Feeds

Terrorist robots dissected - anatomy of a scare

DIY cruise missiles - not as easy as you think

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.