Ukraine is using $400 drones to destroy tanks:
Facing an enemy with superior numbers of troops and armor, the Ukrainian defenders are holding on with the help of tiny drones flown by operators like Firsov that, for a few hundred dollars, can deliver an explosive charge capable of destroying a Russian tank worth more than $2 million.
A typical FPV weighs up to one kilogram, has four small engines, a battery, a frame and a camera connected wirelessly to goggles worn by a pilot operating it remotely. It can carry up to 2.5 kilograms of explosives and strike a target at a speed of up to 150 kilometers per hour, explains Pavlo Tsybenko, acting director of the Dronarium military academy outside Kyiv.
“This drone costs up to $400 and can be made anywhere. We made ours using microchips imported from China and details we bought on AliExpress. We made the carbon frame ourselves. And, yeah, the batteries are from Tesla. One car has like 1,100 batteries that can be used to power these little guys,” Tsybenko told POLITICO on a recent visit, showing the custom-made FPV drones used by the academy to train future drone pilots.
“It is almost impossible to shoot it down,” he said. “Only a net can help. And I predict that soon we will have to put up such nets above our cities, or at least government buildings, all over Europe.”
Science fiction authors have been writing about drone swarms for decades. Now they are reality. Tanks today. Soon it will be ships (probably with more expensive drones). Feels like this will be a major change in warfare.
Posted on October 31, 2023 at 7:03 AM •
Researchers are prototyping multi-segment shapeshifter drones, which are “the precursors to flying squid-bots.”
As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.
Read my blog posting guidelines here.
Posted on March 3, 2023 at 5:23 PM •
The Ukrainian army has released an instructional video explaining how Russian soldiers should surrender to a drone:
“Seeing the drone in the field of view, make eye contact with it,” the video instructs. Soldiers should then raise their arms and signal they’re ready to follow.
After that the drone will move up and down a few meters, before heading off at walking pace in the direction of the nearest representatives of Ukraine’s army, it says.
The video also warns that the drone’s battery may run low, in which case it will head back to base and the soldiers should stay put and await a fresh one.
That one, too, should be met with eye contact and arms raised, it says.
Posted on December 19, 2022 at 7:09 AM •
This technique measures device response time to determine distance:
The scientists tested the exploit by modifying an off-the-shelf drone to create a flying scanning device, the Wi-Peep. The robotic aircraft sends several messages to each device as it flies around, establishing the positions of devices in each room. A thief using the drone could find vulnerable areas in a home or office by checking for the absence of security cameras and other signs that a room is monitored or occupied. It could also be used to follow a security guard, or even to help rival hotels spy on each other by gauging the number of rooms in use.
There have been attempts to exploit similar WiFi problems before, but the team says these typically require bulky and costly devices that would give away attempts. Wi-Peep only requires a small drone and about $15 US in equipment that includes two WiFi modules and a voltage regulator. An intruder could quickly scan a building without revealing their presence.
Posted on November 8, 2022 at 6:15 AM •
Seems it’s now common to sneak contraband into prisons with a drone.
Posted on August 3, 2022 at 6:50 AM •
This is an impressive hack:
Security researchers Ralf-Philipp Weinmann of Kunnamon, Inc. and Benedikt Schmotzle of Comsecuris GmbH have found remote zero-click security vulnerabilities in an open-source software component (ConnMan) used in Tesla automobiles that allowed them to compromise parked cars and control their infotainment systems over WiFi. It would be possible for an attacker to unlock the doors and trunk, change seat positions, both steering and acceleration modes—in short, pretty much what a driver pressing various buttons on the console can do. This attack does not yield drive control of the car though.
That last sentence is important.
Posted on May 4, 2021 at 9:41 AM •
The Army is developing a new electronic warfare pod capable of being put on drones and on trucks.
…the Silent Crow pod is now the leading contender for the flying flagship of the Army’s rebuilt electronic warfare force. Army EW was largely disbanded after the Cold War, except for short-range jammers to shut down remote-controlled roadside bombs. Now it’s being urgently rebuilt to counter Russia and China, whose high-tech forces—unlike Afghan guerrillas—rely heavily on radio and radar systems, whose transmissions US forces must be able to detect, analyze and disrupt.
It’s hard to tell what this thing can do. Possibly a lot, but it’s all still in prototype stage.
Historically, cyber operations occurred over landline networks and electronic warfare over radio-frequency (RF) airwaves. The rise of wireless networks has caused the two to blur. The military wants to move away from traditional high-powered jamming, which filled the frequencies the enemy used with blasts of static, to precisely targeted techniques, designed to subtly disrupt the enemy’s communications and radar networks without their realizing they’re being deceived. There are even reports that “RF-enabled cyber” can transmit computer viruses wirelessly into an enemy network, although Wojnar declined to confirm or deny such sensitive details.
The pod’s digital brain also uses machine-learning algorithms to analyze enemy signals it detects and compute effective countermeasures on the fly, instead of having to return to base and download new data to human analysts. (Insiders call this cognitive electronic warfare). Lockheed also offers larger artificial intelligences to assist post-mission analysis on the ground, Wojnar said. But while an AI small enough to fit inside the pod is necessarily less powerful, it can respond immediately in a way a traditional system never could.
EDITED TO ADD (5/14): Here are two reports on Russian electronic warfare capabilities.
Posted on May 13, 2020 at 8:49 AM •
The Department of Interior is grounding all non-emergency drones due to security concerns:
The order comes amid a spate of warnings and bans at multiple government agencies, including the Department of Defense, about possible vulnerabilities in Chinese-made drone systems that could be allowing Beijing to conduct espionage. The Army banned the use of Chinese-made DJI drones three years ago following warnings from the Navy about “highly vulnerable” drone systems.
One memo drafted by the Navy & Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program Manager has warned “images, video and flight records could be uploaded to unsecured servers in other countries via live streaming.” The Navy has also warned adversaries may view video and metadata from drone systems even though the air vehicle is encrypted. The Department of Homeland Security previously warned the private sector their data may be pilfered off if they use commercial drone systems made in China.
I’m actually not that worried about this risk. Data moving across the Internet is obvious—it’s too easy for a country that tries this to get caught. I am much more worried about remote kill switches in the equipment.
Posted on January 31, 2020 at 6:46 AM •
No one knows who they belong to. (Well, of course someone knows. And my guess is that it’s likely that we will know soon.)
EDITED TO ADD (1/3): Another article.
Posted on January 2, 2020 at 11:02 AM •
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.