Drone Fleets Are Vulnerable to GPS Spoofing & Can Be Hijacked By Terrorist

Drone Fleets Are Vulnerable to GPS Spoofing & Can Be Hijacked By Terrorist

Spying drones have always gone through with several controversies along with a lots of technical & security issues. Yet again a team at the University of Texas has managed to find a vulnerability in drones that allows an attacker to gain control of the unmanned vehicle and change its course. Professor Todd Humphreys and the team spoof GPS receivers in order to take control of the drones
According to an exclusive report of Fox News - A small surveillance drone flies over an Austin stadium, diligently following a series of GPS waypoints that have been programmed into its flight computer. By all appearances, the mission is routine. Suddenly, the drone veers dramatically off course, careering eastward from its intended flight path. A few moments later, it is clear something is seriously wrong as the drone makes a hard right turn, streaking toward the south. Then, as if some phantom has given the drone a self-destruct order, it hurtles toward the ground. Just a few feet from certain catastrophe, a safety pilot with a radio control saves the drone from crashing into the field.

Last year we came to know that a stealthy key-logger has hit the U.S. Drone logging pilots’ every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other war zones. Later Iran took responsibility of that cyber attack. But spoofers are a new problem for GPS-guided drones, allowing hackers to trick navigation systems with false information. Humphreys and the team have designed a device costing less than $1,000 that sends out a GPS signal stronger than the ones coming down from orbiting satellites. At first, the rogue signal mimics the official one in order to trick the drone, and once it’s accepted new commands can be sent to the UAV. US government says its aware of the potential dangers of spoofing, and officials from the FAA and Department of Homeland Security have seen Humphreys’ demonstration first hand. The Department of Homeland Security reportedly has a program in place to try and solve the problem of GPS interference, but it’s aimed at trying to deal with jammed signals, not spoofed ones.

-Source (FOX News, Slashgear)


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