US Air Force Investing in Cybersecurity for Avionics

The Defense Department is devoting more money to cybersecurity in the U.S. Air Force. File photo

Everyone is worried about hacking, even the U.S. Air Force. Airmen are worried that hacked avionics will lead their pilots to shoot at the wrong targets.

The U.S. Defense Department’s fiscal year 2019 budget estimate has a number of line items devoted to shoring up cybersecurity for aircraft to help out those officers.

The goal is to spend about $12 million or more on the detection of vulnerabilities and protection against malicious attempts for electronic aircraft systems in 2018 and 2019 to combat the growing threat of cyberwarfare.

Of that total, $3.4 million in 2018 and a base of $3.2 million in 2019 are earmarked for vulnerability discovery. The Defense Department said it wants not only to ensure that it has effective methods for identifying weaknesses but also to provide a standardized methodology for thoroughly assessing a weapon system going forward.

The budget names appropriations of $2.7 million in 2018 and a base of $2.6 million in 2019 for the development of cyber protections. This year, the Air Force’s focus will be on the “automation and optimization of malware detection … using machine learning techniques” for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

In 2019, that process will continue and Defense wants to validate concepts for x86 computer architectures and develop a database of patterns to help detect benign and malicious behaviors.

There is also a $166.5 million request by the Air Force for a program called “Aerospace Sensors,” where the Air Force will evaluate technologies that can eliminate cyber vulnerabilities within existing, in-service avionics systems.

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“Cyber-warfare” and the Geneva Convention

In numerous situations, governments such as the US (via its president), have declared the acts of various hostile persons and groups to be “a war”, “at war” or an “act of aggression”, and implicated a foreign state as the actor responsible.

I’m curious how modern concepts such as cyber warfare would interact with traditional measures such as the Geneva Conventions.

For example – suppose there was a cyber attack on the US or UK economy (banking system/corporate stability), its political structures (voting), or its physical infrastructure (power generation, dam+hydro control, air traffic control, tech sector). The President/Prime Minister announces that it’s an act of war, and points the finger at some state being behind the acts. This is unfortunately, quite common nowadays.

If, later, specific individuals from that state were identified/alleged as being behind the acts, and they were believed/accused/stated to have acted under control/direction of that state or with its support/connivance, that would also be quite commonplace these days.

But would such a statement put them legally in the position of military drone pilots, who conduct asymmetric warfare remotely using weaponised advanced technology, or do they remain in a position closer to criminals/terrorists, who also use similar tactics?

Can such a person even be tried in a criminal court as a criminal/terrorist if it appears there is good evidence of a hostile state action/direction, rather than personal extremism/gain, behind their conduct?

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Next terrorist attack with commercially available drones?

Feb. 23, 2018 / PRZen / AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Violent non-state actors have increasingly been making use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) also known as drones. More recently, some terrorist organizations – among them, the Islamic State and Hezbollah – have extended their use of UAVs to include the deployment of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in warzones. Now, the threat of UAVs being used in attacks in Europe or North America is rising.

Commercial UAVs – considerably smaller and cheaper than military versions – have become widespread in industrialized societies. Their applications range from agriculture to the filming of sporting events. However, violent non-state actors have quickly learned how to adapt this technology to their advantage.

Sporting or music events could well be an optimal target, one that terrorists have repeatedly struck, or attempted to do so. The rationale behind terrorists’ interest in targeting sporting events is straightforward: they are mass events attended by large crowds in restricted spaces, and they attract a lot of media attention. Besides these soft targets also attacks on electrical grids, water supplies, chemical plants, nuclear facilities and last but not least: airports represent a further target. Countermeasures like geofencing, cyber warfare and drone-hunting eagles called “counter UAV technologies (C-UAV)” should decrease the likelihood of UAVs successfully approaching an airport or any other target.

Market Forecast‘s newest forecast report, Global Counter UAV (C-UAV) Systems Market Forecast to 2026, shows that a successful drone attack will create an immediate opportunity for companies selling counter UAV technology products and services. But only those companies that prepare for such an event will be able to take advantage of this business opportunity. Others will not have enough time to react before those sales go to their competitors.

Read more on MarketForecast.com

Follow the full story here: https://przen.com/pr/33238384

Source: Market Forecast

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Drones: NAF trains 20 officers in US, India on software, cyber security

By Joseph Erunke

ABUJA-AS it has begun production of indigenous operational Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, UAVs, the Nigerian Air Force said yesterday that it has trained a total of 20 of its officers both in India and the United States of America on how to handle them.

Nigerian Air Force

The officers were trained on software development and cyber security ahead of its recently launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, UAV which it tagged ‘Tsaigumi.’

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who disclosed this during his opening remarks at a workshop organised for personnel of the Nigerian Air Force Communication Branch at the Air Force Headquarters, Abuja, said 12 personnel were trained as software developers in the US while eight others were trained in India on cyber security respectively.

According to him, “this became necessary to ensure effective service delivery with the ever-expanding Information and Communication Technology world.”

Abubakar, while adding that there were plans by his administration to train more personnel in the areas, said it all aimed at enabling the Nigerian Air Force “build capacity in embedded systems and micro controllers-components of the auto pilot for the locally developed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, UAVs.

He also said in line with one of the key drivers of his vision on human capacity development, the service had” embarked on several trainings for its personnel in software development, cyber security, communications, imagery analysis and maintenance of our navigational aids facilities.”

According to him, several local trainings had alsoy been conducted.

Hear him:”A total of 12 officers have been trained in the USA as software developers and eight others trained in India on cyber security and there are plans to train more.

“These would enable the NAF build capacity in embedded systems and micro controllers-components of the auto pilot for the locally developed UAVs.

“This became necessary to ensure effective service delivery with the ever-expanding lnformation and Communication Technology world.”

The Air Force chief, while noting that the workshop, being the first since the establishment of the Nigerian Air Force Communication Branch, was very important to the service as a fighting force, regretted what he called a graduate decline in expertise, skills and professionalism of the branch.

He attributed the regrettable development to the disengagement from service of the service highly trained personnel.

“Over the years, we have noticed a gradual decline in expertise, skills and professionalism of the branch personnel especially with the disengagement from service of our highly trained personnel.”

While noting that sophisticated equipment were in use today besides the technological advancement which he said, was quite rapid, he charged the Nigerian Air Force personnel to as a matter of necessity “be abreast with current developments if they are to remain relevant.”

“Modern warfare is technologically driven, hence the giant strides of the NAF towards infusing technology in its operations. In particular, the employment of information and communications technology is a strategic tool to enhance our operational and administrative processes, “he said.

Air Marshal Abubakar said the Nigerian Air Force had expanded communications with introduction of urban communications system and trained personnel on the basic maintenance of the cameras on its Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance, lSR platform.

” Navigational aids personnel are also being trained on airfield equipment system maintenance. These measures will save enormous foreign exchange needed to effect repairs abroad, “he further said.

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How insurgents across the Middle East turned drones from Amazon into deadly weapons

The swarm of drones hummed through the Syrian darkness, sweeping over small villages and rolling hills as they made their way towards the Mediterranean coast.

Each had a wingspan of less than eight feet, with propellers made of wood and a fragile frame held together with masking tape. Rows of small improvised explosives hung from their wings.

The 13 light aircraft, guided by distant Syrian rebel controllers, found their way to the Russian airbase of Khmeimim and a nearby naval facility in Tartus.

Russia’s military says that its forces quickly neutralised the drones, destroying seven of them with Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missiles and disabling the remaining six with cyber weapons.

Some analysts believe there is more to the story and that the drones – or an earlier wave of them – actually succeeded in destroying several Russian aircraft and bringing chaos to the strategically important base.

Either way, the January 5 attack represents one of the most dramatic examples of how insurgent groups across the Middle East are making increasingly sophisticated use of their own drones on the battlefield.

£500 quadcopters have dropped bombs on the turrets of a Iraqis tank with surprising accuracy, suicide bombers appear to have used drones to guide their attacks, and US special forces have been sent scrambling for cover by enemy remote aircraft overheard.

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Shadow War Between Iran And Israel Erupts Into Open Warfare

The shadow war between Israel and Iran burst into open warfare over the weekend with a brazen and reckless Iranian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) intrusion into Israeli airspace. The drama unfolded on Saturday at 4:25 a.m. when an Iranian reconnaissance drone, believed to be a knockoff of the American RQ-170 Sentinel UAV, penetrated into Israeli airspace for approximately 90 seconds before being shot down by an Israeli Apache attack helicopter of the 113th Squadron near the Israeli town of Bet Shean in the Jordan Valley.

Israeli intelligence had been monitoring the aircraft and its flight path soon after it took off from an Iranian controlled airbase called T4 located near the Syrian city of Palmyra. Immediately after intercepting the drone, the Israeli Air Force attacked the command and control vehicle responsible for controlling and monitoring the UAV, and obliterated it.

Returning IAF aircraft were met with a hail of anti-aircraft fire. According to Israeli sources, the Syrians fired between 15 and 20 antiaircraft missiles. One of them, believed to be either a long-range SA-5 or medium-range SA-17, locked on to an F-16 Sufa fighter bomber and exploded near the aircraft, peppering the jet with shrapnel.

Both pilot and navigator safely ejected and the plane crashed in a field in Israel’s Jezreel Valley. Fortunately, no civilians were hurt. The navigator will likely be released from the hospital today or tomorrow, while the pilot is still recovering from abdominal injuries but is said to be fully conscience and breathing on his own. His condition continues to improve and doctors are optimistic.

It was the first time that an Israel jet fighter had been shot down since June 1982 when an A-4 Sky Hawk was shot down over Beirut during the initial phases of Operation Peace for Galilee. In 1983, an F-4 Phantom crashed in Lebanon but that was due to a technical malfunction rather than hostile fire. In 2006, an Israeli Yassur heavy-lift transport helicopter was shot down by a MANPADS fired by Hezbollah terrorists.

Immediately following the crash, Israel launched a furious and devastating bombardment against Syrian and Iranian military positions, attacking twelve military sites throughout the country. Four of those sites were Iranian bases and encampments while the remaining sites were Syrian anti-aircraft missile batteries and military bases including a base belonging to the Syrian army’s 104th airborne division.

Brig. Gen. Tomer Bar, the deputy head of the IAF termed the attack as, “the biggest and most significant attack the air force has conducted against Syrian air defenses since Operation Peace for the Galilee.” During that conflict, the IAF destroyed 19 Syrian surface-to-air missile batteries while swatting 80 Syrian MiG-21 and MiG-23 fighters from the skies, for no losses.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that at least six Assad regime fighters and their allies were killed in the wave of attacks but the death toll is expected to climb. As is their wont, neither the Syrian government nor the Iranians provided casualty figures.

Delirious Shia and supporters of the Assad regime cheered in the capitals of Tehran, Damascus and Beirut upon hearing news of the F-16’s demise. Such celebrations are beyond absurd. The fact that after thousands of sorties over hostile territory, a single jet was downed does not mean that Israel has lost air supremacy. To claim otherwise is utter nonsense. Moreover, the myopic celebrants, drunk on phantom victories glaringly ignored other notable aspects of the military encounter; chiefly, the rapid interception of the UAV, the destruction of its command and control vehicle, and the destruction and devastation wrought upon multiple Iranian and Syrian bases hit in the wave of Israeli retaliatory strikes.

There are a number of takeaways from this engagement.

  • The Islamic Republic had tried to dictate the rules of the game by launching a UAV into Israel. They failed in this regard. The IDF’s quick and devastating response put to rest any foolhardy Iranian notions that Israel will ignore future border transgressions and further Iranian entrenchment in Syria. If anything, it was Israel, by its swift and overwhelming reaction to Iranian aggression that changed the rules of the game. Iranian outposts throughout Syria and beyond will no longer be immune to attack.
  • The Syrian Army does not exactly have a stellar record in shooting down Israeli aircraft. Were Russian advisers present and advising their Syrian underlings when the missiles were launched? Even worse, were the Russians actually manning the batteries? The answers to these questions may never be known but an Israeli-Iranian clash and heightened regional tensions run counter to Russian interests. Israel and Russia have maintained continuous dialogue through diplomatic and military channels in an effort to avoid military confrontations and lower tensions. Indeed, just ten days prior to the incident, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Moscow for talks with his counterpart Vladimir Putin. The two leaders enjoy a good business-like relationship.
  • Obama’s foreign policies continue to have a lingering, deleterious effect. The Iran deal provided the Iranians with a badly needed cash infusion. The $1.7 billion in cash that Obama transferred to the Iranians on wooden pallets and the billions of dollars Iran received from sanctions relief have been channeled to fuel their overseas wars. Iran’s entrenchment in Syria and its use of UAVs to violate Israeli airspace is a direct consequence of the Iran deal.
  • The Iranian UAV was a knockoff of the American RQ-170 Sentinel spy drone. Iran captured a Sentinel in 2011 when one crashed in Iran under mysterious circumstances. There has been speculation that Iranian cyber hackers intercepted the Sentinel’s data link or otherwise misdirected it by hacking into its GPS. Whether it crashed by itself or was hacked, the Sentinel and all of its technology fell into Iranian hands relatively intact. Obama asked the Iranians to return the UAV and the Iranians naturally refused and likely reversed engineered the UAV with the help of the Russians and Chinese. But Obama had another option that involved bombing and destroying the Sentinel after its seizure by the Iranians. As former vice president Dick Cheney noted, “The right response to [Iran’s seizure] would have been to go in immediately after it had gone down and destroy it.” Cheney added that it could have been accomplished with an airstrike but instead, Obama, “asked nicely for them to return it, and they aren’t going to.”

The events of the weekend make clear that we are entering a dangerous new phase of Iranian malignancy. The reversals suffered by anti-Assad rebels have enabled Iran to concentrate its aggressive efforts beyond the Syrian battleground. It’s safe to say that the only regional power capable of blunting and even reversing Iran’s expansion is Israel.

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Egozi: The Iranian Reverse Engineering Effort

This post is also available in:heheעברית (Hebrew)

By Arie Egozi

The Iranian UAS shot down in Israeli territory seems to be part of the reverse engineering efforts made by this country regarding various military systems.

On 4 December 2011, an American Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel unmanned aerial system (UAS) was captured by Iranian forces near the city of Kashmar in northeastern Iran. The Iranian government announced that the UAS was brought down by its cyber warfare unit which commandeered the aircraft and safely landed it, after initial reports from Western news sources claimed that it had been “shot down.”

The United States government initially denied the claims but later President Obama acknowledged that the downed aircraft was a US drone and requested that Iran return it

The government of Iran announced that the aircraft was brought down by its cyber warfare unit stationed near Kashmar and “brought down with minimum damage”

They said the aircraft was detected in Iranian airspace 225 kilometers (140 mi) from the border with Afghanistan.

The Iranians have put a lot of efforts in the reverse engineering of weapon systems, since the sanctions blocked all sales of advanced systems to the Iranian defense forces.

Copying the general shape of the RQ-170 is not so complicated, but giving it stealth capabilities is much more sophisticated.

This involves the application of radar absorbent materials, the ability to precisely construct large and complex composite structures, acquiring an efficient jet powerplant suited for the medium-altitude, medium-endurance (MAME) mission profile, as well as implementing the many subsystems needed for it to accomplish its mission.

The Iranian UAS shot down in Israeli territory on February 10th seems to be a very basic copy of the American type.

But with that, the Iranians may have more sophisticated versions. It is clear that the Iranians have developed an impressive capability to reverse engineer different systems, and it would be a mistake to dismiss this capability as a minor threat.

Editor-in-Chief, iHLS

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Kratos (Nasdaq: $KTOS) High Performance Unmanned Aerial Drone Systems Successfully …

(MENAFN – Investors Ideas)

  • Kratos (Nasdaq: $KTOS) High Performance Unmanned Aerial Drone Systems Successfully Complete Flight Test Series with Enhanced Capabilities

    SAN DIEGO – February 9, 2018 (Investorideas.com Newswire) Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq:KTOS), a leading National Security Solutions provider, announced that it has successfully completed a series of flight tests related to its high performance unmanned aerial drone systems. Through the flight test missions, Kratos was able to test and demonstrate numerous upgrades and enhancements to the aerial drone system, and validate the system’s enhanced capability to support Kratos customers and their missions around the globe. Kratos Unmanned Systems business is an industry leader in the rapid design, demonstration and fielding of affordable, high performance jet powered unmanned aerial drone systems used for tactical and threat representation (target) missions. Due to competitive and other considerations, no additional information will be provided.

    Eric DeMarco, President & CEO of Kratos, said, “Kratos’ continued focus on developing increased and enhanced mission capability is extremely important to both our international and domestic customers. These recent successful tests enable us to apply Kratos unmanned aerial drone systems to a rapidly increasing number of mission types with an increasing number of customer sets. As we evolve our capabilities and increase the capability and level of threat representation, we are sharing many of these enhancements across our portfolio of high performance jet powered unmanned aerial drone systems to maintain our technological and low cost advantage in the industry, which is a clear competitive differentiator for Kratos. We are currently working toward a large production contract with a new international customer which we hope to receive in the next several months.”

    About Kratos Defense & Security Solutions

    Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ:KTOS) develops transformative, affordable technology for the Department of Defense and commercial customers. Kratos is changing the way breakthrough technology for these industries are brought to market through proactive research and a streamlined development process. Kratos specializes in unmanned systems, satellite communications, cyber security/warfare, microwave electronics, missile defense, training and combat systems. For more information go to .

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    Kratos (Nasdaq: $KTOS) High Performance Unmanned Aerial Drone Systems Successfully Complete Flight Test Series with Enhanced Capabilities

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    Kratos High Performance Unmanned Aerial Drone Systems Successfully Complete Flight Test …

    SAN DIEGO, Feb. 08, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq:KTOS), a leading National Security Solutions provider, announced today that it has successfully completed a series of flight tests related to its high performance unmanned aerial drone systems. Through the flight test missions, Kratos was able to test and demonstrate numerous upgrades and enhancements to the aerial drone system, and validate the system’s enhanced capability to support Kratos customers and their missions around the globe. Kratos Unmanned Systems business is an industry leader in the rapid design, demonstration and fielding of affordable, high performance jet powered unmanned aerial drone systems used for tactical and threat representation (target) missions. Due to competitive and other considerations, no additional information will be provided.

    Eric DeMarco, President & CEO of Kratos, said, “Kratos’ continued focus on developing increased and enhanced mission capability is extremely important to both our international and domestic customers. These recent successful tests enable us to apply Kratos unmanned aerial drone systems to a rapidly increasing number of mission types with an increasing number of customer sets. As we evolve our capabilities and increase the capability and level of threat representation, we are sharing many of these enhancements across our portfolio of high performance jet powered unmanned aerial drone systems to maintain our technological and low cost advantage in the industry, which is a clear competitive differentiator for Kratos. We are currently working toward a large production contract with a new international customer which we hope to receive in the next several months.”

    About Kratos Defense & Security Solutions

    Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ:KTOS) develops transformative, affordable technology for the Department of Defense and commercial customers. Kratos is changing the way breakthrough technology for these industries are brought to market through proactive research and a streamlined development process. Kratos specializes in unmanned systems, satellite communications, cyber security/warfare, microwave electronics, missile defense, training and combat systems. For more information go to www.kratosdefense.com.

    Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

    Certain statements in this press release may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are made on the basis of the current beliefs, expectations and assumptions of the management of Kratos and are subject to significant risks and uncertainty. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. All such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and Kratos undertakes no obligation to update or revise these statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Although Kratos believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, these statements involve many risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from what may be expressed or implied in these forward-looking statements. For a further discussion of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to the business of Kratos in general, see the risk disclosures in the Annual Report on Form 10-K of Kratos for the year ended December 25, 2016, and in subsequent reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K and other filings made with the SEC by Kratos.

    Press Contact:

    Yolanda White

    858-812-7302 Direct

    Investor Information:

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    investor@kratosdefense.com

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    Proof’s in the Patent: Hacking, Jamming Drone That Can Destroy Itself After a Mission

    Talk of drones that can hack air-gapped or isolated systems or devices has been going on for awhile.

    Now, there is action, in the form of a 2018 patent request with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

    The patent request is titled “METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR A SMALL UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEM FOR DELIVERING ELECTRONIC WARFARE AND CYBER EFFECTS.”

    Electronic warfare and cyber effects? Now that will get your attention, won’t it?

    I just finished reviewing the patent request, and the drone sounds and looks like a flying wing-type design that can silently travel up to 150 mph when needed, but also reduce to a “loiter speed” near a target for at least 30 minutes.

    hacking-drone-image.png

    The scenario listed is one where Surface to Air Missiles threaten U.S. Air operations during a battle. The unmanned drone would silently fly its way to a site where a Surface to Air Missile is setup, and potentially jam its signal or deliver a harmful cyber payload.

    Will the drone have enough juice in its hydrogen battery to get back to where it was launched? It is designed to crash to the ground as a clean machine.

    Says the patent request: “One benefit of this type of EW (electronic warfare) payload is its ability to self-sanitize after use, which allows it to delete data, codes, and other information at the end of flight. Accordingly, after a mission has been completed, the SUAS 10 may be crashed into a ground surface without fear of an enemy gaining data carried by the EW payload.”

    Who filed for this patent? Current Department of Defense contractor Selex Galileo. See the hacking drone patent request here.

    This sounds like great technology if it’s on your side. But how long before hackers figure out something similar that can fly over open environments like refineries or dams?

    The answer to that question is still up in the air.

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