Iraqis Intercept Military Drones Using $26 SkyGrabber Software

Image: Broken City Lab

In Iraq, insurgents have intercepted data from US Predator drones using a $25.95 Windows application called SkyGrabber. The software lets people track drones undetected. CNET has more:

(Militants) were able to determine which areas of the country were under surveillance by the U.S. military, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, adding that video feeds from drones in Afghanistan also appear to have been compromised.

Meanwhile, a senior Air Force officer said Wednesday that a wave of new surveillance aircraft, both manned and unmanned, were being deployed to Afghanistan to bolster “eyes in the sky” protection for the influx of American troops ordered by President Obama.

This apparent security breach, which had been known in military and intelligence circles to be possible, arose because the Predator unmanned aerial vehicles do not use encryption in the final link to their operators on the ground.

This probably wasn’t exactly the market SkyGrabber had in mind. It’s advertised as an “offline satellite Internet downloader. It intercepts satellite data (movie, music, pictures) downloaded by other users and saves information in your hard disk. So, you’ll get new movie, best music and funny pictures for free.”

SkySoftware, the company behind Skygrabber, also sells LanGrabber, which “intercepts network downloads started by other users and saves information on your hard disk.” The SkyGrabber domain is registered to someone in the Ukraine.

Not exactly hardcore hacking…but who would have thought it can download information from drones?

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Written by Drea Knufken

Drea Knufken

Currently, I create and execute content- and PR strategies for clients, including thought leadership and messaging. I also ghostwrite and produce press releases, white papers, case studies and other collateral.