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Thread: Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones

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    Re: Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones

    I think there might be another element at play here.

    Data is only sensitive when it's pertinent ... For example, if the drone is reporting its position (telemetry), that information is only applicable for that instant. Someone who intercepts it can't do anything with it .. because the circumstance has changed. So, the data, though sensitive, does not need to be protected because, by the time it is intercepted, it is no longer true and, thus, no longer of any value.

    Similarly, if the drone were downlinking photos of terrain as it passes over, that info doesn't need to be protected because it has no practical value. By the time they receive the picture, the drone is no longer there. Besides, if they wanted pictures of the terrain, they could just use a Canon SureShot and get their own.

    I would expect that a data analysis was done to determine the need to protect the data based not on the information, but on the potential for exploitation.

    Applying blanket rules to unique situations inevitably leads to the wrong conclusions.

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    Re: Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones

    This data could be extremely useful to the Taliban. Looking at this telemetry would let you know the aircraft's location letting you give advance warning for your fighters to hide, or even simply drop their weapons and act like civilians. Even better, you know for certain if they have identified you, letting you relocate before an attack can be commenced. You can determine how effective your camouflage is against aerial photography and test new schemes if your current stuff doesn't work. Finally, in a combat situation, knowing you have been located lets you scatter or hit the dirt to minimize casualties, especially if the aircraft is performing the attack.

    That is what I came up with in 5 minutes of writing that post. I am sure the Taliban, who bought the receivers in the first place, put a little more thought into it. The Enigma was cracked in WW2 solely because the Germans broadcasted the same weather data both encrypted and in the clear, leading to a known plain-text attack. In fighting a war of information, small mistakes can have large impacts.

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    Re: Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones

    Quote Originally Posted by Busted View Post
    I think there might be another element at play here.

    Data is only sensitive when it's pertinent ... For example, if the drone is reporting its position (telemetry), that information is only applicable for that instant. Someone who intercepts it can't do anything with it .. because the circumstance has changed. So, the data, though sensitive, does not need to be protected because, by the time it is intercepted, it is no longer true and, thus, no longer of any value.

    Similarly, if the drone were downlinking photos of terrain as it passes over, that info doesn't need to be protected because it has no practical value. By the time they receive the picture, the drone is no longer there.

    I would expect that a data analysis was done to determine the need to protect the data based not on the information, but on the potential for exploitation.

    Applying blanket rules to unique situations inevitably leads to the wrong conclusions.
    BINGO! Get this man a Cigar!

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    Re: Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    This data could be extremely useful to the Taliban. Looking at this telemetry would let you know the aircraft's location letting you give advance warning for your fighters to hide, or even simply drop their weapons and act like civilians. Even better, you know for certain if they have identified you, letting you relocate before an attack can be commenced. You can determine how effective your camouflage is against aerial photography and test new schemes if your current stuff doesn't work. Finally, in a combat situation, knowing you have been located lets you scatter or hit the dirt to minimize casualties, especially if the aircraft is performing the attack.

    That is what I came up with in 5 minutes of writing that post. I am sure the Taliban, who bought the receivers in the first place, put a little more thought into it. The Enigma was cracked in WW2 solely because the Germans broadcasted the same weather data both encrypted and in the clear, leading to a known plain-text attack. In fighting a war of information, small mistakes can have large impacts.
    I'm sorry the fact that some data was not encrypted indicating a total dumb dumb meltdown of pre-planning, engineering, and operations in the field, just doesn't add up. There have to be good reasons why some data is not encrypted, and one must always be aware the media will exaggerate a story to make a sell. Hell the FAUX network has been caught completely fabricating things.

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    Re: Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones

    I'm sorry the fact that some data was not encrypted indicating a total dumb dumb meltdown of pre-planning, engineering, and operations in the field, just doesn't add up.
    Why not? It isn't the first time such a thing has happened, and it sure as hell won't be the last.

    There have to be good reasons why some data is not encrypted, and one must always be aware the media will exaggerate a story to make a sell.
    No there isn't. Just like there wasn't a good reason why Mark 14 torpedo failed to work reliably during WW2, or the M-16 was issued with improper ammunition increasing weapon jamming in Vietnam.

    Hell the FAUX network has been caught completely fabricating things.
    Not in this case. Its clear that the Taliban have been intercepting our signals, and that technology exists that could have prevented it.

    Claiming "but the military can't make mistakes", especially considering numerous counterexamples, is not a valid argument. Encrypted video feeds needs to be added ASAP, and the people responsible for this mistake need to removed to prevent further problems. Claiming it doesn't exist just aids our foes.

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