Last year a U.S. military drone doing reconnaissance in Iran disappeared. Iranian government officials there said they hadby interfering with its GPS signals.
Such an attack, called GPS spoofing, had previously been considered theoretical. A research team at the University of Texas at Austin has demonstrated that the GPS signals of an unmanned aerial vehicle can be commandeered remotely. This demonstration highlights security concerns with plans toby 2015.
"I think this demonstration should certainly raise some eyebrows and serve as a wake-up call of sorts as to how safe our critical infrastructure is from spoofing attacks," Milton R. Clary, a senior Department of Defense (DoD) Aviation Policy Analyst at Overlook Systems Technologies, said in the university's news release on the research released today.
The scenarios are worrisome. Drones could be re-routed to crash into people or buildings. Drones used in air strikes could be directed at other targets.
During the demo, which was first reported by Fox News, the researchers were able to take control of a drone from a distance of about a kilometer, or two-thirds of a mile.