High Tech

Iraqi Insurgents Hack Drones

Iraqi insurgents have reportedly used $26 off-the-shelf software to hack into the U.S. military's unmanned Predator drones and obtain live video feeds. The information could potentially help insurgents evade or monitor U.S. military operations. The Wall Street Journal reports that senior defense and intelligence officials believe that Iranian-backed insurgents exploited an unencrypted communications link between the aircraft and ground control, using software programs such as SkyGrabber to regularly capture drone feeds. The U.S. government has known about this weakness since the 1990s, but assumed that local adversaries wouldn't know how to exploit it. So far, there's no evidence that militants were able to control the drones or interfere with their flights, but the breach is potentially serious, given the Obama administration's heavy reliance in unmanned drones to monitor and stalk insurgents in areas where troop deployment is risky or politically unpleasant. Military and intelligence officials said that the U.S. is working to correct the problem by encrypting video feeds from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.