Statesman: UT Researchers Demonstrate Vulnerability of Civilian Drones to Hacking, July 2012

“After a dress rehearsal at Royal-Memorial Stadium, University of Texas researchers traveled to New Mexico last month and demonstrated for U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials how an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, can be commandeered by hacking into its navigation system.

The technique, known as spoofing, created false Global Positioning System signals that tricked the drone’s GPS receiver into steering a new course.

The Global Positioning System, which uses satellites and radio signals, is not encrypted for civilian uses, and that raises concern about the federal government’s plan to permit thousands of drones in U.S. air space for commercial, law enforcement and university purposes, said Todd Humphreys, an assistant professor in UT’s Cockrell School of Engineering. “The dirty fact is it’s an open signal, and easily hacked,” Humphreys said.”

Continue reading the Austin American Statesman article.