With $1000 and a Team of Geniuses, You Too Can Hack a Government DroneS

With the drone era upon us—drones flying through US airspace, no less—securing these pilotless aircraft is of the utmost importance because of the threat an errant vehicle could pose to civilians. But in answering a dare from the Department of Homeland Security, a team of researchers from the University of Texas proved that a government drone could be hijacked with a GPS spoofing device made for less than $1000.

According to Fox News, the researchers were able to hijack the drone and set it on a path of destruction (without actually destroying anything, mind you), buy analyzing the GPS signal the drone was locked in on, then sending a stronger signal for it to pick up on.

Initially, his signal matches that of the GPS system so the drone thinks nothing is amiss. That's when he attacks — sending his own commands to the onboard computer, putting the drone at his beck and call.

Obviously, it's not like anyone can do this. But the thought that a group of people with the proper collection of brains and resources could launch missiles from a drone (or turn a drone itself into a weapon) is a scary thought. [Fox News via Reuters]

Image via AP