Re: ISS SSTV Project - Computer Breach

daron wilson

Respectfully, I disagree a bit on your analysis.


I’m not an attorney, nor do I play one on television and I agree it is an unfortunate event.  However, I do not believe this meets the definition of hacking.


Assuming the reports are accurate, and there is a predefined method to trigger commercially available software in use on the ISS to repeat your signal, AND there is no standing order from control station (AMSAT or NASA) that specifically prohibits it…it’s just one feature that they should have disabled and didn’t get disabled ( I suspect he ruined it and it will be disabled now!).  I certainly would not give him credit as a hacker, he didn’t hack anything, he used a feature as intended.


I run MMSSTV as well as packet stuff at home.  I wasn’t aware of a remote control like that in MMSSTV, however, I am the one responsible for my station.  If I fire up the software and head to work, I can’t really blame someone who chooses to connect to me and use features I have available.  If someone connects to me via packet, I don’t require ‘my permission’ to connect and use the software I’m running, that would be foolish.  I’ve chosen to put my computer on that network with software that allows others to access my computer.  Me, I did that.  If others connect to me and use the features of the software I’m running, they aren’t hacking.


This guy had a callsign, and I’m assuming was transmitting on a frequency authorized in his country, so no ‘unauthorized’ intrusion took place.  He didn’t use the software to access anything that he wasn’t allowed to ( as far as we know, he didn’t hack into the OS and enable things, etc.).


The fact that  you are pissed off because you couldn’t receive some static images frustrates me.  I’ve had this discussion with you before, we are communicators, and communicating involves transmit and receive.  We aren’t SWL folks, logging everything we ‘hear’ and counting it as a contact.  We’re communicators.  While it is amazing to log static photos sent from the ISS, that is just SWL type receiving, anyone (license or not) can do it.  We should be much more focused on communicating not just logging.


FYI I remember Owen Garriot very well, I was much younger and had one VHF radio that was all I could afford, and recorded him calling on the passes from Columbia.  I was never able to reach him, but certainly enjoyed the excitement of listening to his voice from space.




Daron N7HQR


From: [] On Behalf Of Clint Bradford via Groups.Io
Sent: Saturday, August 03, 2019 5:27 PM
Subject: Re: [Work-Sat] ISS SSTV Project - Computer Breach


The Nova Scotia amateur radio operator just wrote to me ... 

>> ... I did not access the computer system. I triggered the repeat function that has always been enabled on the system ...

No - He exploited an opening in the software program MMSSTV. That program runs on a computer. Without obtaining permission from the computer owner, he sent commands to transmit his own Morse Code and image file using someone else's computer.

>> ... Definition of Hacking: Hacking generally refers to unauthorized intrusion into a computer or a network. The person engaged in hacking activities is known as a hacker. This hacker may alter system or security features to accomplish a goal that differs from the original purpose of the system.

That is precisely what he did: entered another's system, and altered that system to broadcast his images.




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