Predator Drone Sat Feeds were unencrpted?

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Jim S.

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Lots of stuff is unprotected because someone figures that the general public won't know it's even there. The example most people are familiar with was telephone switches, back in the analog days. Many Unix systems also used to ship with minimal security. They were capable of being secure, but only if the users knew what they were doing. By default, if you could log on, there was very little to keep you out of anyone else's business.

Skygrabber's website is currently overloaded (gee, imagine that) but I get the impression from Google that it's a program to capture IP data from satellite -- something that I knew to be possible, but never investigated the particulars of because I don't have a DVB card.
 

riffjim4069

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Apr 7, 2004
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Just wish they would listen to the IA experts --- and policy --- that say they are suppose to 'protect' their information both in transit and at rest. Of course the enemy is going to capture the open feeds! The sad part is --- the vulnerability was not 'unknown' - they just decided to save some money and didn't think the bad guys would notice.
 

ikki

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> HD-Lite is a plague on the DBS community; it is the Horizontal Death!

What is this Horizontal Death you speak of?
 

SatelliteAV

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Or...... just make it "illegal" to monitor these frequencies like they did to protect the cell telephone companies....... LOL!!!
 

AcWxRadar

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Apr 26, 2006
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I just LOVE this phrase:

"A senior defense official who was not authorized to speak"

Whatever happened to "No Comment"? And if they are not authorized to speak, why do they keep on talking?

"I am not supposed to discuss this, but if you want to know...."
(Just don't use my name.)

What???? Run that by me again, please. What is this? Sounds more like "Pssst! Can you keep a secret? I know something about Bob and Lisa. Guess what they did last weekend at the party!" Giggle Giggle. "Oh! But, don't tell anyone that I told you."

Are sensitive matters of national security no more important than a one night fling at a drunken college party in the eyes of these so called "officials"?

RADAR
 

14karat

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Feb 14, 2005
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I don't care what type of transport they are using, it is ridiculous to send it unencrypted.
It is entirely too inexpensive and simple to encrypt feeds.
And someone pointing a satellite dish and receiving an unencrypted feed is NOT a 'hacker' and not even a 'cracker' (which is the actual term they are looking for in this case)
 

B.J.

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Oct 15, 2008
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I don't care what type of transport they are using, it is ridiculous to send it unencrypted.
It is entirely too inexpensive and simple to encrypt feeds.
...

It may be inexpensive and simple to encrypt right now, if, say you are in a network uplink facility or van. It probably wasn't so easy or inexpensive to put that encryption capability into the small packages requirred back when these planes were developed. In fact, when some of those planes first came out, they weren't even using digital. In a plane with limited space available, I don't think that we can assume that including the encryption would be simple, and I am pretty certain that it wouldn't be inexpensive to retrofit a plane designed for an analog transmitter with a digital version capable of encryption.
When they are developing military hardware, most things have to go through testing that is extremely rigid and difficult to pass, such as the ability to withstand nuclear blasts and RF intense enough to cause helicopter blades to become flexible. This often means that off the shelf electronics usually won't be acceptable, as the ICs used for the encryption in the commercial equipment most likely aren't mil standard, and it can take 6 years for getting a device fielded, and in the case of things like this, it often means that by the time they are fielded, they may be obsolete. Shortcuts are often taken in cases where they need to get something in the field quickly, but this may result in not getting all the features you'd expect them to demand. The contractors producing these things are not going to make them cheap.
Anyway, it's not surprising to me.
 

truckracer

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Sep 17, 2004
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oh yes...the old analog cell phone days when 823-849 mhz was blocked out of most police scanners. that was usually easy to fix back then on most models.
 

Jim S.

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It was supposed to be illegal to sell one that could be unblocked too, but some companies didn't take that seriously. The ones that did take it seriously could be a pain in the ass even if you didn't want to listen to cell phones. For example, my Yaesu VR-500 has holes where mixing products of the cell frequencies could appear if you fed it a strong signal. (I guess making their radio good enough to not generate spurious mixing products didn't occur to them. :rolleyes: )

Of course, the government being what it is, it's still illegal to sell scanners with those frequencies, even though there are no analog call phones anymore.
 

melgarga

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May 11, 2008
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I have two immediate thoughts on this.
One is taking advantage of these as "marked aerial patrol cars". Visual presence is a known good deterent to illicit activities.
Couple this with a potential means of inserting mis-information to the enemy, and you hold all the cards. Let them believe they have a hand up. When they act on the intercepted (mis)info ie; doctored video and data feeds, take 'em out...............
After a few good stings, they wont know if they can rely on the intercepted signals or not.
Is my cold war mentality showing too much.........???

The blocked cell freqs law was silly. The 1st and 2nd gen "car phone" systems (big honkin Motorola in the trunk) on vhf and uhf didnt get treated equally so what's the point? The truth is, if something is broadcast over the air, it become publicly accessible, and it is up to the originator to secure it from undesired interpretation. Simply put, if one broadcasts anything, from WiFi, cordless phones, baby monitors, nannycams/porchcams etc, even and especially pay services, secure it or dont bitch if someone sees/hears/uses it. If your security is broken, FIX it. Dont depend on legislation to protect you. Reception of virtually any signal is nearly as easy as falling off a log. The ability to interpret it varies from no effort (free) to impossible (secured) and it's all fair game because it is literally in the air.

No laws will change that, and those that would intercept and act on any information gleened from the signal likely have no regard for laws to begin with. I'm pretty sure the various "Terrorists Are Us" groups would get a nice chuckle out of any such congressional mandate regarding the OP's topic.

During the MAD years, DC was a prime target, and there was great concern for saving our Senators and Congressmen. As things have gone for the passed 20 years or so, I've come to question why we would (or even should) do that these days.............
 

Tron

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May 6, 2005
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The truth is, if something is broadcast over the air, it become publicly accessible, and it is up to the originator to secure it from undesired interpretation. Simply put, if one broadcasts anything, from WiFi, cordless phones, baby monitors, nannycams/porchcams etc, even and especially pay services, secure it or dont bitch if someone sees/hears/uses it. If your security is broken, FIX it. Dont depend on legislation to protect you. Reception of virtually any signal is nearly as easy as falling off a log. The ability to interpret it varies from no effort (free) to impossible (secured) and it's all fair game because it is literally in the air.

Agreed 100 percent.
 

gdavisloop

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Mar 3, 2008
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Unencrypted Preditor feeds are not unusual. They are also rebroadcast in other countries. There was a guy in England who had about a 7' spun aluminum dish, probably C-band, who picked up Preditor feeds for months. He said he called NATO, etc, to report it, and the official word was that the U.S. had a limited amount of encryption equipment (yeah right) and that only the higher-priority feeds were encrypted; the ones he was seeing were intended for U.S. alies in Europe and weren't considered important enough to encrypt.

Also we saw them here in the U.S. one day on C or Ku-band, analog I think. It lasted for a few hours. It looked like a training exercise in the U.S. but it was hard to tell.

--Gary
 

SpiffWilkie

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Jul 16, 2008
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Memphis, TN
Am I understanding right that these are not video broadcasts that can be picked up by a STB? The broadcasts are in data form and need to be captured (hence the software) before being decoded on a pc?
 
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