By A Web Design
- Created on Sunday, 09 October 2011 17:38
In a story from Wired's online magazine, a persistant keylogging virus has lodged itself in the Air Force's drone command and control computers at Creech Air Force base in Nevada. Efforts to clean the computers have failed as the virus pops back up. The source for Wired's Danger Room has said they thought the virus was benign, but that they didn't really know.
Having a keylogger on a computer that controls a deadly armed predator drone seems more than benign. Also the fact that you can't get rid of it, AND you're still flying armed drones off that system just screams for a little common sense. The article stated that the virus hasn't interfered with pilots flying their missions overseas. Let's just hope the source didn't really mean it. If I knew I had a keylogger on my machines, (which I probably do but don't know it) I wouldn't so much as update this blog till it was cleaned up. And this blog doesn't have national security implications. What are they thinking?
We all know already that drone security is a bit lax. The video downloaded and used by American troops in the field has never been encrypted, and has been found on Taliban laptops. Possibly it isn't the military's fault, though, as computer network systems and even the internet itself were designed to just work, and security implications came along later, leaving our systems perpetually vulnerable to exploitation. I can visualize some brilliant shadowy hacker silently nodding in agreement.
10/25/11 Update: The Air Force released a statement to the fact that no drone control computers were affected by the malware and that only ground support computers were infected. They also state the malware was not a keylogger, but a credential stealing program used against common gaming sites. So not to worry....
- Created on Friday, 07 October 2011 21:23
The world of guns is changing fast... jobs that used to belong to military forces, like shooting bad guys, is being outsourced to drones. And not only drones, but autonomous aircraft that have computer brains that can make the decision to shoot if the right bad guy is in his way.
This is starting to happen in your back yard. There are a million sentry gun projects in the works right now, not just military phalanx projects, but homebrew things made in a garage, and using cheap Arduino microprocessors and (for the moment) airsoft guns or rubber band gatling guns. The computer controlled guns can be programmed to aim and shoot manually or to make their own decisions and shoot when and where the programmer wants it to.
Airsoft gun and Arduino control
Of course, with the economic meltdown of the rich countries it's possible they are being developed at just the right time, and would make a dandy home defense weapon, but it would be hard to distinguish you going to the bathroom from a home invader. Arduino's are pretty powerful, but I doubt they can tell friend from foe yet. However, humans being the way they are, and inveterate tinkerers, they'll figure it out.
Rubber band Gatling with Arduino smarts
- Created on Sunday, 02 October 2011 22:19
A year ago, the Indian province of Assam started to modernize it's police forces, which included moving to more modern arms, giving up it's WW2 Enfield rifles. Between these guys and insurgents in Afghanistan I thought that was about it as far as anyone using these guns in conflicts or organizations, but now it seems the Canadian Rangers are still using them, though not for long.
The Canadian Rangers have been around since WW2 and primarily are used to patrol the sparsely settled northern regions. Though a large part of the force are Intuit, and other aboriginal tribes, they are not necessarily, but are extremely self reliant. The Rangers are issued No. 4 Enfield rifles, but parts are getting harder to come by and actually are canabalized from existing rifles. According to the Vancouver Sun, they are getting some kind of new bolt action rifle in .308 caliber, but which is not settled yet. Whatever the new rifle will be, it'll have a tough act to follow.
- Created on Friday, 30 September 2011 16:42
South Africa thinks UAVs are a good idea, except for the fact that they have no pilot in them, can't carry enough ordnance, have complex command and control problems, and other difficulties where air traffic control is concerned.
The SA company Aerosud has an answer to the problem, the AHRLAC (Advanced High-performance Reconnaissance & Surveillance Aircraft). The aircraft is a spiritual successor to the WW1 Vickers Gunbus, wherein the engine is in the rear, leaving the front of the aircraft open for weapons systems and complex radars and sensors, and being able to operate on rough airstrips. It is also similiar to the Vietnam era forward air controller Cessna 0-2A Skymaster, only with much higher performance, and better weapons and avionics. And there will be a human in the pilot's seat.
The AHRLAC is only a 1/4 scale flyer right now, but the first prototype is being built and it will be only 34 feet long, but can crank at over 300mph, while carrying rocket pods and at least one 20mm cannon. Looks to be an interesting home brewed African solution to African Homeland Security problems.
- Created on Thursday, 29 September 2011 17:40
Cruising Ebay.UK today and came across Enfield rifle spoons. Now that is something every Enfield guy doesn't have. 2 spoons available and hallmarked and matching for Birmingham 1934, whatever that means. Still pretty cool. The current bid is only 5 pounds sterling.
Update: The spoons have sold for £23.52