The 21st Century Phenomenon



12 people were killed, on Thursday 12/17/2009, by two separate UAV drones missile attacks in the FATA border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It seems that unmanned drones are the dominant weapon in the war on terror.

War is a constant evolution of adaptation, measures and counter-measures from the stones thrown on each other, tens of thousands of years ago, up to the most sophisticated USA – UAV technology.

Israel is using, extensively, UAV for over 20 years. Over that period of time Lebanese Hizbullah and Palestinians learned to deceive the Israeli drones, to change all the time their cars and in Gaza – Hamas operatives used to surround themselves with children to avoid a drone missile attack (see – TECHNOLOGICAL WARFARE).

The Associated Press news agency quoted, on Thursday 12/17/2009, a USA Department of Defense official as saying that Shiaa fighters in Iraq are said to have used off-the-shelf software programs such as Sky-Grabber, designed to use a satellite dish to intercept transmissions of movies and music, to capture the footage broadcasted from USA drones to their ground station. The hacking was possible because the remotely flown planes have an unprotected communications link. Obtaining such video feeds could provide insurgents with information about sites the military might be planning to target. The military has also found evidence of at least one instance where insurgents in Afghanistan monitored drone video, the official added.

The breach of the Pentagon surveillance system’s security in Iraq is said to have come to light when footage shot by a Predator drone was found on the laptop of an apprehended insurgent.

A senior Pentagon official is quoted by the Wall Street Journal as saying that although militants were able to view the video, there was no evidence that they were able to jam electronic signals from the aircraft or take control of them. The unnamed official said the USA defense department had addressed the issue by working to encrypt all video feeds provided by UAVs in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Responding to the reports, a Pentagon spokesman said: “The Department of Defense constantly evaluates and seeks to improve the performance and security of our various systems and platforms…As we identify shortfalls, we correct them as part of a continuous process of seeking to improve capabilities and security. As a matter of policy, we don’t comment on specific vulnerabilities or intelligence issues” he said.
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