Hezbollah Claims it Hacked Israeli Drone Video Feeds (Updated)

Yesterday, Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah claimed Israel was behind the 2005 bombing that killed Lebanese prime minister, Rafiq Al Hariri. Part of the evidence for that claim, produced by Nasrallah for reporters, were still photos and video feed taken in 1997 from Israeli aerial drones hovering above Hariri’s home. While that might not be sufficient evidence to implicate Israel, it does show that Hezbollah was able to intercept Israeli drone feeds as far back as 1996.

Nasrallah said intercepts from Israeli UAV’s helped Hezbollah fighters ambush and kill 16 12 Israeli commandos on a mission in southern Lebanon in 1997. He said following that ambush, all Israeli drone feeds were encrypted; so it’s unknown whether Hezbollah is still able to hack the transmissions.

Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Iraqi insurgent groups had intercepted U.S. drone transmissions using commercially available software via an unsecured communications link. Interestingly, the U.S. military discovered the vulnerability when they captured a Shiite militant whose laptop contained hours of intercepted video. Military and intelligence officials have said that Hezbollah agents provided bomb-making and other guerrilla know-how to Shiite insurgent groups in Iraq.

Hezbollah is considered the hybrid threat archetype: a non-state group armed with weapons and technology that has heretofore been the exclusive preserve of advanced militaries. During the war in south Lebanon in 2006, Hezbollah was able to listen into Israeli troop communications; although these were largely intercepts of cell phone conversations rather than hacking into encrypted radio communications.

Updated: This story on the Ynet news site provides more information on Nasrallah’s claims about Hezbollah’s 1997 ambush of Israeli commandos. The incident, known as the “Shayetet catastrophe,” resulted in the deaths of 12 commandos when Israeli troops walked into an ambush prepared with an assist from intercepted Israeli drone footage.

“We succeeded in analyzing these pictures, and assumed Israel was planning on operating there,” Nasrallah said. “Our men waited there for a few weeks, and on one of the nights the commando soldiers walked into the ambush we prepared.”

— Greg Grant

  • BozoJoe

    I certainly hope the command/control signal fed into the UAV is encrypted

  • DodgeCity

    It’s not the first time Hezbollah has produced “amazing” strikes on Israel. Who doesn’t remember the golden nugget when they published pictures of how they sunk an Israeli corvette during the second Lebanon war. The pictures turned out to be of an Australian destroyer sunk as planned by aussie subs during an exercise.
    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/ind

    When Hezbollah comes into play, checking one’s sources can always be of interest.

  • If their claims have any credence, then this furthers the need for better cyber warfare defenses.

  • noquarter

    LOL. Classic.

  • Jacob

    Well, how nice of Hezbollah to tell the world how it operates.

  • Sam

    Does anyone here support the Palestinians’ fight for freedom from Israeli occupation? Why or why not?

    • Rob

      Palestinians “fight” will do nothing but lead the world into plunder and dismay.

      Yes many Americans are sympathetic to Palestinians right to live & have their own land, but USA will ALWAYS support Isreal fully

      A 2 state existence is Palestine’s only chance . Creating martyr’s & keeping the dispute going will only keep things like they are now. Forever

      It would take a mass plague ot nuclear homicide bomber to remove Isreal & then your great holy land wouldn’t be very livable anyways.

      I’m American and wish things were much different. Wish we never supported the formation of Isreal but it’s been too long now & no place to move Isreal or the Palestinians.

      Coexistence if your only hope and prayer of saving your homeland

      Terrorists can kill every westerner they see & it will not protect their lands any moreso.

      • Rob

        And just to add, Look what martyrdom had resulted in. Does Palestine hav any more land back, no.

        Did it make us ‘westerners’ leave, no. It’s bringing our army’s into play

        Did it gain Palestine more support? Yes from only hired killers, thugs & frankly this planets lowlifes. Most rather live with what they have & try to enjoy life.

        People can moan about Isreali aggression and over use of power but they fight an enemy who plays by no rules. Follows none of the Geneva convetion. They cannot even except defeat when most of their past’s leaders are now dead. They have no armed forces to forcefully take any land back. They have little support compared to Isreal. Get the F’n hint. Put down the guns , live your life to the best you can. While you are able.

        • You could argue that Gaza has succeeded in defending itself from further Israeli encroachment and has gained international attention, while the West bank is slowly being dissolved away by Jewish settlements and for the most part has fallen off everyone’s radar.

          It’s still a pretty difficult choice though. Living a crappy, somewhat secure life watching your pseudo-country slowly disappear or living an incredibly harsh life defending and securing a little enclave for what you believe in.

          Though no matter what they do they’re a massive thorn in the side of our back. Their pointless struggle fuels insurgents abroad. We should try to convince Turkey or Egypt to send peacekeepers there or something, let them take the blame and in a best-case scenario, actually help steer the Palestinian people away from extremism.

    • Billy

      why should anyone support the fight of people that are only out to hurt civilians? the goal of palestinian “libiration” is to destroy and take over Israel and kill every jew like muhammed told them to.
      no-one in their right mind would support that.

      i support a two state solution as was prepared in 1922, Jordan for the arabs and israel for civilised people.

    • elgatoso

      No.We DON’T.Remember the Beirut barracks bombing!!!!

    • Paul

      Of course The Palestines are right in their struggle for freedom. The country was stolen from them and they want it back. Jewish controlled media call the Palestines fighting this righteous war terrorists. That might change in time to freedom fighters who need to be supported by NATO airstrikes on Israhell. That will be a day…. Will we live to see this? I don’t think so, but it would be nice to follow this battle on Fox or CNN

  • Yamash$ta

    Wanton Israeli aggression will be their downfall.

    Cracks me up how a state with hundreds of nukes, thermo-nukes at that, and the unconditional support of the sucker US tax-payer for $$billions of dollars in aid and free Apaches, F-16’s, Hellfires and such, get’s out-fought, out-maneuvered, and flat out dissed by a a few thousand cats with AK’s. ATGM’s and short range SSM’s . Bibi and his zealots are losing sleep over how to further blackmail the world’s lone superpower again.

  • Locarno

    Interesting that this issue (unencrypted UAV video feeds) had supposedly come up as a major issue for a US ally ten years before the US noticed it themselves. Nice of them to mention it.

    • Israeli

      It was common knowledge published in many reports and books.

  • Mike Smith

    “Does anyone here support the Palestinians’ fight for freedom from Israeli occupation? Why or why not?”

    No, not until they grow up and renounce radical islam and its inherent terrorist ways. They’re the scum of the earth cand they should be eradicated.

    Whats next from you lefties? Supporting North Korea, seriosuly,how long before we see you lefties in NK ships and cities protecting the ‘dear leader’..? Not long I guess as you’ll go with anyone as long as they’re against you America, Israel or “the west”.

    (awaiting my comment to be removed for going against the grain and being un-PC)

  • Matt Musson

    Good. Now they can track the drone as it blows them into little tiny Persian bits.

  • Mathieu

    Holy Cow! You guys sure tooka left turn on this one!
    Back to the actual article – it amazes me that these feeds, downlink AND uplink were EVER not encrypted? When it came out that US drone feeds were not encrypted the contractor came out and said, “Well it’s not our fault, encryption wasn’t in the request.”
    What is the point of hiring a contractor that is supposed to be an expert in the field when they can’t offer basic security tips like that?
    Shameful.

    • blight

      I’m beginning to wonder of such qualifies as treason equivalent to leaking military communications on the web…?

      Hezbollah has always been a scary little group, maybe in more ways than al Qaeda.

  • Chuck

    Ivan, spoken like a good pogrom loving commie. Do you think the native American Indians respected each others property. Not really. Actually, many Indians helped use fight other Indians. Do you know what, Indians are free to live here in the USA or on the Indian tribal lands they still own. Would be interested to see the deeds of the lands we stole from the Indians. While I don’t like the fact that we fought the Indians for the territory now called the USA, were the Russians in Alaska (before we bought it from Russia) any better? Or I suppose the Spaniards were less occupational, or the French. And your Nazi reference is not even close as most Germans came over after the country was settled, so get off that horse. I seriously doubt any of your ancestors were paragons of virtue – does Ivan the Terrible come to mind? LOL, funny you should offer US land to the Palestinians, since they certainly wouldn’t even consider going to Russia, considering the hell hole that country is.

  • David

    Thx once again for screwing us Israel!

    • Ben

      Please explain yourself, we use different UAV’s, Israeli UAV’s are home made.
      And yours are 100% US made, so blaming Israel for not telling you about encryption is stupid. And you never know what actual info is exchanged

  • What, don’t tell me weapons sales to Saudia and the rest of your degenerate islamo-nazi theifdoms are down.

  • Cannon Fodder

    I support Israel in their fight against the Islamic Borg. Muslims are intent on destroying Israel, because their belief system says for Muslims to kill the Jews. If they could destroy Israel, they will continue to erode western society like they are doing in several european countries already.

    Now, they want to build a 9/11 victory mosque in NYC. Oh, they want to open it on 9/11 and it is named after the first mosque built in Spain. Time to wake up boys and girls…

  • Jay

    I would not be surprised if the Hizballah guys working with the Mexican drug smugglers are using this “feature” on the drones we use to watch the southern border.

    Is there a way to pinpoint and jam the intercept device?

  • Infidel4LIFE

    the moslems won’t recognize Israel’s right to exist. WHY would anyone expect peace to break out? This one’s going all the way, and when they start tearing down the Al-Aqsa mosque expect the worst. Religion will kill us all..better them than me.

  • Infidel4LIFE

    This fence and BP, Nat. guard is needed to shut the border. When i watch Nat Geo, all these BP police are doing is stopping marijuana smuggling. All that $$ spent coz of a weed that grows naturally. Why not seize the kilos of heroin coming thru everyday? Its stupid. Legalize and regulate. Marijuana is the LEAST of our problems. WTF!!

  • bruce

    Turban or no,12 Israeli commados aint’ going back to Lebanon.

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