A United States drone was successfully hacked in the White sands Missile Range by a group of researchers. These researchers were given the opportunity to prove they could hack a US drone outside of the lab and in the field. Who gave the University of Texas researchers this opportunity? The Department of Homeland Security extended the invitation to see if the hacking could be done.
Even though that Iran may have used the same kind of hacking technology to gain control of a spy drone flying over their country, it’s thought it was more likely jamming tech. Jamming GPS is different than spoofing it as jamming tries to remove the signals and spoofing tries to hijack the signal and pretend to be the original one.
The DHS drone was successfully hacked by UT researchers using a spoofing method they detailed in an article titled, “.” It was in this article that attention started to arise of the methods that Professor Todd E. Humphreys and his researchers were referencing.
Now the article released in GPS World wasn’t exactly a how to spoof a drone expose article but a warning and things one can do to stop spoofing of GPS devices. In the GPS it started out saying, “Disruption created by intentional generation of fake GPS signals could have serious economic consequences. This article discusses how typical civil GPS receivers respond to an advanced civil GPS spoofing attack, and four techniques to counter such attacks.” The four ways someone can deploy anti-spoofing for GPS devices are listed as SSSC, NMA, Dual-Receiver and VSD.
Using the techniques warned about in the article, the UT researchers were successful in taking over control of the Department of Homeland Security drone and proving the possibility of drone hacking. The exact way they did it is explained as drone GPS spoofing, “the transmission of matched-GPS-signal-structure interference in an attempt to commandeer the tracking loops of a victim receiver and thereby manipulate the receiver’s timing or navigation solution. A spoofer can transmit its counterfeit signals from a stand-off distance of several hundred meters or it can be co-located with its victim.”
While the drone program expands across the United States fears are building that they could be taken down, commandeered and used to hurt people or much more serious consequences. Wait, did you think drones couldn’t fly over US territory? No, that was taken care of when a bill was passed in Congress around February 7th, 2012 when the , “Drones over U.S. get OK by Congress.” So get ready, the drones are coming in full force and by 2015 there will be licensing of commercial drones.
Now don’t think that this drone hacking or spoofing tactic just ends with unmanned aerial vehicles in the sky. Remember all that and other automakers are doing with Unmanned Vehicle Systems? Well those cars that are driven by computers are using GPS and spoofing and jamming can effect all those cars that will eventually be on our roads as well.
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