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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related) > AIS "extremely vulnerable to hackers"
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Thread: AIS "extremely vulnerable to hackers" Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-14-2013 11:54 PM
Uricanejack
Re: AIS "extremely vulnerable to hackers"

Big deal
11-14-2013 06:06 PM
Classic30
Re: AIS "extremely vulnerable to hackers"

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
Good article. It still fails to mention that in order to spoof an AIS signal, the rogue transmitter needs to continuously send out false data out every few seconds. This makes them an easy target for being discovered (and ultimately apprehended) through RDF.

This makes AIS much harder to spoof without being caught. Someone wanting to cause massive disruption and get away with it would be much more likely to be successful by making a single mayday call on channel 16. That seems to happen a couple times a year - far more frequently than any know cases of AIS spoofing.
Agreed.. As far as AIS goes, someone *might* be able to have some fun over-riding an individual ships' AIS transmission to show them slightly off-track one way or the other - enough to cause a collision with someone else in a narrow traffic lane, in fog, but then in those conditions you'd think people would be using radar in preference to AIS.

I think the take-home message is that, yes, it's possible to temporarily "spoof" AIS - but it's a totally pointless exercise. The "researchers" would have far more success (with the same effect on AIS transmissions BTW) by tampering with GPS.
11-14-2013 11:30 AM
TakeFive
Re: AIS "extremely vulnerable to hackers"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicca619 View Post
Here are some good thoughts in reply to all the Buzz about

portvision.com/news---events/press-releases---news/bid/343898/AIS-Hacking-Buzz-Hype-and-Facts"]AIS Hacking
Good article. It still fails to mention that in order to spoof an AIS signal, the rogue transmitter needs to continuously send out false data out every few seconds. This makes them an easy target for being discovered (and ultimately apprehended) through RDF.

This makes AIS much harder to spoof without being caught. Someone wanting to cause massive disruption and get away with it would be much more likely to be successful by making a single mayday call on channel 16. That seems to happen a couple times a year - far more frequently than any know cases of AIS spoofing.
11-14-2013 12:39 AM
Nicca619
Re: AIS "extremely vulnerable to hackers"

Here are some good thoughts in reply to all the Buzz about

portvision.com/news---events/press-releases---news/bid/343898/AIS-Hacking-Buzz-Hype-and-Facts"]AIS Hacking
10-22-2013 06:07 PM
Classic30
Re: AIS "extremely vulnerable to hackers"

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
Funny how those news articles on "hacking" the AIS system choose to leave out these things.
Well, like Zanshin said in Post #2, it must be a slow news day..
10-22-2013 09:10 AM
TakeFive
Re: AIS "extremely vulnerable to hackers"

Quote:
Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post
Yes. Radio direction finding (RDF) is built into Rescue 21. Some USCG small boats and even Towboat/US towboats have RDF capability.

Pseudo-doppler RDF is both state-of-the-art and inexpensive. You can build one yourself for about $300US and use any FM radio for direction finding. It's fun. Some ham radio clubs have radio fox hunts that use a number of different technologies, some quite simple, to good effect.
Funny how those news articles on "hacking" the AIS system choose to leave out these things.
10-22-2013 09:08 AM
SVAuspicious
Re: AIS "extremely vulnerable to hackers"

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
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.
Yes. Radio direction finding (RDF) is built into Rescue 21. Some USCG small boats and even Towboat/US towboats have RDF capability.

Pseudo-doppler RDF is both state-of-the-art and inexpensive. You can build one yourself for about $300US and use any FM radio for direction finding. It's fun. Some ham radio clubs have radio fox hunts that use a number of different technologies, some quite simple, to good effect.
10-22-2013 06:35 AM
Zanshin
Re: AIS "extremely vulnerable to hackers"

I've experienced the slow process of changing standards before, so I'm not going to hold my breath until the ITU or IMO changes the AIS protocal. I'm certain that manufacturers will put in some basic error-checking firmware sometime to ensure that single AIS broadcasts or subsequent messages with conflicting information or boat speeds in excess of MACH 1 will be filtered out or somehow marked as "suspect".

I was being very tongue-in-cheek and believe that Mark was as well regarding using, or not using, electronics aboard. I singlehand and feel that my AIS (transmitter) is my most important nighttime tool. Since the IMO doesn't require me to transmit I can easily turn off my signal if I feel it prudent.
10-21-2013 10:34 PM
TakeFive
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.
10-21-2013 07:59 PM
rikhall
Re: AIS "extremely vulnerable to hackers"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Classic30 View Post
I'm sure they'd share your thoughts as they steer through known pirate zones.:
I shared a link to a BBC new item about a team that captured some pirates and sunk their two vessels. I think I read that some of the boats with AIS travelling through that area had put the words "Armed Guards on Board" in the spot where one normal puts the vessel name.

At least I think it was that article.

Rik
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