Drone hacking? Really? With off the shelf software?
Militants in Iraq have used $26 off-the-shelf software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, potentially providing them with information they need to evade or monitor U.S. military operations. Senior defense and intelligence officials said Iranian-backed insurgents intercepted the video feeds by taking advantage of an unprotected communications link in some of the remotely flown planes’ systems. Shiite fighters in Iraq used software programs such as SkyGrabber — available for as little as $25.95 on the Internet — to regularly capture drone video feeds, according to a person familiar with reports on the matter.
SkyGrabber is software that’s usually used to download movies from satellites. It appears you can just hook it up to a satellite dish for for its “connection” and you’re off. Instead of downloading the latest Vampire movie, you could get video feeds from the drones. Wild.
In the MakerShed
ArduPilot is a full-featured autopilot based on the Arduino open-source hardware platform. It uses infrared (thermopile) sensors for stabilization and GPS for navigation. Requires a GPS module and an infrared XY sensor (not included). The autopilot handles both stabilization and navigation, eliminating the need for a separate stabilization system. It also supports a “fly-by-wire” mode that can stabilize an aircraft when flying manually under RC control, making it easier and safer to fly.