The first thing that happened when I mentioned this blog post was a few people saying, “This doesn’t have much to do with social engineering so why they heck do you want to blog about it?”

The truth is… it doesn’t have much to do with social engineering at all, but it is so darn interesting we had to write about.  Plus we have a special surprise for all our readers.

So here is the basic gist…  Iraqi hackers with a cheap satellite dish and a $26 piece of software called SkyGrabber were able to intercept the US Government’s video feeds of the Predator Drones.  This allowed them to know the location and evade being detected, as well as knowing the whereabouts of the drones.

How did they do this?

Enter the SkyGrabber.

SkyGrabber is a very interesting piece of technology.  Much like a BitTorrent Client, it allows you to connect your computer directly to your satellite dish, then it “grabs” the data in the area being beamed to and from satellite dishes in your range.  It grabs the pictures, movies, files, video feeds and recompiles them on your local machine, giving you not just access but a fully usable copy of those files, locally.

The creator of SkyGrabber says:

“SkyGrabber works by grabbing all the responses to the requests that comes from the satellite. The satellite transmits data to all users in one stream. The data packets are accepted by all who are in the satellite coverage area. In fact, you can set up your satellite dish on this satellite and we’ll receive the data, which is produced by other users.”

But how do we get the files that other users are downloading? The program intercepts data of other users, assembles in files, and saves files on your hard drive.

Here is a video showing SkyGrabber working.

Probably due to the massive press, the SkyGrabber site is flaky and up and down.  We were able to obtain a trial of the software which you can download to see it works.  It is an amazing piece of software.

Again, we know this doesn’t have much to do with social engineering… but it DOES have a lot to do with security.  How is it that $10s of millions or billions of dollars in technology can be thwarted by $26 pieces of software?  A nation’s secrets being streamed over a signal that can be recompiled and then used in a matter of minutes?

I don’t pretend to have the answers.  I am just fascinated by the story… fascinated that this technology and this industry never ceases to amaze me.  I am sure there will be some more news on this as time passes and if anything new pops up we will try to keep you informed.  For now… realize… there really is no spoon.