Thursday, December 17, 2009

Terrorists: Not as dumb as you think.


Whoopsie:

Iraqi insurgents using $26 software to monitor Predator video feeds

We can't say we've ever heard of a $26 Russian program called SkyGrabber before, but it's about to get famous real fast -- according to the Wall Street Journal, Iraqi insurgents have been regularly using the satellite-snooping software to monitor live Predator video feeds. Apparently the Predator transmits video over an unencrypted link, so there's no major hacking or security breach going on here, but it's obviously a huge issue -- and we'd say the bigger problem is that Pentagon officials have known about this flaw since the 1990s, but they didn't think insurgents would figure out how to exploit it. Way to underestimate, guys. The WSJ says the military is working to encrypt all Predator feeds from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, but it's slow going because the Predator network is more than a decade old and based on proprietary tech -- too bad it's not proprietary enough to keep prying eyes out of it.

In other words, those ragged insurgents are smarter than, say, 98 per cent of Canada's Blogging Tories. And I'm being generous.

P.S. "Proprietary tech"? Another good argument for open source, methinks.

8 comments:

liberal supporter said...

Great way to get everyone to download a trojan bundled with SkyTracker, eh?

Cherniak_WTF said...

I think the title of this post is wrong.
It should read something like: "American military and planners, a lot more stupid than expected"...

double nickel said...

@lib supporter: only if you have a need to shoot down Predators.

LeDaro said...

I agree with C_WTF. Moreover terrorists for us are freedom fighters for the other side. Quite bluntly put US has terrorized Iraq and Afghanistan. In case of Afghanistan we are involved too and now the torturegate.

Saskboy said...

Security through obscurity, works every time, eh?

The Seer said...

liberal supporter embarrasses me. I thought of CSIS slipping a back door into Obama's Blackberry; I didn't think of a trojan bundled with SkyTracker. They're absolutely delighted telling everyone about how dumb they were.

liberal supporter said...

Well the story doesn't really ring true. Why would the drone use a satellite uplink to send its video? If not, and it beams direct to ground, how would SkyGrabber let you see that? You would have to point your dish at a moving target somehow which happens to use satellite frequencies and modulation.

Maybe the CIA discovered that the bad guys no longer allow Windows Updates, which is the best way to get snoopers and trackers onto millions of machines overnight.

The Seer said...

Update on this business at http://blog.usni.org/2009/12/22/the-best-defense-against-cyber-insurgents-is-a-good-offense/