Popular Science: Are there electronic defenses against drones? December 2014

“In the summer of 2012, a small robotic helicopter, painted Texas Longhorns orange and white, climbed into the air above the team’s empty football field in Austin. Then the device suddenly plummeted toward the grass, its controller overridden by a team of university- sanctioned hackers. A few days later, in the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the same group (with permission) easily hijacked the university’s $80,000 military-grade drone.

“No one had ever done the attack that we did before,” says Todd Humphreys, director of the Radionavigation Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin. At least not in the declassified world. But that doesn’t mean it’s not easy to replicate. Humphreys’s team used a relatively simple hand-built radio device to exploit a major loophole in drone security: the devices’ reliance on unauthenticated position data beamed from GPS satellites.”

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