Encryption of Predator video feeds will take time

Air Force document indicates work won’t be completed until 2014

It could take as long as five years before video feeds from Predator drones are fully encrypted and U.S. forces are able to keep enemy forces from intercepting the information, reports Ellen Nakashima in the Washington Post.

U.S. forces uncovered over the past year a number of instances of Iraqi insurgents intercepting video feeds from Predator drones, the Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 17. The insurgents were able to intercept extensive video footage from the unmanned aerial vehicles by using inexpensive, off-the-shelf software.

The Air Force has begun encrypting the UAV fleet, but that work will not be finished until 2014, according to the Air Force Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Plan. The long-range plan released in July outlines the Air Force’s strategy for changes in doctrine, organizational structure, training, equipment, leadership, education, personnel, facilities and policy.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Dec. 18 that there has been no indication that U.S. military operations have been compromised by the intercepted video.

The insurgents were not able to interfere with the signal and command and control capabilities of the Predators but were only able to intercept a broadcast signal, Defense Systems reported.

 

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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