GPS expert stuns Congress: Drones in US airspace can easily be hijacked by criminals, terrorists

A House Homeland Security subcommittee today heard sharp warnings about the plan to allow drones to fly widely in U.S. airspace starting in 2015.

GPS expert Todd Humphreys of the University of Texas was the star witness: “I am worried that it could be a weapon in the arsenal of organized crime, or state actors, or organized terrorists,“ Humphreys told a stunned committee.

In a Fox News exclusive last month, Humphreys demonstrated how, with a relatively inexpensive GPS “spoofer,” he could take control of a GPS-guided drone in flight, and make it do whatever he wanted. The potential is there, he told the panel, for terrorists to do the same thing.

“The nightmare situation that I articulated here as a panelist,” Humphreys told Fox News, “was that five or ten years from now we haven’t fixed the problem and now the drones are much larger, maybe delivering FedEx packages. I don’t want it to get to that point before we say ‘ok it’s a problem.’”

Committee Chairman Rep. Mike McCaul of Texas was clearly alarmed by Humphreys’ testimony:  “This is astounding that you could hijack a UAV and bring it down,” he said.

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