With £650 and a Team of Geniuses, You Too Can Hack a Government Drone

By Adrian Covert on at

With the drone era upon us — drones flying through both UK and US airspace, no less — securing these pilotless aircraft is of the utmost importance because of the threat an errant vehicle could pose to civilians. But in answering a dare from the Department of Homeland Security in the US, a team of researchers from the University of Texas proved that a government drone could be hijacked with a GPS spoofing device made for less than £650.

According to Fox News, the researchers were able to hijack the drone and set it on a path of destruction (without actually destroying anything, mind you), buy analysing the GPS signal the drone was locked in on, then sending a stronger signal for it to pick up on.

Initially, his signal matches that of the GPS system so the drone thinks nothing is amiss. That's when he attacks — sending his own commands to the onboard computer, putting the drone at his beck and call.

Obviously, it's not like just anyone can do this. But the thought that a group of people with the proper collection of brains and resources could launch missiles from a drone (or turn a drone itself into a weapon) is a scary thought. [Fox News via Reuters]

Image via AP