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Squawks & HeadlinesTexas college students hijack drone aircraft

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Texas college students hijack drone aircraft

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University of Texas at Austin managed to take control of an aerial drone’s course (www.geek.com) More...

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tucanofulano
Tucano Fulano 9
When someone from Texas can do this so can someone from Teheran. Ground them all.
preacher1
preacher1 7
It does give a little pause for concern there. If these kids can do it, so can the bad guys.
jnavratil
John Navratil 3
Preacher1,

Watch your tongue, man;) These aren't kids! These are UT Engineering students! That's almost as good as Rice!
onceastudentpilot
tim mitchell 4
And they really thought this wasn't going to happen????????? people break into different organizations data systems everyday just to see if they can do it; this is why the Government highers hackers.
skuttlerats
Jeffrey Babey 4
Anything built by man can be conquered by man - General George S Patton jr.
grinch59
Gene Nowak 6
And we are going to allow them to fly freely over the United States! Another decision that needs rethinking.
mpradel
Marcus Pradel 2
not freely, "under Special Authorization from the FAA'..

Useless false sense of security!
grinch59
Gene Nowak 1
True. But once it is airborne, who will be the final pilot? The good guys or the bad guys? Ground them in the US or possibly face a security breach.
Tourillon
A bit paranoiac no?
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Maybe. But everything the government does changes from the original intent over time. First of all it puts more burden on taxpayers. Second, the bad things that can happen with this outweigh the positives.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, since Clinton turned off the encryption several years back and basically put GPS out to the public, I would think they at least need to go back to some type encryption for these vehicles, to where they could only be operated by the user. I kinda think that was the intent here but like I said earlier, we are dealing with the government so whether anything will be learned is a guess.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
It's nice to think they would only be used to catch bad guys and do good deeds. But we all know it will morph into much,much more.
preacher1
preacher1 1
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 2
If drones are allowed here it will just be a matter of time before the bad happens. That's as dumb as flying for 30 years after D B Cooper with unsealed cockpits.
Derg
Roland Dent 2
Glad they did..shows how incompetent the design is.
BFInative
Tom Vance 2
Another aspect of this article, is I have not read anywhere, that the Drone in Iran was ever claimed to be a US Drone. How do the authors of this story allude to the fact the the DHS, enacted this test 'because' they feel Iran took over control of that Drone? That statement in the article tells me it was ours!. I have never read anywhere that the US Military claimed that Drone.
cm5299
Chuck Me 2
Looks like the drone got "lightsquared". :)

Can we finally admit gps technology has some serious weaknesses and work on fixing them?
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 2
Just one more (of hundreds) reason only the military needs drones. We don't need them flying all over the US.
NSGDC
Scott Keller 2
We did....and I'm pretty sure the administration even asked for it back. Mahmoud declined. Tucano Fulano said it best:

"When someone from Texas can do this so can someone from Teheran. Ground them all."
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, it was a controlled situation so if the government learned anything and puts it to use, maybe we'll be better for it, BUT, we are talking about the government here.LOL
Tourillon
I read somewhere that it was a US U.A.V. but I don't remember where.
NBGTowerGuy
DB Cooper never entered the cockpit, he jumped out the back door, thus the addition of the "Cooper Vein" on the aft airstairs of the 727 seriers.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
I know that, but it started the trend of high jacking planes here. Other countries had already been sealing cockpits by then. No matter what happens in back, land where you want. From that point on useless to try high jacking.
jkudlick
CNN, Fox News, etc. I don't have links handy, but DoD admitted they were missing a similar UAV.
Tourillon
Creepy considering last night I watched a show of NCIS Los Angles where somebody did the same thing but they dramatized it with the drone having a hell fire missile and so on...
Pileits
Pileits 1
Just a mid air collision waiting to happen. Coming up on the Evening news shortly.
BFInative
Tom Vance 1
I wonder if these guys are related to the Drone developer in Texas Univeristy, that was thought to be the source of the Saratoga,CA Drone photos 2007, though superimposed, showing a Drone with the back ground in the Hills above Saratoga, the related photos in Capitola,CA over the PG&E power pole and then found to actually, be in Campbell,CA. As far as I know, the case is still open and being investigated. The Drone photos used in 2007 were thought to be real models, though not large, but obviously digitally alerterd, this makes me wonder especially with a texas connection.
jamesb59
@Fulano and Keller: It happened in TEXAS because the Feds cannot touch us!
Jecain
Jonathan Cain 1
...interesting
lohlemeier
lohlemeier 1
What concerns me more than the students taking control of the drone is that they can "spoof" a GPS signal. What does that mean for regular pilots? What if you're doing a GPS approach and someone is sending out false GPS data?
dred44
Edward Hoff 1
Perhaps a revolving system like automobiles use with their embedded key-less openers. something with multilevel codes that only react to the mother units codes that are random. Who ever has the solution will be filthy rich.
navydoc192
steven meyer 1
Obviously we need a better firewall. The GPS signals that the drones use should also transmit a code to authenticate the signal-one that cannot be reproduced, and one that is changed hourly.
earendil
earendil 1
Well, it is a widely known fact that GPS is not a fool-proof navigation system. Being a system that relies on low power (below the thermal noise level) radio signal, it is a system that is prone to spoofing and jamming. It is easy (albeit illegal) to procure a GPS jammer and the use of devices of this kind by civilian users trying to hide their whereabouts has resulted in aviation related problem in several airports (especially with their GBAS/LAAS), EWR being one of them. The issues that come as a package with GPS signal has prevented the use of GPS in high-integrity applications such as CATIIIb landings.

The study conducted at UT Austin is very commendable because it allows researchers to understand better spoofing mechanism. Actually there is a lot of research on how to detect spoofing, from satellite discrimination to signal structure correlation.

And for one thing, bad GPS affects not only UAV but also any manned aircraft. Coupled with IMC, poor situational awareness, depending solely on GPS can result in a very serious accident.
smez
smez 1
earendil
earendil 1
There are signals embedded in the GPS signal that cannot be reproduced. They are known as the P(Y) signal and the M-code. But they are available only to military users. There are works available that show how to do GPS signal authentication; It is still at a very early stage of development but we could expect this to be the norm in the future.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Well, I didn't see that show but I can see where the possibilities are endless if it fell into the wrong hands. Tis good this be found out as the FAA is still considering the permitting process. I don't think folks totally understand all the ramnifications of things they may do these days. The devil is in the details.
Trailboss88
Mike Eidsmoe -1
I hope the fix is soon to be released. Publishing a major flaw in our drones on the internet isn't a bright idea. Terrorist have internet too.
jkudlick
They probably already know how, but just don't have the equipment yet. DHS put them up to the task, and they were able to do it. I think the real error lies in using unencrypted GPS for guidance.
zennermd
Isn't that how Iran did it. They couldn't take control of the drone, but they could take control of the GPS guidence system.
jkudlick
Not sure, but that's most likely the way they did it.
Tourillon
I was asking my self the same question.
jnavratil
John Navratil 1
I'm not GPS maven, but my understanding is that the position is calculated from the relative delay in receiving timestamped signals. I'd like to know if there is ANYTHING to encrypt. I suppose one could encrypt the timestamp and have the engines use a known public key to decrypt that. Of course, that would break each and every GPS in place. SA used a dithering algorithm which only the military could reverse but this would not protect from someone spoofing.

Anyone out there with the proper solution?
jkudlick
RSA keys change the 6-digit number they display every 60 seconds, and are used to help authenticate user logins on secure servers. It shouldn't be too hard to add some sort of security code to the signal. Either that, or DoD can reencrypt the signal like it was before Clinton ordered the encryption turned off.

[This poster has been suspended.]

Derg
Roland Dent 1
Shame the Russin sat system is like 4 times better......
silverzdfltrack
Bob Ziehm 0
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Researchers Prove Unmanned Drones Can Be Hacked

University of Texas researchers say they can hack unmanned flying drones after a dare from the feds

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/videos/news/researchers-prove-unmanned-drones-can-be-hacked/vcZr2/