A thousand bucks for hacking drone

In December last year, Iran presented to the media disk imaging press release, which said the successful interception of the South American drone aircraft type RQ-170 Sentinel. In the middle of other versions of the interception device and figured the one that covered the use of special electronics, drowned the signal of GPS satellites, and replacing it with his own. As a result of these actions drone in automatic mode, focusing on the global navigation system, began to return home. Since real satellite signal was drowned incorrect, the RQ-170 sat on the Iranian airfield, taking him at his own "home". But this is only version, although quite plausible. The first reports of this method interception came soon after the publication of the press release, and they were made with reference to certain Iranian engineer, allegedly having a direct relation to the interception operations.

At the beginning of July this year, the United States entered the newcomer information, which in some measure can be considered a confirmation of the ability of the method described just above the interception. It turned out that a couple of years back South American military meant such course of events. In this regard, for everyone was open competition. To receive credit in a thousand bucks enthusiasts had any way to hack the control system of unmanned aircraft, and subject it to their own will. The first staff coped with the task of Texas Institute. "Attack," a group of scientists under the Todd Humphries underwent an unmanned helicopter used by the Institute for different tasks.

The methodology of the catch has been called "spoofing" (from the spoof — deception). The essence of the method is that a special radio transmitter forms the particular configuration which served on the drone. The characteristics of this signal are quite similar traits signals emitted by the satellite system GPS. The difference in the signals is that instrument-spoofer provokes incorrect definition navigator UAV own coordinates. So Makar, apparatus ceases to be aware of where exactly it is located. Ability to implement this technique a huge amount. For example, if the electronics drone has the ability to automatically return to its own airfield, you can drown out the signals from the control station and the "shove" the corrected GPS-signal. As a result of these actions apparatus "Get lost" and sit down at the airfield, the coordinates of which will be incorporated in the match program from returning. Specifically, in this way, according to unverified disk imaging, the Iranians used to intercept the "Sentinel".

Claimed to have made the Texas Institute for the device under the title GPS Spoofer by replacing the signal is able to influence the course of automatic flight drones and even provoke a tragedy. For the latter issue spoofer signal, corresponding coordinates of the area to other relief. Because of inconsistencies electrical map of the coordinates of which receives apparatus, and the actual terrain UAV simply can not "see" the mountain in front of him and crashed into it. But a far greater interest are the other nuances of the new device. According to the developers, GPS-spoofer can be built almost in the home criteria. All electrical components used therein are commercially available in the respective stores. The only discrepancy for widespread spoofer is the specific software. Employees of the Texas Institute are trying to secrecy, but it does not rule out the possibility of leaks is. In addition, Humphreys believes that the creation of such a device is not something a Rocket and easily accessible to people with the appropriate skills and abilities.

It turns out that the presence of suitable electrical component and a talent for writing programs virtually anyone can construct their own priborchik to replace the signals GPS. At first, this opportunity may knock on civilian navigators. Ordinary citizens, airlines, etc. use plain signal GPS. Accordingly, their navigators to a large extent affected the spoofer. If we take the war to NATO, at their disposal a large number of browsers that support encryption of the signal. Such equipment at the theoretical level is not afraid spoofer. The only problem that could happen — a signal device to "intercept" is so strong that the navigator will not be able to get information from the satellite. But this task can cope and more than ordinary electronic warfare, as for conventional damping unwanted signal is not necessarily to broadcast something other than the noise. Yet, the possibility of introducing spoofer against special equipment also exists. If the signal encryption system made by man, the other person can hack into them. So Makarov, the software GPS-spoofer can be reprogrammed and to bring to the respective state, then the device will be able to work on different "goals."

According to the results of several test interceptions Commission Pentagon concluded that the viability of a fundamentally made at the Texas Institute for the system. A team of scientists has received the promised prize of a thousand dollars. Of course, it's not so much the amount, so for her to make a huge discovery. At the same time, the successful resolution of the intended target completely can lead the team to a T. Humphreys' new orders for studies where bolshennymi budgets. Of course, the Texas scientists really have to work perfectly. Since 2009, the South American military conduct several projects at once, the purpose of which is to ensure the safety of over-radio communications, including control channels drones. The impetus for the deployment of this work is the experience of the Iraq war. In 2009, it became clear that Iraqi insurgents have taken about a year and watch the video coming from the American UAV. For this, they are not useful any special tools: just a computer with a satellite tuner, a satellite dish and a program for "satellite fishing." Full range of equipment for signal interception, including software, costing less than a thousand bucks.

After the fact of signal interception was discovered, the Americans revamped their own communication system drones. Now RQ-1 Predator, RQ-9 Reaper UAVs and all the new use encrypted data channel. The December incident with the machine RQ-170 Sentinel only spurred research in the field of security. In 2015, the South American government is going to allow operation of unmanned vehicles in critical services and security organizations. Of course, this brand new area of the UAV will be enticed by various public attention with bad intentions. Because work on encrypting data and protect it from interception must be strengthened and brought to a logical end.

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