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When thinking about cyber attacks, usually the first thing that comes to mind would breaking into some large company’s computer system, government’s networkd or other sites included under “national critical infrastructure”. However, Colby Moore, a security expert from security firm Synack, proves that any electronic device is under immediate threat by skilled hackers. In the Black Hat conference for information security which will take place in Las Vegas for the 18th year in a row, Moore is to instruct the audience how to break into a satellite surveillance system using a device they can build from home at a total cost of only $1000.
Breaking into a satellite Global Positioning System, or GPS, is not a matter to be taken lightly and many try to use that technology for different purposes, including many armies across the world. If malicious hackers can penetrate the military’s position signals, for instance, it would put the soldier on the field in grave danger since the enemy, knowing their exact location, can ambush them in advance.
Moore will show in his demonstration how data delivered between the man-carried or machine-carried device and the satellite can be monitored since it’s in no way encrypted and safe to use. For the demonstration he’s using the GlobalStar device which provides services for travelers tracking in remore areas as well as for businesses that want to track their goods. The technology used by GlobalStar, called Simplex, does not secure the information sent from the GPS device and communication satellites and so any hacker can locate the signal of communication and penetrate it.
Moore’s home made device used for hacking is made of a satellite antenna, a radio transmitter software and a receiver which allows the potential attacker to access the stream of data and even manipulate it, like making it think it is in a different location than it actually is – all for the cost of just a thousand dollars.