Feeds

Terrorist robots dissected - anatomy of a scare

DIY cruise missiles - not as easy as you think

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The RF signals/EW battle is one that terrorists will really struggle to win. Lose badly enough and you won't just fail - you'll be traced to your remote piloting location and the next thing you know you'll be hip-deep in SAS men. To be honest, roadside emplacement would probably work better - perhaps that's why people tend to do it that way.

Even a nice simple GPS autonomous drone - if you could somehow make it strike hard enough at a reasonable price and size - can be jammed or spoofed without difficulty. It isn't hard to blot out or degrade the genuine civ-GPS signal within a smallish area, and the level of inconvenience to those nearby isn't all that great. It's not like drowning out hospital beepers or something. And the nasty old western forces aren't bothered at all, because they can use the encrypted military GPS signal.

Frankly, if GPS drones ever seem likely to become a threat, you can expect cheap simple GPS jammers at every target location. This sort of thing is one reason why a Tomahawk cruise missile costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, not $1k. (The other big factor is the need to lug a big warhead and lots of fuel.)

GPS deathbots aren't likely, though. Not soon. Terrorist cells which can make or obtain 50lb of reliable explosives, build them into a $60k robo-aircraft without blowing themselves up, and then operationally deploy the system by lorry without being betrayed, are quite thin on the ground.

If this was the heyday of the Provisional IRA, you might want to think about those GPS and RF-video jammers; but it isn't. The new kids on the block aren't in the PIRA league. They operate in UK organisations typically 10 strong or less - probably because they don't have solid community support - and it's a big day for them if they can make risky-but-functional TATP backpack bombs. Mostly they aren't even that good - indeed, they're often almost comically inept.

Even if PIRA were back, so what? Accept a little bit of GPS jamming around obvious targets, and get on with life.

Once again, it seems that the main thing we have to fear is fear itself. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?