Information Warfare: All Your UAVs Are Belong To Us

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October 17, 2011: It recently came to light that the U.S. Air Force base where most air force UAV operators are stationed had been infected. This led to speculation about hackers taking control of American UAVs. All air force Predator and Reaper UAVs are operated, via satellite, from this one base in the United States. 

All this was bad reporting. Key loggers are distributed to steal information, not seize control of UAVs. Key loggers secretly record everything typed on the infected PCs keyboard, and send it to the hacker who planted the key logger program. The malware that had gotten into the air base network was a actually credential theft program, not a key logger. Credential theft involves stealing login information (user ID and password), in this case the program was aimed at stealing such information for online games.

The air force initially refused to discuss the situation, and the media was left with what little rumor and gossip there was coming from air force personnel. To halt the speculation that this was some kind of major data breach, the air force eventually provided the details, which showed the combination of rumor, paranoia and poor reporting led to a great, if inaccurate, story.

Normally, the air force likes to keep details of these incidents, so that the people trying to penetrate air force networks (for whatever reason) don't get any useful feedback on how well, or not, there penetration attempt went.

 

 


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