The Daily Outrage: U.S. enemies tracking Predator drones with simple software

WHAT: Skygrabber, $25.95 online

WHAT’S HAPPENING: Iranian-backed Shiite fighters in Iraq are using inexpensive consumer programs to intercept live video feeds from $4.5 million U.S. Predator drones, hacking into information that could be used to evade or monitor military surveillance and attacks. But so far, at least, the hackers have not managed to jam any drone missions.

HOW: Software marketed to intercept downloaded music, photos, video, programs and other free legal content also can grab military video feeds by taking advantage of an unencrypted downlink between the unmanned craft and ground control. By contrast, any decent ATM or online monetary transaction is powerfully encrypted.

WHY IT’S A BAD IDEA: The Air Force is buying as many as 375 Reaper drones, a more powerful new model costing as much as $12 million each, and these have video feeds that can apparently can be intercepted, too.

Bay Area NewsLocal

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