In December 2009 intelligence revealed that insurgents in Afghanistan were intercepting video from Predator (and presumably other) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Not long afterward it was admitted that as early as 2004 insurgents in Iraq had been doing the same thing. In both cases the stated problem was that the video down-links had not been encrypted; there was no question of the insurgents actually controlling the UAV. Nor was there any question of their having developed advanced technology. They had merely bought inexpensive ($29.95) Sky Grabber software intended for civilians who wanted access to satellite television down-links. If indeed the problem was experienced in Iraq as early as 2004, the absence of a fix and the surprise that it was being done in Afghanistan suggest undue underestimation of our enemies and their possible technical sophistication. That seems odd, considering that the war against improvised explosive devices both in Iraq and in Afghanistan has generally been described as difficult and technology intensive.
World Naval Developments: Stealing Signals
By Norman Friedman