[amsat-bb] Re: FLTSATCOM Hacked

Nate Duehr nate at natetech.com
Fri Apr 24 15:12:23 PDT 2009

On Fri, 24 Apr 2009 06:36:37 -0500 (CDT), "Alan Sieg WB5RMG"
<wb5rmg at somenet.net> said:

> It has always seemed to me that some of the best protection we have had,
> is in the simple fact that a moving target is less likely to be of value
> or interest to pirates. Our feeble low-powered, fast-moving, doppler-
> shifting transponders are not very attractive targets for freeloaders.
> Just like internet hackers, they are not interested in a 386 w/4MB ram.
> Something like an antique Navy GEO with lots of power is an easy mark.

Common sense, well written.  Thanks Alan.

> I'm not suggesting we only deploy obscure low-power LEO birds, but the
> higher we push the frequencies, and stay in motion, the less attention
> we attract. As much convenience as GEO offers, it would also bring a
> following of pirates. A GTO like AO-13 that requires at least scheduled
> pointing, would likely not be seen as such an easy mark. A small flock
> of APRS birds like BobB mentions would probably not appear of much
> interest to pirates either.

Or... it's time to finally realize that all encryption in Amateur Radio
isn't "bad" and start working toward rules that allow for encryption for
purposes of authentication for users on Amateur frequencies.  AMSAT and
the international community of Satellite Amateurs already has this
exemption for command/control of the birds, and has had it in the U.S.
FCC regulations for a very long time.  But it's probably time to "move
on" and start developing the political will to add in appropriately
worded encryption allowances for all to use for specific purposes, like
authentication/access to our infrastructure -- whatever that might be...
a satellite, a repeater, whatever we CHOOSE to use it for, as long as
it's limited to the authentication, and not for encryption of the
CONTENTS of the communication.

Part 97 is "close", but not quite there yet.  Not sure there's enough
political will to (yet) make it happen, either.

Can't really attempt to create a "clearinghouse" of authentication
information until the law allows the basics, though.  And yes, there's a
HUGE number of pitfalls and problems with that NEXT step... but the
first step is to allow Amateurs to continue to do what we do best...

The Internet has already figured these questions out -- how to
authenticate people, and to reserve shared infrastructure for only those
authorized to use it... unfortunately, we're limited by the law into NOT
being able to even try things on the Amateur bands... 

Nate WY0X

  Nate Duehr
  nate at natetech.com

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