New High School Course in Iran: Drone Hacking

AP informs us that a reformist newspaper in Iran has a story on a new course to be taught in high schools in Iran beginning in September:

Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards paramilitary units plan to teach drone-hunting to school students, an Iranian newspaper reported Monday.

The report by pro-reform Etemad daily quoted Gen. Ali Fazli, acting commander of the Guard’s Basij militia, as saying the new program will be taught as part of a “Defensive Readiness” lesson in high schools from late September.

And just how would these drones be “hunted”? By hacking them, of course:

He did not elaborate but the plan suggests students would be taught how to track and bring down drone aircraft by hacking their computer systems.

But students could never hack a drone, could they?

[youtuber youtube=’’]


But, but, the video tells us that military drones are much more secure against hacking than civilian drones, aren’t they? Oh, wait. Wow, that was even the latest drone model the Iranians hacked?

I’m calling dibs on the Persian translation of “See something, hack something”.

Many years ago, Jim got a BA in Radiation Biophysics from the University of Kansas. He then got a PhD in Molecular Biology from UCLA and did postdoctoral research in yeast genetics at UC Berkeley and mouse retroviruses at Stanford. He joined biosys in Palo Alto, producing insect parasitic nematodes for pest control. In the early 1990’s, he moved to Gainesville, FL and founded a company that eventually became Entomos. He left the firm as it reorganized into Pasteuria Biosciences and chose not to found a new firm due a clash of values with venture capital investors, who generally lack all values. Upon leaving, he chose to be a stay at home dad, gentleman farmer, cook and horse wrangler. He discovered the online world through commenting at Glenn Greenwald’s blog in the Salon days and was involved in the briefly successful Chris Dodd move to block the bill to renew FISA. He then went on to blog at Firedoglake and served a brief stint as evening editor there. When the Emptywheel blog moved out of Firedoglake back to standalone status, Jim tagged along and blogged on anthrax, viruses, John Galt, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is now a mostly lapsed blogger looking for a work-around to the depressing realization that pointing out the details of government malfeasance and elite immunity has approximately zero effect.

6 replies
  1. peasantparty says:

    Dibs! Darn it.

    The shame of it all is that the US will be pissed, indignant, and simply not understand the hacking. Funny they feel they can invade sovereign air space with impunity and expect no recourse.

    Here in the South we have our own Drone program. It’s called Lead Poisoning. These Red-Necks are all worked up to bag a Drone.

    I’m NOT Kidding!

  2. What Constitution says:

    @jo6pac: Funny thing, that: if you were to enroll here in the USA, you could expect a knock on the door from government officials who suspect you of terrorism; if you were to enroll in Iran, you might get a medal for defense of the homeland. But not to worry, they just hate us for our freedoms.

  3. Change Iran Now says:

    Seriously? I guess trying to teach them basic economics might be too depressing since the unemployment rates for Iranian youth is astronomical. You might think a nation would have better priorities for its youth than trying to teach them how to shoot down drones, but it certainly gives you an idea what Iran’s ruling mullahs think of the future for its young people. Iran has been remade by these clerical extremists to have economic despair, brutal human rights repression and a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East. All for what? There’s not much of a bright future these kids can look forward to, especially since Rouhani is little no more than a public mask espousing moderation when in fact he’s a loyal, career hardliner. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself at The only hope these kids have for the future is a regime change where they can chart their own futures.

  4. Jim White says:

    @Change Iran Now: Is that you, Congressman Rohrabacher?

    Imagine if the US were under economic sanctions that prevent importation of important medical products. Imagine if the same country that instituted the sanctions also routinely violated US airspace with drones and assassinated leading scientists. Do you doubt for a minute that the best and brightest in our high schools would jump at the chance to hack those drones?

  5. What Constitution? says:

    @Change Iran Now: Amazing. In addition to agreeing with Jim White’s reply to your post, I must note the audacity of your apparent presumption that Iranians ought to be viewing the presence of US drones in their airspace as some kind of “honor”. The presence of US drones in Iranian airspace is nothing less than an incursion against Iranian national sovereignty, quite obviously. The Iranians would be fully justified in shooting them down, there’s no doubt about this, is there? And what this emphasizes is that drones are not weapons of “warfare” so much as they are implements of control and/or monitoring over a population or area where no sufficient military weaponry or will exists to just shoot them down. We use them in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Yemen “because we can”, either by government invitation or government acquiescence; we don’t use them where they would be shot down and we use them at greater risk of international incident in places like Iran, where their likelihood of being shot down (or hacked down) is more immediate. Indeed, the point of the observation I offered above was to emphasize that the use of drones by the US government in the US would and does fall into the category of “suppression” and that is why taking an online class on drone hacking here likely would result in being treated like a terrorist. Your assumption that US use of drones in Iran is somehow eminently justified is chillingly myopic — though you’re one of many, to be sure. Our drones are “liberating” Iran, is that the idea?

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