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13 January 2012, 12:03

Lost+Found: Drones, Linux, Privacy and Principles

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Too short for news, too good to lose; Lost+Found is a round up of useful security news. Today: Linux controlling US drones, EFF asks what drones are doing, and Google shares principles.

  • The US Air Force appears to have switched from using Windows to Linux in the flight and ground control systems for their unmanned drone aircraft. The change was noted by F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen who tweeted inviting comparisons between an image from 2009 and a slide from 2011 which specifically mentions Linux as part of a retrofit to the Drone control stations. Although the switch to Linux appears to have come after last October's reports that a ground station which controls a number of drones had become infected with a key logger, it seems unlikely that the switch to Linux was a reaction to that given how long it typically takes to specify and supply military equipment.
  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation is also concerned about drone security, but in this case it's about the security and privacy implications of the drones being flown within the US by the US government. The EFF has announced that it has filed a suit against the US Department of Transportation (DOT). As the use of unmanned drones has increased in the US, the EFF wants to establish what the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was authorising them for. It filed a Freedom of Information request last April but the FAA and DOT have failed to provide the information requested and the EFF have now filed a complaintPDF alleging a violation of the FOI act.
  • Google has shared the security principles it created when developing the Chrome and Chromium browsers.


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