Not Just drones: militants can snoop on most U.S. warplanes

us air force drone

All is takes is $26 worth of software and satellite dishes and anyone can track what US warplanes and drones are seeing. How could this be? It’s because data sent from the planes to the ground is not encrypted. The military has known about this vulnerability for years but chose to ignore it. Now they’re engaged in desperate CYA. Yesterday they said the feeds couldn’t be encrypted. Today it appears they don’t trust their own troops. I think the real story is a leaden, ponderous bureaucracy made a really stupid mistake and instead of just admitting it and saying we’ll fix it fast, will just make things worse by clumsy PR.

“Can these feeds be encrypted with 99.5 percent chance of no compromise? Absolutely! Can you guarantee that all the encryption keys make it down to the lowest levels in the Army or USMC? No way,”adds a second Air Force officer, familiar with the ROVER issue. “Do they trust their soldiers/Marines with these encryption keys? Don’t know that.”


  • woody

    Reality: It’s not that they don’t trust their people with the keys. You can make the keys pretty easily, re-code them, etc. The problem is they used custom hardware instead of off-the-shelf tech, and retrofitting them would have delayed their use. Just like they were shipping Humves without full armor because it would had delayed needed vehicles. They were rushed into war with known issues. Mind you, this was a known issue back in the 90s, but it’s one that’s not been addressed in so long that it’s now affecting things.

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