As Sarao faces charges for crashing the US market for "spoofing" stocks, there is another seemingly much graver 'hack' that is now publicly available for all to utilize (and has been). As SputnikNews reports, the information necessary to hack a military drone is freely available to the public via a simple Google search that explains how to successfully "spoof" GPS signals. NATO has admitted this is possible in a 2013 report, and as we have previously noted Iran has already allegedly brought down and reverse-engineered a US drone.
The information necessary to hack a military drone is freely available to the public, in academic publications and online documents, according to an Israeli defense manufacturer.
One such paper was published just a month before Iran claimed it downed a CIA stealth drone in 2011, Esti Peshin said Monday at the Defensive Cyberspace Operations and Intelligence conference in Washington DC. Peshin is the director of cyber programs for Israel Aerospace Industries.
A 2011 study, titled "The Requirements for Successful GPS Spoofing Attacks," explains how to fool GPS sensors like those in drones by mimicking GPS signals.
There's no way to know, Peshin said, if this report in fact directly informed the Iranians, but it does go to show how easily available this information is.
"It’s a PDF file… essentially, a blueprint for hackers," Peshin said. "You can Google, just look up 'Tippenhauer' — it’s the first result in Google. Look up 'UAV cyberattacks' — it’s the third one. 'UAV GPS spoofing attacks' — the first one."
The study explains how to feed the GPS system fake signals so the drone ends up "losing the ability to calculate its position." The study then goes on to describe ways to prevent these kinds of attacks as well.
A 2013 assessment from NATO itself detailed the risk of drones being hacked and commandeered.
"At the end of the article, as if this was not enough, they listed several UAVs and said these are riskier than others by the way," Peshin said.
Included in that short list are the MQ-9 Reaper and the RQ-170 Sentinel, the drone Iran claimed it commandeered and captured.
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So with iran already having achieved success in hacking a drone... and now looking to unleash suicide drones, it seems cyber-attacks and spoofing just took a turn for the much more serious.