A while back the US lost one of their drones due to a “technical difficulty.” The drone crash landed in Iran and the Iranian military forces recovered it shortly after. We all know what happened next. But what was that technical difficulty that the drone suffered? Well, Iran claims that they hacked the Drone’s GPS unit and tricked the drone into believing it was landing in a friendly airport.
The report was released yesterday by The Christian Science Monitor, it went into a small detail of how Iran “cut off communication links” to the drone and spoofing it’s “brain” into landing on command. An Iranian engineer claiming to be working in a department whose main purpose is to unlock drones’ intelligence and military secrets, said the GPS navigation units are the weakest point on the drones. The engineer explained that “by putting noise (jamming) on the communications between the drones and the control towers, you technically force the drone into autopilot. The autopilot feature means the drone no longer has a brain behind its actions. They [Iran] then trick the drone into landing in any location.
This technique “takes into account precise landing altitudes, as well as latitudinal and longitudinal data.” This, according to an Iranian official, made the drone “land on its own where we wanted it to, without having to crack the remote-control signals and communications” from the U.S. control center.
The engineers practically figured out the GPS was weak by reverse engineering other less sophisticated American drones that were shot down in recent years. To their surprise, every drone the USA uses has this weakness and can be taken down. If this is true, the US needs to find a way to fix this vulnerability as soon as possible before they have drones coming down every other week.