No, Iran didn't really hack and down a foreign military spy drone

Filed Under: Featured, Vulnerability

A report by the Islamic Republic News Agency this weekend raised eyebrows, as it appeared to claim that Iranˈs Revolutionary Guard Corps had managed to hack and down a foreign spy drone.

Iranian news story

"A foreign spy drone was hacked outside the field of Payambar-e Azam 8 wargames on Saturday," reporters were told.

The official FARS news agency told a similar story, adding that the revolutionary guard were in possession of pictures taken by the drone and hoped to release them to the world's media.

FARS story

IRGC Hunts Alien UAV over Wargame Zone
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps announced that it has hunted an alien Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) after the drone neared the IRGC's current wargames zone in Southern Iran.

"On the first day of Payambar-e Azam 8 (The Great Prophet 8) wargames, the IRGC's electronic warfare systems detected signals showing that alien drones were trying to enter the country (airspace)," Spokesman of the Wargames General Hamid Sarkheili told reporters on Saturday evening.

"Then our experts could bring down an alien drone over the wargames zone," he added.

Sarkheili said the IRGC is now in possession of the pictures taken by the drone and will release them if Okayed by the country's senior commanders.

However, you shouldn't be too quick to take these headlines at face value.

Because, as a corrected Reuters report makes clear, the downed enemy spy drone was hypothetical - a real drone was not hacked and brought down by Iranian forces.

In short, it was all part of Iran's war games, and the media were mislead by the testosterone-fueled bravado of those taking part.

That's not to say, of course, that real drones cannot be hijacked by hackers.

Last year, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin hacked and hijacked a drone in front of a group of dismayed Department of Homeland Security officials who had dared them $1,000 to do it.

UAV image, courtesy of Shutterstock.

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11 Responses to No, Iran didn't really hack and down a foreign military spy drone

  1. Jeremy · 570 days ago

    Correction: You can never trust Iran and the media.

    -Lied about their new fighter jet
    -Lied about them already being nuclear capable
    -Lied about how the sanctions weren't affecting them much earlier on
    -Lied about how they managed to down a drone

    • clasof56 · 569 days ago

      i agree, constant lies from iran. the next time you see them say they will meet for talks or allow reasonable access to their nuke deal, just wait a little while and they will not allow the access...just trying to gain time with their lies.

    • Arerifx · 569 days ago

      so what about US?There is no difference between US and Iran..Iran just do what they have to do to show their enemies what they capable of,don't put blame on one side only...

  2. Juergen · 570 days ago

    Mind you, Iran DID capture a US drone before, and so far there has been no explanation on how they did it... http://theaviationist.com/tag/beast-of-kandahar/

  3. Droning · 570 days ago

    I'm also not sure what would be the point of releasing to the public all the photos the drone took. That's what whoever sent the drone wanted, right?

  4. Randy · 570 days ago

    From another article:
    "University of Texas at Austin hacked and hijacked a drone in front of the dismayed Department of Homeland Security officials who had dared them $1,000 to do it."

    I would be watching for elevated levels of admissions of Iranian students at the University of Texas at Austin.

  5. rurban · 569 days ago

    Looks like this real drone, which was downed by Iran in Dec last year.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/1...

  6. Chamal · 569 days ago

    after seeing all happened around us, i trust both parties can lie

  7. Nigel · 569 days ago

    "In short, it was all part of Iran's war games, and the media were mislead by the testosterone-fueled bravado of those taking part."

    I think you mean "misled", Graham. But I understand how easy it is to make such a typographical error without realizing it. We're bombarded daily with the misspelling of "led" (the past tense of the verb "to lead") as "lead" (atomic symbol Pb, atomic number 82).

    It's pandemic on the Intertubes. I'm not sure why. "Led" is a perfectly good word in every English-speaking country, and is unworthy of such neglect.

  8. NoSpin · 568 days ago

    Would be more believable if China made such claims.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.