Sunday, April 22, 2012

Iran claims it has extracted, decoded data from captured U.S.Sentinel drone

Iran says that it is in the process of reverse-engineering the U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel drone that it captured last year. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, chief of the aerospace division of the country's powerful Revolutionary Guards, was quoted by al Arabiya News as saying that Iranian experts have "cracked the codes" and are recovering information from the drone.

Hajizadeh said, "There is almost no part hidden to us in this aircraft. We recovered part of the data that had been erased. There were many codes and characters. But we deciphered them by the grace of God."

Hajizadeh added that data extracted from the aircraft indicated that it had been used to spy on the Pakistan compound where Osama bin Laden lived and was eventually killed.

He said that he was providing information about what Iranian experts had extracted to prove the the U.S. that a successful hack into the aircraft's systems had occurred. For example, he said, "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."

"Had we not accessed the plane's softwares and hard discs, we wouldn't have been able to achieve these facts," he said.

The U.S. has acknowledged that the Iranians had captured an RQ-170 Sentinel drone, but has also said that Iran would find it difficult, it not impossible, to extract data and exploit any data or technology aboard the craft.

When Iran captured the craft last December, the country said it did so by spoofing the drone's navigation system into thinking it was landing at its base, when it was instead landing in eastern Iran.

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