NSA, GCHQ used open source software to spy on Israeli, Syrian drones

Files provided to The Intercept by country-wide security business enterprise whistleblower Edward Snowden show new proof of an extended-jogging surveillance campaign against drones flown using the Israelis, Syrians, and different countries within the region. The operation via the United Kingdom’s authorities Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) alerts intelligence company, with the help of the NSA, intercepted scrambled analog video feeds from remotely piloted aircraft and tracked the motion of drones. In some instances, the operation even intercepted video from Israeli fighter planes at some stage in combat missions.
There was no supercomputing magic involved in at least most of the video interceptions.

As part of an operation codenamed “Anarchist,” NSA and GCHQ analysts used photo Magick (an open-source photograph manipulation tool). Different open-source software programs evolved to defeat industrial satellite tv for pc signal encryption. one of the gears, known as the anti sky, changed into developed with the aid of Dr. Markus Kuhn of the college of Cambridge’s pc Laboratory. The gear may be used by every person able to intercept satellite tv for pc signal feeds then exhibit the staying power and ability to type via the pixels. But, the conversion to virtual video feeds on some drones has seemingly made video interception more hard Graet News Network.

The indicators were intercepted at a GCHQ station at the Royal Air force’s communications set up within the Troodos mountains of Cyprus. The power, close to Mount Olympus, is used by the GCHQ for exploiting satellite and radio communications in the jap Mediterranean and Levant regions—consisting of Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, and much of North Africa. The encrypted signals were then processed with picture Magick and anti sky, in keeping with a schooling guide received with the aid of The Intercept. That guide information the manner of “brute forcing” the breaking of encryption on satellite video feeds.

a number of the pics captured have been from low-resolution analog feeds used to check the drones’ situation. This allowed the GCHQ and NSA to get a view of the payload of the drones; however, they no longer necessarily their surveillance facts. One photo discovered by The Intercept shows an Israeli IAI Heron drone—an excessive-altitude mid-sized drone with various 350 kilometers that can stay aloft for over forty hours—sporting a weapon. The picture is probably the primary direct public evidence that Israel is using armed drones.

extra images show the stay surveillance feeds from other, smaller drones. Surveillance video was also captured from an Iranian-manufactured drone flown with the aid of the Syrian navy in March 2012. also, many of the pics captured via the GCHQ and published by way of the Intercept is a video feed from an Israeli F-16, possibly flying over the Gaza Strip throughout operations in January 2008. An inner NSA newsletter described the F-sixteen video as being 14 seconds long and showing a ground goal being tracked—though the excellent decrypted video simplest indicates the focus on symbology honestly. the usa has also been the target of low-tech drone video feed “hacking.” Iraqi insurgents, the use of equipment that turned into probable provided by Iran, were capable of use SkyGrabber, a $26 “off-the-shelf” software program bundle, to intercept video feeds from Predator drones live in 2008 and 2009 (although the one’s feeds were not encrypted at the time).



The process of intercepting video has come to be more complex for the NSA and GCHQ; however, Israel and different drone operators have moved to use digital video feeds combined with different facts. In a 2010 record from the GCHQ, an analyst referred to that one captured feed “discovered multiple video streams from unique cameras… that is doubtlessly a full-size upgrade to the normal analog video we see, this new system adds the capability to peer some of the videos feeds simultaneously…we currently don’t have any series device able to processing this signal due to the excessive records’ charge and complexity of the underlying facts.”

The Israeli government expressed no wonder approximately the spying. Although allies who regularly share indicators intelligence the and Israel have lengthy spied on each other, the Israeli government claims to have stopped spying on the united states after the arrest of people military analyst Jonathan Pollard for spying on behalf of Israel within the Eighties. Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s minister of country-wide infrastructure and electricity, advised Israeli Army Radio, “I do now not think this is the deepest sort of secret. However, it is certainly something that ought to happen no longer, that is ugly.” He brought that the Israeli authorities could now obviously forget to change how it encrypts drone video.