Iran says it is building copy of captured U.S. drone — offers bits of decoded records to tease Pentagon


 
A senior Iranian commander says the country has reverse-engineered an American spy drone captured by Tehran’s armed forces last year and has begun building a copy.

General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who is chief of the aerospace division of the powerful Revolutionary Guards, was quoted Sunday by the semi-official Mehr news agency as saying that experts are also recovering data from the U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel captured in December in eastern Iran…

“I am giving you four codes so the Americans understand just how far we have gone in penetrating the drone’s secrets,” General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospatial division, told state television.

“In October 2010, the aircraft was sent to California for some technical issues, where it was repaired and after flight tests, it was taken to Kandahar (in Afghanistan) in November 2010, when a series of technical problems still prevailed,” he said.

“In December 2010, it was sent to an airport near Los Angeles for repair of its equipment and sensors, and flight tests. The drone was then sent back to Kandahar,” he said…

…He added Iran has “started producing a copy of the RQ-170 drone,” stressing it used the same US technology in stealth fighters and bombers…

Last December, the Iranian military’s electronic warfare unit announced that Iran had downed with minimal damage the U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel stealth reconnaissance aircraft, while it was flying above Iran’s Northeastern city of Kashmar. U.S. officials later confirmed that the drone was part of a CIA reconnaissance mission, involving the United States intelligence community stationed in Afghanistan…

Ahmad Karimpour, an adviser to Iran’s defense minister, said Tehran has received requests from many countries for information on the RQ-170 Sentinel, but Moscow and Beijing have been most aggressive in their pursuit of details on the drone. He did not elaborate.

Reverse engineering the operating system is the most difficult task I would guess. Decoding the protocols used for guidance are a high priority. All the rest is pretty standard aeronautics.

Not that the paranoid among us will refrain from raising alarums in the night, suffering great palpitations and digestive failure.

I don’t know why the Pentagon didn’t include a self-destruct mechanism and protocol. Would have headed a lot of whining off at the pass.

Google decides to stop doing Windows


No more Windows!
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Google is phasing out the internal use of Microsoft’s ubiquitous Windows operating system because of security concerns, according to several Google employees.

The directive to move to other operating systems began in earnest in January, after Google’s Chinese operations were hacked, and could effectively end the use of Windows at Google, which employs more than 10,000 workers internationally.

We’re not doing any more Windows. It is a security effort,” said one Google employee.

“Many people have been moved away from [Windows] PCs, mostly towards Mac OS, following the China hacking attacks,” said another.

New hires are now given the option of using Apple’s Mac computers or PCs running the Linux operating system…

Employees wanting to stay on Windows required clearance from “quite senior levels”, one employee said. “Getting a new Windows machine now requires CIO approval,” said another employee…

The move created mild discontent among some Google employees, appreciative of the choice in operating systems granted to them – an unusual feature in large companies. But many employees were relieved they could still use Macs and Linux. “It would have made more people upset if they banned Macs rather than Windows,” he added.

Phew! 🙂

Google introduces the Chrome OS, today

Today, we’re announcing a new project that’s a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It’s our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because we’re already talking to partners about the project, and we’ll soon be working with the open source community, we wanted to share our vision now so everyone understands what we are trying to achieve.

Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. We’re designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.

Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.

Quick. Someone send a truckload of Tums over to Redmond.

Of course, damned near anything that smacks of change, adroitness, speed – upsets folks at Microsoft. That’s a shame. There was a time when “innovation” really did reside with the Gates Family Singers. Not anymore, man.

Open Source is a pair of words that thrills me less than “standards” and “craftmanship”. But, Google’s leadership can make a difference. Should be an interesting project – one which makes waves through the business side of the geek world.

Thanks, Mr. Justin