United States Air Force at the Air and Space conference held in Maryland, has unveiled a specifically designed aircraft named EC-130H Compass Call that is, apart from its air combating proficiencies, capable enough to hack targeted enemy networks wirelessly and directly from the aircraft.
US Air Force used C-130 airframe to design and develop a highly modified version of their latest air combat aircraft EC-130H Compass Call, an inventive in-flight hacking platform. It has been precisely configured to perform strategic communications, command and control countermeasures.
The aircraft uses a noise-jamming feature to hinder enemy’s communication system or to degrade their networks and systems to confine the enemy’s command and control center that controls weapon systems and other resources.In short, this aircraft can jam enemy’s communication networks during a war and has the capability to perform cyber attacks on the ground-based military networks.
Major General Burke Wilson, commander of the 24th Air Force, the service’s cyber operations, while revealing the USAF aircraft project, said: “We’ve conducted a series of demonstrations. Lo and behold! Yes, we’re able to touch a target and manipulate a target, [i.e.] a network, from an air[craft].”Furthermore, Wilson publicized at the Air Force Association conference that EC-130H can wirelessly attack those networks that are, in most of the cases, closed and cannot be accessed through traditional means. Even though enough details were not revealed by him, it is known that most of the networks being used by military around the world are kept disconnected from the Internet for enhanced security and to protect their command and control centers. This technique is also known as air-gapping.
This is why hackers who want to hack into the military servers have to physically gain access to the network in order to infect the network, but these attempts usually require a lot of time and luck. “That doesn’t mean that we may not still try to touch a target through a traditional networking set of capabilities,” Wilson added. “But to be able to go and use the other domains [e.g. from the air] I think is really the future.” So if the testing of the aircraft turns out to be successful in the near future then the USAF will be able to use these aircraft alongside its existing air fleet, allowing the force to attack its targets with bombs as well as viruses.