Iran Hacks U.S. Drone

by Project Censored
Published: Last Updated on

Although the news about the U.S. Drone captured by the Islamic Republic of Iran was announced in corporate media, there were a few very important points left out.  The US media news report failed to report that Iran claimed able to send out signals to the aircraft in order to confuse it and change its landing destination.  This confusion was made possible because of a weakness in the drone’s GPS.   The United States military officials knew about such weakness but they still continued to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on this aircraft and decided to send it out to the Middle East,

For some time the U.S. claimed that the drone captured by Iran was a fake but if that is so then why did President Obama ask that the aircraft be returned.  The Iranian engineer working on the CIA drone’s system told the Christian Science Monitor that Iran fooled the aircraft into touching down in Iran – instead of its programmed destination. The engineer claimed the electronic attack made it ‘land on its own where we wanted it to, without having to crack the remote-control signals and communications’ from the U.S. control centre.  The GPS navigation is the weakest point,’ he told the C.S. Monitor. ‘By putting noise (jamming) on the communications, you force the bird into autopilot. This is where the bird loses its brain.’

The C.S. Monitor highlighted a report in 2003 – GPS Spoofing Countermeasures – from Los Alamos National Laboratory that appeared to warn of the type of attack claimed by the Iranian engineer. ‘A more pernicious attack involves feeding the GPS receiver fake signals so that it believes it is located somewhere in space and time that it is not,’ the report states.

Title:  ‘We hacked U.S. drone’: Iran claims it electronically hijacked spy aircraft’s GPS and tricked aircraft into landing on its soil
Author: Craig Mackenzie and Mark Duell
Publication: Mail Online, 19 December 2011

Student Researcher: Bahareh Farhid, Sonoma State University
Faculty Evaluator: Sheila Katz, Sonoma State University