Category Archive 'Drones'

22 Feb 2017

French Air Force Training Eagles to Take Out Terrorist Drones

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Daily Mail:

Birds of prey are being trained to prevent terror attacks in France, after being recruited by the country’s air force.

A team of four eagles is being trained to bring down remote-controlled drones when they stray into unauthorised airspace.

It is feared that terror groups could use drones – types of which can be bought from toy stores – packed with explosives to target civilians or military landmarks.

Experts believe training eagles to deal with threatening drones is far safer than using bullets to shoot them down.

Air force general Jean-Christophe Zimmerman told Reuters: ‘These eagles can spot the drones several thousand metres away and neutralize them.’

He said the idea came from police trials in the Netherlands.

The birds are being trained to grab or halt the drones. Before they hatched, they were placed on top of drones before being kept there during their early feeding period. …

Eagles have a grip 10 times more powerful than a human, making them ideal to deal with large unmanned drones.

09 Aug 2014

Drone Captures Muslims Doing It With Goats

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“I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

Barack Obama, Remarks by the President at Cairo University, 04 June 2009.

The nationality of the drone and that of the Muslims is unclear. Some sources identify the video as captured by an Israeli drone and the principals as Hamas fighters in Gaza. Others as a US drone overseeing Taliban supporters in Afghanistan.

There are more references to Israel, but I think it may be Afghanistan.

Back in 2009, Brian Mockenhaupt, in Esquire, wrote of US Predator drone pilots:

[T]hey see many things meant to be secret, like men having sex with sheep and goats in the deep of night. I first heard this from infantry soldiers and took it as rumor, but at Bagram I met a civilian contractor who works in UAV operations. “All the time,” he said. “They just don’t think we can see them.” Which sums up a major allure of UAVs: Though they should know better by now, many insurgents still feel safe working in darkness or in the shelter of distant mountains and valleys, so they are exposed again and again. The unmanned planes have eroded their freedom of movement and simple early-warning systems, two of their few assets when outmatched in weapons, technology, and resources. Helicopters can be heard a mile or more away. Spotters watch vehicles leave bases and follow the slow advance of dismounted patrols. Surprise is a rarity for U. S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. The insurgents almost always know they’re coming, with at least several minutes’ notice. So they toss weapons behind a rock and become, in an instant, civilians. But with a camera parked three miles overhead, last-minute subterfuge doesn’t work.

From Moonbattery via Vanderleun.



I have heard the exact same story from 3 different national guard servicemen who served in Iraq. They all belong to the same local national guard unit, but served non-overlapping tours. I am not sure if they know each other or not. The story goes that while on duty at night in Iraq, one of the other soldiers using night vision goggles saw an Iraqi man having sex with a goat and then all the other soldiers came and saw with their own night vision goggles. This strikes me as implausible that three different soldiers in three different years, 2003, 2006, and 2007, all saw something so bizarre.

19 Apr 2014

I Could Vote For This Guy

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08 Oct 2011

US Air Force Drones Virused

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Noah Schachtman, at Wired’s Danger Room, broke the news of an extraordinary electronic warfare coup by an unnamed foreign adversary.

A computer virus has infected the cockpits of America’s Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots’ every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other warzones.

The virus, first detected nearly two weeks ago by the military’s Host-Based Security System, has not prevented pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada from flying their missions overseas. Nor have there been any confirmed incidents of classified information being lost or sent to an outside source. But the virus has resisted multiple efforts to remove it from Creech’s computers, network security specialists say. And the infection underscores the ongoing security risks in what has become the U.S. military’s most important weapons system.

“We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back,” says a source familiar with the network infection, one of three that told Danger Room about the virus. “We think it’s benign. But we just don’t know.”

Military network security specialists aren’t sure whether the virus and its so-called “keylogger” payload were introduced intentionally or by accident; it may be a common piece of malware that just happened to make its way into these sensitive networks. The specialists don’t know exactly how far the virus has spread. But they’re sure that the infection has hit both classified and unclassified machines at Creech. That raises the possibility, at least, that secret data may have been captured by the keylogger, and then transmitted over the public internet to someone outside the military chain of command. …

The GCSs handling more exotic operations are top secret. None of the remote cockpits are supposed to be connected to the public internet. Which means they are supposed to be largely immune to viruses and other network security threats.

But time and time again, the so-called “air gaps” between classified and public networks have been bridged, largely through the use of discs and removable drives. In late 2008, for example, the drives helped introduce the agent.btz worm to hundreds of thousands of Defense Department computers. The Pentagon is still disinfecting machines, three years later.

Use of the drives is now severely restricted throughout the military. But the base at Creech was one of the exceptions, until the virus hit. Predator and Reaper crews use removable hard drives to load map updates and transport mission videos from one computer to another. The virus is believed to have spread through these removable drives. Drone units at other Air Force bases worldwide have now been ordered to stop their use.

In the meantime, technicians at Creech are trying to get the virus off the GCS machines. It has not been easy. At first, they followed removal instructions posted on the website of the Kaspersky security firm. “But the virus kept coming back,” a source familiar with the infection says. Eventually, the technicians had to use a software tool called BCWipe to completely erase the GCS’ internal hard drives. “That meant rebuilding them from scratch” — a time-consuming effort.

The Air Force declined to comment directly on the virus. “We generally do not discuss specific vulnerabilities, threats, or responses to our computer networks, since that helps people looking to exploit or attack our systems to refine their approach,” says Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis, a spokesman for Air Combat Command, which oversees the drones and all other Air Force tactical aircraft.

Reports I’ve read quoting the Wired ask the silly question: was the infection accidental or deliberate. No one else has mentioned the obvious suspect: China. The good news is that the infection is apparently confined specifically to Creech.

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