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post #2 of Old 10-21-2013
Zanshin
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Re: AIS "extremely vulnerable to hackers"

It must be a slow news day, I saw these articles on several sites this morning, including BBC.

How I dislike some of these sensationalistic reports. While basically true, the second headline is patently false - they did not hijack anything, they spoofed signals. And if hackers only recently found out how to do this, instead of years ago on DAY 1 of the AIS signal standards having been published, they don't deserve the title "hacker".

The same concepts apply to many such open systems including GPS signals and ATIS.

With a bit of work they could spoof a phantom ship and a phantom track - but the example of "PWNED" is, in security terms, a joke. It uses signals to marinetraffic.com, which is not an official AIS tracking site but one that uses private feeds. I bet that the time signals on the spoofed messages for that track are only seconds apart. Even an unsophisticated AIS receiver would show a speed of several thousand miles an hour for that ship.

While there are some malicious things one could do with big ships and fake Class "A" proximity signals, I think I'll continue to sleep easy since they would need powerful and sophisticated equipment to "jam" a valid AIS signal.


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