Ever since the September 11 attacks, the government has stepped up security at airports in a bid to stop terrorists from repeating their feat of hijacking commercial aeroplanes.
But officials could be ignoring another porential source of terrorist violence – unmanned drones.
As the number of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) continues to rise, security experts have warned that they could be turned into weapons by hijackers using electronic kits which cost as little as $1,000.
The ability to bring down drones by confusing their GPS navigation was vividly shown when the Iranian government proudly showed off a U.S. military aircraft which it captured in its airspace last year.
But with an increasing number of drones being operated by companies and individuals, it is no longer necessary to break through military-level security to hijack a UAV.
‘In 5 or 10 years you have 30,000 drones in the airspace,’ Professor Todd Humphreys, of the University of Texas at Austin, told Fox News. ‘Each one of these could be a potential missile used against us.’
Mr Humphreys says he has developed the most sophisticated ‘GPS spoofer’ ever made, at a cost of just $1,000, which allows him to control any drone whose navigation system is not encrypted.