sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : AIS concern - serious vulnerability to hacking
AIS concern - serious vulnerability to hacking


'AIS data could be vulnerable'    .

That AIS system you have such faith in may not be so secure after all. Hundreds of thousands of vessels, including many sailing boats worldwide, rely on the Automatic Identification System (AIS) for sharing vessel movements. Now the system has shown to be easily vulnerable to hacking.

Researchers have announced at a conference in Kuala Lumpur that they have found that it is possible to cause fake vessels to appear, real ones to disappear, and to issue false emergency alerts using cheap radio equipment.

Researchers with the computer security company Trend Micro discovered the problem, which stems from a lack of security controls in AIS, a system used by an estimated 400,000 vessels worldwide.

AIS is an easy target because the signals don’t currently have any authentication or encryption mechanism, making it simple to use software to craft a signal designed to do mischief, says Marco Balduzzi, Trend Micro researcher. 'All the ships out there are affected by this problem; it’s not tied to the hardware but to the protocol.'

International Maritime Organization rules make AIS mandatory on passenger vessels and on cargo ships over a certain size. Lighthouses, buoys, and other marine fixtures also transmit their location using the system.

'We were really able to compromise this system from the root level,' says Kyle Wilhoit, a researcher with Trend Micro’s Future Threat Research team. By purchasing a 700-euro piece of AIS equipment and connecting it to a computer in the vicinity of a port, the researchers could intercept signals from nearby craft and send out modified versions to make it appear to other AIS users that a vessel was somewhere it was not.

Using the same equipment and software, it is possible to force ships to stop broadcasting their movements using AIS by abusing a feature that lets authorities manage how nearby AIS transmitters operate. AIS transmissions could also be sent out that make fake vessels or structures such as lighthouses or navigational buoys appear, and to stage spoof emergencies such as a 'man in the water' alert or collision warning. No direct attacks were staged on any real vessels.

The researchers showed that their spoof signals were faithfully reproduced on the maps provided by online services that monitor AIS data.

From Trend Micro: Spoof radio signals convinced an online ship tracking service that this fake craft had traveled on a path near Italy that spelled out the hacker term “pwned,” which describes a system that has been compromised by an attacker. -  .. .  
One online service was fooled into showing a real tugboat disappearing from the Mississippi and reappearing on a Dallas lake, and (see photo left) depicting a fake vessel traveling off Italy on a course that spelled out the hacker term for a compromised system: 'pwned.'

Ships and marine authorities also use radar to detect other vessels and obstacles. But AIS was introduced as an easier and more powerful alternative, and people have come to rely on it, says Wilhoit. Balduzzi and Wilhoit collaborated on the research with independent Italian security researcher Alessandro Pasta, and presented their findings at the Hack In the Box security conference in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

The researchers attempted to notify several international marine and communication authorities, but only received a response from the International Telecommunications Union, a United Nations agency that deals with global communications policy. 'They seem to be on board with changing the protocol,' says Wilhoit, 'but it’s one of those foundational problems that will take time to fix.' AIS equipment has the protocol built in, so rolling out an improved form of AIS requires replacing existing equipment.

Even deciding on how to update the AIS protocol and regulations could take some time. The International Maritime Organization, another U.N. agency, is the international authority most directly responsible for AIS design and use, but a spokesperson, Natasha Brown, told MIT Technology Review that she was not aware that any research on AIS security had been presented to the agency. 'This issue has not been formally raised at IMO, so there has been no [internal] discussion or IMO recommendations or guidance.'

Only a formal paper submitted via a government with IMO membership or an organization with consultative status would lead to any response, said Brown.

So if you were just about to upgrade your AIS system, it might be wise to wait until the protocol is changed - or at least until we find how long that will be...

Thanks to the Ocean Cruising Club, the world-wide club for cruising sailors, for the notification about this news, and more information can be obtained about Trend Micro by clicking here.


by Tom Simonite, Technology Review/Sail-World

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=115905

8:25 PM Sat 19 Oct 2013GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







News - USA and the World

America's Cup: Five Challengers sign-on for 35th Match by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz,




















AWT Quatro Desert Showdown at Punta San Carlos by American Windsurfing Tour,
















America's Cup: Rod Davis - Time for a change after ten years with team *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz,








Maxi yacht rendezvous this September in Sardinia by International Maxi Association,




















America's Cup: Team NZ wish Davis well with new team *Feature by Richard Gladwell, Sail-world.com/nz,


Fisher's View: Sailing perfection at Hamilton Island- Day 3
Roble and Wilson still number one match racers in the U.S.
2014 Formula Kite World Championship Day 1
IFDS World Championship - Day 1 images by Jude Robertson
Volvo Ocean Race: Forget the f-word - Team SCA profiled
52 Super Series - Fleet grows, 2015 dates revealed
420 and 470 Junior Europeans - Teams from 9 nations on the podium
IFDS Worlds - Former president presented with ISAF awards medal
Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Improvements aplenty in Byte CII fleets
America's Cup: New Zealand loses top coach to Artemis Racing
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 CEO Knut Frostad talks (Part I) *Feature
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race Day 9 - Swish on record pace
2014 CORK Olympic Classes Regatta - Day 3
2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games - Day 2
2014 IFDS World Championship: Opening Ceremony images
Opera House Cup - Images by Ingrid Abery
Teams descend upon Cowes for inaugural J/111 World Championships
Hamilton Island Race Week: Everywhere there's smiley people
IFDS World Championships - US Paralympic hopefuls ready for racing
Sopot Match Race - Poland's Tour debut deemed a triumph
Vineyard Race celebrates 80th running of the East Coast classic   
Nanjing Youth Olympic Games: Young sailors begin racing on Lake Jinniu   
AWT Quatro Desert Showdown - Victory for Morgan Noireaux   
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race - Day 8: Test of endurance   
Bart's Bash: Over 2300 entered from 588 yacht clubs - Join here   
Halifax ready to welcome the world at 2014 IFDS World Championships   
RC44 World Championship title to Bronenosec + Video   
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week: Day 2 Images by Crosbie Lorimer   
IFDS Worlds - Gary Jobson to attend opening ceremonies   
Melges 32 U.S. National Championship - Dalton DeVos crowned champion   
2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games trailer   
2014 Chicago Grand Slam - Canfield wins   
Round Britain and Ireland Race - Varuna takes overall lead   
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week; Crosbie Lorimer Day 1 Images   
Fisher's View: Hamilton Island Race Week - Day 1 - Stayin' Alive   
CORK Olympic Classes Regatta 2014 - Day one   
Youth Olympics: practice over, athletes welcomed, time for YOG sailing   
Round Britain and Ireland Race - Record for Artemis-Team Endeavour   
2014 Melges 32 U.S. National Championship - Day 2   
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland: Artemis sets fourth course record   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT