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Drone Hacked By University Of Texas At Austin Research Group

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This undated photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows an unmanned drone used to patrol the U.S.-Canadian border. (AP Photo/U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
This undated photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection shows an unmanned drone used to patrol the U.S.-Canadian border. (AP Photo/U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

When the U.S. Department of Homeland Security dared a Texas university research group to bring down a flying drone, the team accepted the challenge and did just that.

Turns out it's not too difficult to hack a drone.

Nor too expensive, for that matter. RT reports that the University of Texas at Austin scientists, led by Professor Todd Humphreys, managed to bring down a flying drone with a spoofer costing just $1,000. The research group gained control of the University-owned drone by using a device to hack its GPS system, according to Scientific American.

Fox News explains how "spoofing" a drone's GPS system works, as well as the advantages of this tactic over GPS-jammers: "While jammers can cause problems by muddling GPS signals, spoofers are a giant leap forward in technology; they can actually manipulate navigation computers with false information that looks real."

The BBC notes that the same technique may have been employed by Iran when it captured a largely undamaged American drone last year.

Unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, have become increasingly central to U.S. counterterrorism operations. The United States has deployed drones over Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen.

Read more at the BBC.