Video Feeds From Unmanned US Predator Drones Intercepted Using $26 Software

The Register reports that Iraqi insurgents have had their laptops searched and that the video feeds from unmanned US Predator drone aircraft have been found on them.

The drones provide video reconnaissance to remote viewers/pilots, and are good for showing enemy troop movements, etc.

However, if Johnny Terrorist can intercept your supposedly private video feed with a laptop, card & dish and a $26 piece of software called SkyGrabber, then they probably know more than you.

SkyGrabber is normally used for snatching satellite internet traffic out of the air. Say you live in the Highlands of Scotland and can’t get regular wired or wireless internet, you can get satellite internet – at a price.

The files you download over satellite internet can be seen & recorded by anyone with the right equipment – so that’s POP3 email accounts, FTP uploads to your server, music files you download, videos you download.

Anyone running SkyGrabber can get all the movies and music you download for free. Presumably the drone planes were sending their data over a standard network IP link, with simple encryption at best – this technology is now ten years old.

You can get software to do a similar thing for Linux. Spotting sporadic satellite feeds is almost a complete self-contained hobby for a certain type of geek. There’s certainly lots of interesting stuff out there.

I remember reading about one guy who’d seen unedited live satellite feeds from Paris the night Lady Diana died. Very often an ad-hoc satellite feed will contain off-the-record comments from reporters on the ground, and the studio will then edit the whole thing down into the report you eventually see on TV. These satellite hunters get to see the whole shebang.

Interesting video here

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