    They only see what we want them to see

    December 23, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  16. Andrewson

    "I would say that getting the idea over carries more weight then a mispelled wurd...whoops nerd...whoops word."

    Indeed Reverend. This is precisely the lazy attitude that has this country going to hell in a handbasket. Nobody takes pride in what they do or how they present themselves. As far as I am concerned, if you present yourself as an idiot, you are an idiot.

    "To anyone touting their encryption wares, just post your algorithm to the public and allow it to be tested. If the strength lies in the secrecy of the algorithm, then it's insecure. Put up or shut up."

    Agreed. These people wouldn't be attempting to peddle their "wares" in the comments of a CNN blog if they actually knew what they were talking about.

    December 23, 2009 at 3:05 pm |
  17. skeptical

    If it is so easy with $26 in parts, why hasn't it been done in the US? Many (most, all?) of the drone missions are flown out of an Air Force base in Arizona, no?

    December 23, 2009 at 2:38 pm |
  18. Bruce

    Dr. Bud

    My apologies if I doubt your claims. If you can't type a simple post without numerous typo mistakes, I have my doubts about your ability to develop an encryption algorithm that would take 9 trillion {sic} yeats to hack as one example. I'm not aware of a metric described in 'yeats'.

    December 23, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  19. Chuck

    One potential problem that I see with the video being unencrypted is that the enemy could potentially figure out where the takeoff and landing strip is... assuming the payload camera is left on for the duration of the trip.

    December 23, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  20. Bruce

    This was not a hack, it was what amounts to an unauthorized tap.

    The use of 'hack' was an obvious attempt at sensationalizing and the interviewers demeanor also seems to point to an attempt at stirring up outrage and a greater emotional response, while the interviewee was just being calm and cool about what she found.

    the exchange about the interviewee talking about how in a lab, the UAV was able to be compromised and 'hacked', and the interviewers jumping all over that and misunderstanding that "this is happening in real life, not in a lab". Makes this abundantly clear.

    While absolutely of concern, it's also probably quite easily fixed. It probably only takes another $26 piece of encryption software to thwart 'Skygrabber' or whatever that intercept/tap program is.

    This really isn't as big a deal as the media seems to want to portray this.

    December 23, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  21. Jim

    It's misspelled. Like "miss spelled" minus an "s" and a space. It's not hard. Misspelling misspelled when pointing out someone's mistake makes you a hypocrite. It's ok though, that's what makes it funny.

    So terrorists want to see themselves on TV. Have you ever watched the background of local news stories? Maybe they call their families up and send them all the link to the intercepted drone signal. Hi mom!

    December 22, 2009 at 10:57 pm |
  22. David

    Are they said to be getting the video from a sattelite downlink or from the drone itself? If the drone it implies they can find the drone with useful accuracy with fairly simple equipment. In this case it does not matter if the signal is encrypted – just being able to detect it at all is enough.

    December 22, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  23. KevinK

    To anyone touting their encryption wares, just post your algorithm to the public and allow it to be tested. If the strength lies in the secrecy of the algorithm, then it's insecure. Put up or shut up.

    December 22, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  24. James

    Well, I slept at a Holiday Inn last night so maybe I can make a super hot encryption system?

    December 22, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  25. Dr. Sanjay Gupta

    I too have designed software, just finished it. The software is for Windows 98 SE encryption and encrypts up to 64 bit! But of course the US Government will not buy it from me because they are still on Windows 95. The world is a harsh place indeed. Where is Bill Gates when we need him. Anyway I offer up $264 to anyone whom can beat my Windows 98 Encryption program. I dare you!

    December 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  26. saty

    Doc Budwin, what is your degree in, and where from ?

    December 21, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  27. bert f.

    Using the term 'hack' in this story is like claiming I hacked into an ABC, CBS or NBC newscast by viewing it with an old over-the-air television set. Hire a real editor with real technical knowledge, not someone bent of sensationalism.

    December 21, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  28. Mike

    Let the enemy see the open transmissions, fly those drones away from the real target and use the secure drones for real targets just might throw the enemy planning off. Sounds like an ancient military tactic to me with a modern twist. That is if that's what was going on.

    December 21, 2009 at 7:14 am |
  29. KevinK

    quote from Dr. Budwin: I'm not so sure the military is interested in total security.

    Why? Because they won't buy your encryption scheme? If it was so great, then you would have entered it into the AES competition, huh? Your statement is petulant and quite frankly incorrect. Unless you're in the military and have experience with it, then please refrain from such statements unless you have some proof to back them up.

    December 21, 2009 at 6:12 am |
  30. Rev. Joseph E. Leiato

    @idgrey1963 – for appearances?? I would say that getting the idea over carries more weight then a mispelled wurd...whoops nerd...whoops word.

    December 21, 2009 at 4:23 am |
  31. Rev. Joseph E. Leiato

    As a former Dept of Defense Officer I concur with Dr. Budwin's assessment. Depending on the issue or project at hand, the DOD's internal operational climate sometimes – correction always depends on who's running the project. Then there is always the question of whether or not a Stealth Program was already running...

    Dr. Budwin there may be a corporation interested eventually in your program ...Green On Demand LLP, based in VA & Europe.

    December 21, 2009 at 4:18 am |
  32. Bman

    Man, is it just me or did that wall street journal correspondant seem like an automaton? How long ago did Murdoch buy that paper?

    Not only did she seem like an automaton, she also seemed to be acting like a pentagon administration spokesperson.

    December 21, 2009 at 1:01 am |
  33. Ed

    No matter how you look at it, being able to hack into any government computer is unacceptable! If we allow other countries, terrorist or who ever, to hack into our military computers, we are allowing ourselves to be destroyed. We have the strongest military any nation in the history of mankind and to allow someone to hack into it is just plain stupid and lazy. We have the technical minds to prevent this from happening, however we choose to waste our time on other political issues rather than keep our country safe, so we can further waste our time on political issues. I hope I spelled everything correctly.

    December 21, 2009 at 12:43 am |
  34. KevinK

    quote: Dr. Howard Budwin: I invented an encryption software that takes 9 trillion yeats to hack.

    How can you make a statement like that? Sounds like you're talking about a brute force attack on some ungodly large key. Have you tested your algorithm against differential cryptanalysis and other methods of attack? $50,000 to hack into one of your files? How large is the file? If you only offer one file and the key is larger than the file, then you effectively have a one-time pad - which makes your algorithm useless for encrypting, let's say, UAV feeds. I'd be interested in seeing the detailed cryptanalysis of this so called "unbreakable" encryption.

    December 21, 2009 at 12:38 am |
  35. heh heh

    The good Doctor's encryption is based on random spelling errors and made up words. For example a yeats = .000000000000001 years. So yes, his post was done using his encryption. I suspect that the drones are usign his encryption too. 🙂

    December 20, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  36. Duane

    The Pentagon has now stated that it has fixed the problem. If it was so simple, why wasn't it fixed years ago?

    December 20, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  37. Switch

    Hilarious. You spend all that effort showing the Good Doctor the problems with his spelling, and you failed to spell the one word you really should have correctly – it is misspell. One word.

    December 20, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  38. ldgrey1963

    Good Doctor, To lend credence to your post please use the highlight/right-click feature and spell check. By not proof-reading your post you sir, look less intelligent when you miss spell simple words...

    as of my last scan of your text you display 3 errors.
    1. yeat...years

    your text...

    Hi Rick: I'm not so sure the military is interested in total security. I invented an encryption software that takes 9 trillion yeats to hack. So far, no takers, and I have offered $50,000 ti anyone who could hackj into one of my files. My encryption could be adapted to the what else? The military loses drones and information. I just wanted to let you know that security is out there in the form of Praetorian Key Software.

    December 20, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  39. mikedeltabravo

    You know the lax security at the white house and in the military reflects as to why the managers of our system is in dire jeapordies.I particularly dont like tech as it can be knocked out easily and used against us.Dependant on a so called thinking machine is indeed dangerous.

    December 20, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  40. James Wagner

    Something Fishy

    1. Iranian weapons found with the Shiites and Sunnis’
    2. Iran has held a conference saying that the Holocaust of the Jews is a myth
    3. Iran Kidnaps British Soldiers
    4. Iran has held Americans captive
    5. Iran has beat protesters to death
    6. Iran has publicly said that it wants to wipe Israel off the map
    7. Hezbollah, and Hamas branched off of Iran
    8. Taliban and possibly Al-Qaida have Iranian weapons as well
    9. Scientist in Iran are missing
    10. Defiant with Nuclear Program
    11. Found that N. Korea was shipping weapons to Iran
    12. Iran has a missiles that can reach our troops and Israel
    13. Iran has publicly said that it wants to get Latin America’s economy running with cheap oil and help from Venezuela. (Therefore China, Russia, Middle East, & Latin America are the power house and America becomes broke.)
    14. Iran and Venezuela have made Russia 3rd largest Arms dealer
    15. Iran wants Ecuador back on OPEC
    16. Iran has consistently threaten the US
    17. Iran’s leader says that he has seen God
    18. Iran’s leader was also recognized as a torturer of American hostages in the 70’s; according to the hostages.
    19. Iran is in Iraq taking over Iraq’s oil wells and territory.
    20. Iran’s leader is also calling for the return of the Mahadi
    21. Just about all of Iran’s allies and business partners are out maneuvering the US from jobs to weapons and oil.
    22. Saddam said that we were going down and don’t even see it coming (Could he have been referring to Iran?)
    23. Iran’s propaganda about hurting the US; brainwashing people to fight us.
    24. It is funny how some terrible event happens during the G8 summit meetings that cause nothing to get accomplished about stopping N. Korea and Iran from obtaining nuclear technology. (Now N. Korea has it, and Iran is close.)
    25. Iran and N. Korea have been working on Ballistic Missile testing together.
    26. N. Korea is hacking the US and S. Korea.
    27. China is also rumored to have hacked many companies technology, in order to obtain jobs. This is obvious due to the fact that there was only 2 companies in the world that could coat certain metal parts and now China can out of the blue; that and every one in China wants to be a hacker.
    28. Venezuela and Russia both try to pass laws were they can run for President forever.
    29. Rumored that Chavez gave weapons to the Columbian Rebels to release the hostage of 20 years, and he did it by smuggling through Cuba; Reason for him hanging out with Castro. (Also makes sense about Russia wanting to have bases near there.)

    30. Putin is talking about running for President again after being Prime Minister.

    31. Putin former KGB

    32. 2 spies mysteriously die outing Putin.

    33. The Dollar had dropped by 30% in value.

    34. Not only is this evident to me that something funny is going on, but it is also evident to Gary Kasparov the Chess Champion from Russia. Think about our country and how the housing, economy, rules lifted that were to prevent Bucket Shops. The idea that the Government wanted to take over the banking industry; thankful that they didn’t. That would have reversed what Andrew Jackson did to break up the banking.


    December 20, 2009 at 7:53 am |
  41. That dude

    To Dr Howard Budwin, and to the rest of the people who think that the military security of communication is somehow weak or something that they have not yet considered, please think again. You obviously have never served in a military unit or been anywhere near the operational army or airforce. to speak in the most general terms (as not to reveal more secrets than necessary). I was once a US Army Infantry Officer (2000-2004). Across the entire military we use a system for communication which does what we call 'frequency hop.' That means that 50-100 times per second, the frequency that two people are speaking on changes. The contents of that transmission can only be intercepted if someone has the secret code AND the device which actually coordinates the device. And by the way, the code changes every week, and it's given only to one person per 100-200, and the devices remain locked up in secure arms rooms when they are not being used. AND they have a single button 'erase all content' in case your platoon or small element is being overrun by the enemy and capture of sensitive equipment is imminent.

    I have been close to or had second hand knowledge through fellow officers of a number of operations and events over the past decade. In general, the media gets the story about 75%-85% correct most of the time. Additionally, the Military is VERY deceptive and regularly avoids telling the general public how cunning and how deceptive we truly are. And why shouldn't they? Why tell your enemy just how truly lethal and effective you are?

    Ever notice how we never see footage or even hear about any events involving Army Rangers, Navy Seals, Green Berets?

    That's because the media is not allowed anywhere near them. They are too busy slitting throats, snatching leadership, and lasing targets to do interviews.

    Since this report has been published, I am quite confident that the video feeds were swtiched over to the frequency hop method. You'll notice that they didn't say when this happened, or how much footage, or what operations they had pictures of.

    Don't worry about US Intelligence and security. They have things under control.

    December 20, 2009 at 1:41 am |
  42. John Robertson

    Since when is this a hack??

    Just useless real time footage that's pulled off a sat,,

    useless sensationalism..

    December 20, 2009 at 1:38 am |
  43. WMS

    they did nothing spectacular, its no different from what millions of people around the world do everyday when they turn the frequency dial on an AM/FM radio, its a passive system you can't do anything else but listen or in the 'hackers' case view the content for a particular frequency bandwidth, maybe we ought to charge them PPV fees in order to access the death from the sky video feed, i don't want my tax dollars providing them free entertainment

    December 19, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  44. hasc

    I would not be surprised if our good friends (and biggest creditors), the Chinese were lending the terrorists some assistance in doing this.

    December 19, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  45. Rae

    I don't see how it would be possible to track the location of those intercepting the signal. This isn't like they are hacking into a system, they are just intercepting the wireless signal being transmitted from the drone to the control center. Its astounding that they wouldn't at least use simple encryption on this data feed.

    December 19, 2009 at 10:02 pm |
  46. CAModerate

    @David: Agreed. No one "hacked" the drones. Either the author does not know what the word means or thought it would sound more dramatic than to merely state the truth. The video transmissions were merely received and viewed. Since they are broadcast unencrypted, this is not much more impressive than if they were merely watching TV. I think the real story here is that the transmissions are not secured and are so easily intercepted. Clearly not a good idea. It seems to me that one of the advantages of the drones is that they are capable of observing from enough of a distance that the observee is unaware, thus maintaining surprise if a decision to strike is made. If the targets are able to equip themselves to monitor the drone transmissions, then they can be aware of what areas are under observation and take measures accordingly.

    December 19, 2009 at 8:36 pm |
  47. Rich

    In what way is this "hacking"? All they did was intercept the radio signal, which anyone could do just by tuning to the right frequency and having software that can intercept the video format. "Hacking" would imply that they gained some degree of control over the system, or at least had the ability to snoop around and steal files that weren't being broadcast live. What happened here was more akin to stealing cable (or more accurately, stealing satellite TV, since there was no "tap" that could be traced).

    December 19, 2009 at 8:35 pm |
  48. KirpoppSchmanny

    Dr. Budwin,
    What are yeats?

    December 19, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  49. Texas Ray

    I would like to point out that receiving unguarded video transmission is roughly the same as tuning a TV. All they are doing is receiving the video feed, so what good does that get them, other than seeing what we a looking at, they can't control anything or prevent it from doing whatever it is commanded. How in the world does this qualify as "Hacking?" IT DOESN'T, the media idiots just use the term hacking to sesationalize the headline to increase sales. Hacking would involve the forceful taking control of a drone or modifying it's reaction to operator control inputs and that is not what they are talking about.


    December 19, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  50. Leonard Joesten

    Another case of underestimating the enemy. It has happened countless times throughout history. No doubt the enemy is working vigorously with highly skilled people and equipment to eventually take control of a drone. I would not be surprised if it happens!

    December 19, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  51. joe, nj

    When are we going to learn to keep our big fat mouths SHUT?
    Why does the whole world have to know everything about us,
    especially military affairs? We deserve everything we get.

    December 19, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  52. frederic

    They aren't hacking the drones themselves. They're simply receiving a broadcast transmission from the drones to the ground.

    December 18, 2009 at 9:57 pm |
  53. Wetpixel

    Also gotta wonder why Bert thinks having a pilot in place would change the situation regarding the outbound video signal.
    Oh, I know - he's supposed to look out the window and report when he gets back to base, right?

    December 18, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  54. Wetpixel

    ronvan is being funny, I presume.
    In a war zone, arrests are usually ridiculous, bombs are used for combatants, and complex accurate tracking (esp. usable after you get personnel to the area) simply doesn't exist.
    The last part had me laughing, though. What movie did he watch where a video signal caused a receiver to burn up? How does receiving video cause the electrical overload? ronvan, are you more than 15?

    December 18, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  55. A. Smith, Oregon

    @Dr. Howard Budwin, if what you stated was remotely accurate, the NSA would be knocking at your door demanding a backdoor be placed into the software for its agency to access and if you didn't 'oblige' them and their demands, the NSA would use various routine forms of extortion and blackmail to obtain your full cooperation.

    Obviously a very simple high speed video encryption is needed to be added to the raptor and prediator series of drones. One is already used by Nasa routinely in its manned missions, no need to re-create the wheel, simply use the encryption chip that Nasa already uses.

    December 18, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  56. Seth

    Reverse detection won't really work in this case, since they're basically intercepting radio transmissions from the drones, a one way street so to speak. Now, if someone were to write viral software that attacked computers that had this program installed... nothing too serious, just something that phones home when the program patches into a particular sort of signal. It could even be used to spoof the signal the intruders are getting, depending on the situation. If you want to get nasty, it could also Rickroll them.

    December 18, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  57. Space Monkey

    Hey, here is an idea, lets throw out some computer buzz words like HACK and see what kind of trouble we can stir up.

    its not hacking if you are not intentionally changing, modifying, or gaining access to something that is not intending or allowing these changes or access in the first place.... so, the feed did not get hacked.

    the worse that could happen with this footage is that the bad guys/targets get to watch themselves get shot.

    the best that could happen is if they monitor the feeds then they know to run atleast a few minutes or alteast seconds before the stuff hits the fan if you know what im saying.

    December 18, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  58. Jerry

    From what I've read, the drones' communications were "hacked" in the same sense that people with satellite dishes used to "hack" NFL games from network transmissions for free. They're just looking at the pictures. Of course, this does give them an intelligence heads-up. They know what and who we're looking at so they can warn them to get out of Dodge. The reason the military has given for transmitteing in the clear is that encrypting and decrypting the data stream degrades the real-time aspect of the data for command-and-control purposes. Before a field commander gives the order to shoot, he wants to know what he's looking at NOW...not what the drone was seeing a couple of minutes - or even 30 seconds ago. The situation on the ground could have changed dramatically. There has also been no indication that there have been any attempts - successful or otherwise - to usurp control of the UAVs.

    December 18, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  59. Aaron

    Why does it matter? So the insurgents saw the video feeds. So what? Think about it: The camera from these drones will only display what's in front of them. Unless you can identify where the drone is, the image is useless. Even if you figure out that the drone is going to attack a specific target, you would have to be able to contact people at that target site to get them evacuated... oh wait, they're already blown to bits. This is a non-story.

    December 18, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  60. sd-mouth

    since our military procurement is based on "low bidder" and our government run by lobbyist, why should this be surprising? this is almost laughable if it weren't so serious.

    December 18, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  61. ronvan

    To a certain extent this doesn't surprise me. Secrets in our country has become a joke. However, knowing that we have some very smart people here my guidance to them to prevent a problem like this from happening again, would be to write a program that would identify anyone "hacking" into the system, track THEM and depending on location either arrest or drop some bombs. For those "do gooders" who would frown on this, then how about when "detected" you could send a signal to that point and send and electrical overload to burn their system up?

    December 18, 2009 at 7:47 am |
  62. Bert

    Knives can cut both ways, maybe we're still better off with a real live human at the controls, not module J-x34242-4. Video game warfare, the way of the future...

    December 17, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
  63. David

    How can they call it "hacking" when it wasn't even secured in the first place?

    December 17, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  64. ThundrbltMn

    Well, duh! What do you expect when using unencrypted transmissions?!?

    December 17, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  65. Dr. Howard Budwin

    Hi Rick: I'm not so sure the military is interested in total security. I invented an encryption software that takes 9 trillion yeats to hack. So far, no takers, and I have offered $50,000 ti anyone who could hackj into one of my files. My encryption could be adapted to the what else? The military loses drones and information. I just wanted to let you know that security is out there in the form of Praetorian Key Software.

    December 17, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  66. Ron

    From what I have read, the vieo downlinks are not encrypted.

    As a security professional, I would be looking into the risk and vulnerability assessments for this system. Are they current, when was an assessment done, etc.

    Since I do not know the state of the security plans for this platform, I will **assume** these were done and the risk was demed to be acceptable. However, given the availability of this cheap software, I would be looking into hardening the COMSEC, using disinformation to mislead the insurgents, or using the video feed hijack to pinpoint their actual locations.

    December 17, 2009 at 2:37 pm |