Civilian Drones in US Could Possibly Be Hijacked for Use in Attacks

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A small Draganflyer X6 drone is photographed in January 2009 during a test flight in Mesa County, Colo., with a Forward Looking Infer Red payload. (AP)

A small Draganflyer X6 drone is photographed in January 2009 during a test flight in Mesa County, Colo., with a Forward Looking Infer Red payload. (AP)

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via Mark Karlin:

The Federal Aviation Administration is planning on authorizing drone use that might result in 30,000 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) cruising through US airspace in the next decade. (There are already drones flying intelligence and law enforcement surveillance over American territory.)  Many of these will be for commercial use (for instance, FedEX is preparing to use drones for deliveries to smaller markets).

But as of today, such drones present a chilling possibility beyond the already invasive loss of privacy and crowding of the skies: using a non-encrypted GPS system, the drones can possibly be hijacked and used for destructive purposes, potentially as bomb delivery vehicles by domestic or foreign terrorists. [...]

[M]ilitary drones are encrypted and less vulnerable to hijackings, although they can be jammed and disrupted in certain circumstances – which possibly explains how the Iranians captured a fully intact CIA surveillance drone. [...]

This means that civilian drones could possibly be manipulated in the future to crash into planes, to bomb targets, or for other deadly purposes. [...]

Another major concern is that technology and software capabilities become less expensive and more accessible over time. [...]

As [Assistant Professor Todd Humphreys of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin] has pointed out, given the apparent ability to hijack drones, planes wouldn't have necessarily been needed to accomplish the 9-11 attacks. Terrorists could just hijack a few drones, attach bombs, and fly them into their targets.

Then, of course, there is another major concern.  At what point will those who wish to do harm to the US – including domestic terrorists of the Timothy McVeigh variety -- just simply be able to buy their own drones on the black market?

Please read the whole post here.

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