[ISN] Wireless Hacking In Flight: Air Force Demos Cyber EC-130

http://breakingdefense.com/2015/09/wireless-hacking-in-flight-air-force-demos-cyber-ec-130/ By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR. Breaking Defense September 15, 2015 NATIONAL HARBOR: Matthew Broderick in his basement, playing Wargames over a landline, is still the pop culture archetype of a hacker. But as wireless networks became the norm, new-age cyber warfare and traditional electronic warfare are starting to merge. Hackers can move out of the basement to the sky. In a series of experiments, the US Air Force has successfully modified its EC-130 Compass Call aircraft, built to jam enemy transmissions, to attack enemy networks instead. “We’ve conducted a series of demonstrations,” said Maj. Gen. Burke Wilson, commander of the 24th Air Force, the service’s cyber operators. “Lo and behold! Yes, we’re able to touch a target and manipulate a target, [i.e.] a network, from an air[craft].” What’s more, Wilson told reporters at the Air Force Association conference here, this flying wireless attack can “touch a network that in most cases might be closed” to traditional means. While he didn’t give details, many military networks around the world are deliberately disconnected from the Internet (“air-gapped”) for better security. You can try to get an agent or dupe to bring a virus-infected thumb drive to work, as reportedly happened with Stuxnet’s penetration of the Iranian nuclear program, but that takes time and luck. You unlock a lot more virtual doors if you can just hack a network wirelessly from the air. Israeli aircraft using BAE’s Suter system reportedly did just this to Syrian air defenses in 2007’s Operation Orchard, and the Navy is interested in the capability, but this is the first I’ve heard an Air Force general discuss it. Digital AESA radar can do much the same thing, as we’ve reported about the F-35. […]