Posts Tagged ‘IOActive’


[NBCCHICARGO.COM] A cyber security expert tells NBC5 Investigates he has found a way to hack into the satellite communications systems used in multiple industries.

“These devices are wide open right now,” said Ruben Santamarta, a security consultant based in Madrid, Spain with IOActive.

"For the aerospace sector we can disrupt satellite communications, [and] potentially modify the data that goes through those channels," said Santamarta

“For the aerospace sector we can disrupt satellite communications, [and] potentially modify the data that goes through those channels,” said Santamarta. Image: nbcchicargo.com

Pilots, ship captains and military personnel rely on satellite networks to communicate when there are no phone lines or wireless networks available.

“If someone can see the password or that user name it’s over,” he added. “Those vulnerabilities can be exploited to remotely compromise those devices.

Santamarta said he used something called reverse engineering — or decoding — to hack satellite communications equipment used in aerospace, maritime and military industries.

“In the military sector they use satellite terminals for combat units,” said Santamarta. “They normally encrypt the radio [transmissions] they send. But we can disrupt the satellite communications channel so we can prevent combat units [from asking] for help if they are being attacked.”

And in the maritime sector, satellite communications are used to send and receive vital information that affects the safety of the crew.

“If they are being attacked by terrorists, or they are suffering fire, they can send a distress call,” he said. “But we found we can modify the firmware in some of those terminals, so we can prevent a crew from sending a distress call.”

Santamarta recently published a 25-page report and went public with his findings at Defcon 22 – the largest hacking conference in the world – held earlier this month in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“For the aerospace sector we can disrupt satellite communications, [and] potentially modify the data that goes through those channels,” said Santamarta. “In some cases you need physical access to compromise the devices we analyzed, but in other cases you can use Wi-Fi or the entertainment network to access that device.”

His research took place in a lab setting and has not been tested on an actual commercial plane. But his findings have raised concerns in the aviation industry.

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NBCCHICARGO.COM
21st August, 2014


 

 

 

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[World Bulletin] Cybersecurity researcher Ruben Santamarta says he has figured out how to hack the satellite communications equipment on passenger jets through their WiFi and in-flight entertainment systems – a claim that, if confirmed, could prompt a review of aircraft security.

“In theory, a hacker could use a plane’s onboard WiFi signal or inflight entertainment system to hack into its avionics equipment, potentially disrupting or modifying satellite communications”

Santamarta, a consultant with cybersecurity firm IOActive, is scheduled to lay out the technical details of his research at this week’s Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas, an annual convention where thousands of hackers and security experts meet to discuss emerging cyber threats and improve security measures.

His presentation on Thursday on vulnerabilities in satellite communications systems used in aerospace and other industries is expected to be one of the most widely watched at the conference. “These devices are wide open.

The goal of this talk is to help change that situation,” Santamarta, 32, told Reuters. The researcher said he discovered the vulnerabilities by “reverse engineering” – or decoding – highly specialized software known as firmware, used to operate communications equipment made by Cobham Plc, Harris Corp, EchoStar Corp’s Hughes Network Systems, Iridium Communications Inc and Japan Radio Co Ltd.

 

In theory, a hacker could use a plane’s onboard WiFi signal or inflight entertainment system to hack into its avionics equipment, potentially disrupting or modifying satellite communications, which could interfere with the aircraft’s navigation and safety systems, Santamarta said.

He acknowledged that his hacks have only been tested in controlled environments, such as IOActive’s Madrid laboratory, and they might be difficult to replicate in the real world.

Santamarta said he decided to go public to encourage manufacturers to fix what he saw as risky security flaws. Representatives for Cobham, Harris, Hughes and Iridium said they had reviewed Santamarta’s research and confirmed some of his findings, but downplayed the risks.

For instance, Cobham, whose Aviation 700 aircraft satellite communications equipment was the focus of Santamarta’s research, said it is not possible for hackers to use WiFi signals to interfere with critical systems that rely on satellite communications for navigation and safety.

The hackers must have physical access to Cobham’s equipment, according to Cobham spokesman Greg Caires. “In the aviation and maritime markets we serve, there are strict requirements restricting such access to authorized personnel only,” said Caires. A Japan Radio Co spokesman declined to comment, saying information on such vulnerabilities was not public.

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World Bulletin 4th Aug, 2014