- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 17, 2009

Insurgents in Iraq have hacked into live video feeds from Predator drones, the military’s eyes in the sky for surveillance and intelligence collection.

A senior Defense official says militants could see the video, but there is no evidence they were able to jam the electronic signals from the unmanned aerial crafts or take control of the vehicles. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence issues.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Thursday that Shiite fighters in Iraq used off-the-shelf software programs such as SkyGrabber — available for as little as $25.95 on the Internet — to regularly capture drone video feeds. The hacking was possible because some of the remotely flown planes have an unprotected communications link.

Officials say the Defense Department is working to encrypt the drone feeds.

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