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Predator drone download by Iraqi insurgents wasn't 'hacking'

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Since the video streams that the Predators send back to bases across the world aren't encrypted, no security effort was being "breached." And while a number of Shiite insurgent groups in Iraq like the Mahdi Army have received explosives and financial support from the Iranians over the years, no evidence has even been presented that they've received advanced weaponry.

Insurgents used $26 software meant for downloading soccer matches

Advanced Iranian support would certainly not have been needed to target and download what amount to free-to-air transmissions by US Predators, since all it acquired was the $26 Russian software package SkyGrabber, a computer, and a satellite dish. SkyGrabber, along with most types of commercial software, is freely available in Baghdad, where it's popular for its designed purpose: illegally downloading European soccer matches and movie channels without paying hefty satellite subscription fees.

The software is also available for download, including a free version, from the company's website.

The existence of this and other software packages have long infuriated movie and satellite-television agencies, which argue that since they enable viewing of copyrighted broadcasts for free, their use should also be illegal.

To its credit, the Journal did point out that what enabled insurgent access to the videos was a security flaw that the US has known about since the moment the Predator's went into service over the Balkans 15 years ago.

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