Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Swarthmore, PA
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Re: AIS "extremely vulnerable to hackers"
I don't get what the big deal is here. People can also issue hoax mayday calls on other VHF channels and cause massive disruption. It happens occasionally, but not often. The AIS "hacking" that is described here is similar - you can send out false digital signals on on channels 87 and 88, and you can intentionally synchronize your signals with other ships to block their AIS transmissions. But it's really only the digital equivalent of babbling inappropriate stuff on the other voice channels.
As with the other VHF channels, I would expect that the USCG has sensing equipment that can triangulate the location of the transmitters for these false signals. And since AIS needs to re-transmit its info every 2 to 10 seconds, those transmissions may actually be much EASIER to locate than a single hoax voice transmission.
This is just a long-winded way of saying that VHF radio has never been a fully secure system, but that hasn't prevented it from being a useful system. Maybe I'm just naive, but it seems to me that the same might hold true for AIS.
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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)