AIS (Automatic Identification System) Vulnerabilities
Trend Micro researchers have discovered that flaws in the AIS vessel tracking system can allow attackers to hijack communications of existing vessels, create fake vessels, trigger false SOS or collision alerts and even permanently disable AIS tracking on any vessel.
As the world becomes more connected to the “Internet of Things”, Trend Micro’s Forward Looking Threat researchers continue to look into technologies that could be abused by attackers in the near future. Earlier today at the HITB security conference in Kuala Lumpur, , two researchers from this team (Kyle Wilhoit and Dr. Marco Balduzzi), together with independent researcher Alessandro Pasta, presented a series of experiments that showed AIS is comprehensively vulnerable to a wide range of attacks that could be easily carried out by pirates, terrorists or other attackers. Trend Micro took care to carry out responsible disclosure to all of the major standards bodies involved in AIS, as well as major online providers of AIS tracking information.
The attacks can be divided into two parts. Firstly, we discovered that the main AIS Internet providers that collect AIS information and distribute them publicly have vulnerabilities that allow an attacker to tamper with valid AIS data and inject invalid AIS data, such as:
Secondly, we have also discovered flaws in the actual specification of the AIS protocol used by hardware transceivers in all mandatory vessels. In addition to the above threats, we have proven additional scenarios:
All of this is made possible because the AIS protocol was designed with seemingly zero security considerations. In particular, we noted the following major issues:
While all the attacks we described above were carried out in our dedicated test lab setup – where we used specific software defined radio equipment – we have also proven that an attacker is able to carry out such attacks using a modified standard, easy to obtain VHF radio which costs approximately €150, or approximately US$200.
Source : http://blog.trendmicro.com/trendlabs-security-intelligence/vulnerabilities-discovered-in-global-vessel-tracking-systems/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Anti-MalwareBlog+%28Trendlabs+Security+Intelligence+Blog%29
Text by Marco Balduzzi and Kyle Wilhoit from Trend Micro
Istanbul - 2013