Breaking: Is the Mystery JFK Drone the Work of Hacktivists?

Just last week, we came out with a story about Iranian hackers that compromised intelligence group IHS Janes along with others.  Along with the release of those documents, they made some pretty specific threats that involved taking control of drone craft to attack Vice President Joe Biden and his secret service convoy.  They also mentioned using drone craft to attack sensitive sites on US soil.  The threats would merely be interesting except for the fact that they were specific about the security weakness in drone technology, and the fact that the state of Iran has hacked into aspects of actual drones before, as evidenced in release of drone video and potentially in the capture of one of the craft.

What is striking about this is that the intelligence information that was released contains a good deal of airport intel.  Fast forward to a few days ago, where the news emerged that a mystery drone was spotted by a pilot near JFK airport.  The FAA and FBI are reportedly looking into information around this as there is little known about the nature of this mystery drone sighting.

Today the claim emerged that Parastoo, the Iranian hacker group involved in the earlier story was actually involved in this recent event.

We have received a tip from a Persian observer and a source that the recent OP at JFK was done by Parastoo based on their last publication and since, based on their expressions on an underground forum, Joe Biden made statements at AIPAC that made them more angry. There is evidence Parastoo is a role player in #OPISRAEL and the upcoming wave. The JFK Lulz was a Joint OP done by people involved with these groups with Parastoo providing the “know-how” and others bringing logistics to the gang.

It’s also being reported that there are a number of hacking groups working in unified effort towards the goal under some capacity to erase Israel from the web on April 7th.  The planned massive cyber attack on Israeli domains.  The attack is being initiated under the banner #opIsrael in an Anonymous-style crowd effort.

According to the tip, the claim is that Parastoo has provided the intelligence on how to hack into drones and another group has executed it.  If reports are true that the FBI and FAA are investigating the mystery drone event, then they are likely aware of this claim.

So back to the questions at hand.  Were Parastoo’s threats legitimate?  The info they leaked was certainly actionable, so does this now mean they have not only the specific threats, but  even further evidence of their drone compromise skill?  It really comes down to what gets reported about the incident, perhaps the JFK drone was just a lost specimen or in a Roswell-style moment in time, turns out to be a weather balloon or something.  Perhaps the attribution to Parastoo is just opportunistic, perhaps there’s someone out there just trying to scare up some reactions, but maybe- just maybe this is something that has some real implications to it.

About John Casaretto

SiliconANGLE's CyberSecurity Editor - Have a story tip or feedback? Please reach out to me! Security is as critical as ever and our mission is to uncover those stories that will help our industry be more secure.