Another story from Bruce Schneier: this is from his "Schneier on Security" blog.
There's a report that Iran hacked the drones' GPS systems:
"The GPS navigation is the weakest point," the Iranian engineer told the Monitor, giving the most detailed description yet published of Iran's "electronic ambush" of the highly classified US drone. "By putting noise [jamming] on the communications, you force the bird into autopilot. This is where the bird loses its brain."
The "spoofing" technique that the Iranians used -- which took into account precise landing altitudes, as well as latitudinal and longitudinal data -- made the drone "land on its own where we wanted it to, without having to crack the remote-control signals and communications" from the US control center, says the engineer.
Now, here's the part that confuses me: if Iran was able to spoof GPS signals to misguide a drone to land outside it's home field, that seems to indicate that the drone wasn't using the encrypted military version of the GPS signal, which raises lots of questions about just who is in charge of designing the guidance systems for these devices, and how much Uncle Sam is paying for them. If all the Iranians did was jam the GPS frequencies, which is a much more believable attack, then the questions get more pointed and less polite. After all, interfering with military communications is as old as the telegraph, so I would have thought that a military airborne vehicle would have some internal logic and inertial navigation adequate to return it to friendly territory if it lost the GPS signals.
Of course, the internals of the drones are highly classified, known only to the defense contractors who are paid immense amounts of money to manufacture them, to the Defense Department, and now to whomever has the ante to buy the captured drone from Iran. Your tax dollars are at work, creating jobs for hidden, anonymous, unaccountable people who don't have to defend their design choices.