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Pentagon: Insurgents hacked drones with cheap software

By Associated Press
Thursday, December 17, 2009 20:55 EDT
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Insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan have intercepted live video feeds from Predator drones, a key weapon in a Pentagon spy system that serves as the military’s eyes in the sky for surveillance and intelligence collection.

Though militants could see the video, there is no evidence they were able to jam the electronic signals from the unmanned aerial craft or take control of the vehicles, a senior defense official said Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence issues.

Obtaining the video feeds can provide insurgents with critical information about what the military may be targeting, including buildings, roads and other facilities.

Shiite fighters in Iraq used off-the-shelf software programs such as SkyGrabber — available for as little as $25.95 on the Internet — to regularly capture drone video feeds, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The interception, first done there at least a year ago, was possible because the remotely flown planes had unprotected communications links.

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