Four years after discovering that militants were tapping into drone video feeds, the U.S. military still hasn’t secured the transmissions of more than half of its fleet of Predator and Reaper drones, Danger Room has learned. The majority of the aircraft still broadcast their classified video streams “in the clear” — without encryption. With a minimal amount of equipment and know-how, militants can see what America’s drones see.
Unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, have become the single most important weapon in America’s far-flung pursuit of violent extremists. Hundreds of American Predators and Reapers fly above Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan — watching suspected enemies, and striking them when necessary. Nearly 3,000 people have been killed in the decade-long drone campaign.