Iraqi resistance hacks US drones

According to the Wall Street Journal, US surveillance drones (you know, the future of military surveillance…) have allegedly been hacked by Iranian-backed Shi’ite forces in Iraq, using $26 off-the-shelf Russian software called Skygrabber – and they may have been compromised in Afghanistan too.

It is, as my informant, Aaron Martin, points out, amazing that the military surveillance systems of the world’s most resourced and technologically-developed military could be hacked so easily and for so long without notice. It also makes me wonder how many other networked surveillance systems would be vulnerable or are being hacked using the same or similar systems. If for example, organised criminal gangs could access the video surveillance systems of major cities, this would further call into question the effectiveness of these systems. Or alternatively, of course, it could point the way to a more accountable, open-access kind of surveillance – as Aaron and I are exploring in a paper we are currently writing.

Author: David

I'm David Murakami Wood. I live on Wolfe Island, in Ontario, and am Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Surveillance Studies and an Associate Professor at Queen's University, Kingston.

3 thoughts on “Iraqi resistance hacks US drones”

  1. Hey, the drones are the in the news again. This time the problem is that the US military is increasingly overwhelmed by all the video data being captured by drones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Go figure

  2. Cheers, Aaron… yeah, that doesn’t surprise me… it’s one of the reasons that the NSA is building this massive data warehouse in Utah. When people talk about the ‘cloud’ and all this data that’s supposedly just going to float around somewhere, they don’t seem to realise that audiovisual data still takes up massive amounts of storage space, and as the pictures get better, it takes more, even as the cost of storage gets less and storage media can store more. And then you’ve still got to analyse the stuff, and video analystics are still not advanced enough to do it all automatically…


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