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(Wired)   Four years after it was revealed that US drone video feeds were broadcast in the clear and vulnerable to interception, most of them are now... still completely unencrypted   (wired.com) divider line 63
    More: Stupid, U.S., Reaper drones, AES, reapers, GPS signals, Danger Room, military officials, interceptions  
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3977 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Oct 2012 at 10:07 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-30 12:36:51 PM  

unlikely: It seems possible that the rationale is something like "We're leaving it open on purpose. You can watch the feed all you want, but there's nothing you can do to stop the sidewinder Hellfire missle from turning you into mist. And with a little luck that video will go viral and all your little terror buddies will see what's coming for them if they don't change their ululating ways."


FTFY
 
2012-10-30 12:37:17 PM  

serial_crusher: Joce678: managing decryption keys was a worse problem than having unencrypted video feeds

Maybe that's changed now that drones are so commonplace and are flying over different types of target (eg. the entire continental USA...)

Sounds like that's an entirely separate problem than the one that caused this. But even if they could have gotten performant hardware in there, this probably would have popped up.

The ones patrolling the border etc would probably be OK with key rotation causing a few hiccups in service, but if you've got a guy on the ground getting shot at who can't communicate with the drone because his keys are out of sync, that's a shiatty situation to be in.



Uh... command&control is already encrypted. It's just the video feeds that aren't. As for managing the keys, there's probably no reason why any of the standard key exchange protocols wouldn't work just fine. As someone else noted, it's probably more a matter of getting the rubber stamp of compliance than anything else.
 
2012-10-30 12:49:14 PM  
You know we are going to be pissed off as hell when someone else uses these things on us.
 
2012-10-30 12:54:23 PM  

Nightsweat: You know we are going to be pissed off as hell when someone else uses these things on us.


I don't see that happening any time soon. You kinda have to have a central chain of command and a fairly traceable signal to use drones.
 
2012-10-30 12:57:43 PM  

serial_crusher: Joce678: managing decryption keys was a worse problem than having unencrypted video feeds

Maybe that's changed now that drones are so commonplace and are flying over different types of target (eg. the entire continental USA...)

Sounds like that's an entirely separate problem than the one that caused this. But even if they could have gotten performant hardware in there, this probably would have popped up.


Nothing to do with hardware:

Every drone needs a separate key because you're screwed if they all have the same key and an enemy captures a receiver.

You can't have paired drones/receivers because you don't know who's going to need the signal. It's often a ground patrol who left base two days ago and doesn't have the right receiver.

Only solution: Broadcast the video unencrypted.

Hopefully they remembered to encrypt the drone's control channel....
 
2012-10-30 01:37:03 PM  

Joce678: Every drone needs a separate key because you're screwed if they all have the same key and an enemy captures a receiver.

You can't have paired drones/receivers because you don't know who's going to need the signal. It's often a ground patrol who left base two days ago and doesn't have the right receiver.


We've been doing encrypted communications in the military for a while now... we've got a pretty decent handle on how to solve those types of problems. It's simply a matter of money and paperwork.
 
2012-10-30 02:32:46 PM  

zarberg: Nightsweat: You know we are going to be pissed off as hell when someone else uses these things on us.

I don't see that happening any time soon. You kinda have to have a central chain of command and a fairly traceable signal to use drones.


No you don't. You need a signal and a pickup truck to drive away from retaliation. Make these things kamikazee and the requirements drop even further.
 
2012-10-30 02:55:28 PM  

Nightsweat: zarberg: Nightsweat: You know we are going to be pissed off as hell when someone else uses these things on us.

I don't see that happening any time soon. You kinda have to have a central chain of command and a fairly traceable signal to use drones.

No you don't. You need a signal and a pickup truck to drive away from retaliation. Make these things kamikazee and the requirements drop even further.


Doesn't kamikazee imply there's someone on board? If you're just going to crash it into something that's an awfully expensive guided missile. The whole thing with drones is we don't send humans into harms way, the people the drones are built to fight against don't really care about wasting people on blowing stuff up. If they're gonna "kamikazee" something, they'll just use a Cessna loaded with explosives.
 
2012-10-30 03:54:20 PM  

zarberg: Nightsweat: zarberg: Nightsweat: You know we are going to be pissed off as hell when someone else uses these things on us.

I don't see that happening any time soon. You kinda have to have a central chain of command and a fairly traceable signal to use drones.

No you don't. You need a signal and a pickup truck to drive away from retaliation. Make these things kamikazee and the requirements drop even further.

Doesn't kamikazee imply there's someone on board? If you're just going to crash it into something that's an awfully expensive guided missile. The whole thing with drones is we don't send humans into harms way, the people the drones are built to fight against don't really care about wasting people on blowing stuff up. If they're gonna "kamikazee" something, they'll just use a Cessna loaded with explosives.


It's certainly not expensive for a guided missile. If you can get a camera feed and pack the thing with explosives, it's going to cost in the singel thousands of dollars. That's cheap for a surveillance/assassination weapon.
 
2012-10-30 04:15:47 PM  
It's not like it's all that hard.
farm1.staticflickr.com
 
2012-10-30 04:17:00 PM  

zarberg: If you're just going to crash it into something that's an awfully expensive guided missile.


Guided missiles are expensive guided missiles.

Per unit cost for an MQ-1 Predator is $4 million. Per unit cost for a Tomahawk cruise missile is about $700K, so it's not all that much expensive.
 
2012-10-30 04:55:26 PM  

zarberg: Nightsweat: You know we are going to be pissed off as hell when someone else uses these things on us.

I don't see that happening any time soon. You kinda have to have a central chain of command and a fairly traceable signal to use drones.


You know there's plenty of research going on into making them autonomous right? Instead of maintaining a constant remote control signal, you give the thing its orders on the ground, launch it, then sit back and wait. As long as nobody sees the launch (or the landing if you care enough to get the drone back), you're fine.
Don't know whether that will be all figured out "any time soon", or whether costs will get down to the point where our current crop of enemies will consider them disposable.
 
2012-10-31 12:52:57 AM  

Maud Dib: One good scenario from this would be some jackhole Taliban farker watching the feed and suddenly recognizes his house seconds before the Hellfire missile turns him into goo.

OH HAI!!!

[dronewarsuk.files.wordpress.com image 850x637]


Tom Clancy, Executive Orders

A big hooo-rah
 
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