[funsec] Amish hackers hold a satellite for ransom?

Gadi Evron ge at linuxbox.org
Thu Apr 9 10:47:23 CDT 2009

I didn't read the article, but my title seems much cooler than theirs:


Amish Hackers Compromise National Satellites
Expert Security Researcher Who Can't Be Named Citing National Security
April 09 2009

"Security experts are reporting today that Amish hackers equipped with 
reverse engineered VCIM's have hacked into Instar's vehicle navigation 
systems and are extorting Instar. "It's horrible. I was headed down Main 
Street and my Garmin told me to turn right. 20 minutes later not only 
was I was late for my interview, I went from being in Colorado to 
driving down Fifth Avenue in New York City." stated a visibly shaken 
John McSmith.

VCIM's or Vehicle Comm and Interface Module are a 3-watt cellular device 
that allows the user to communicate data and voice signals over the 
national cellular network. It is powered by a fused, battery positive 
voltage circuit, connected through vehicle wiring to the 3-button 
assembly and the radio, and attached by means of coax cables to the 
cellular and navigation antennas. Ground for the module is accomplished 
by means of dedicated circuits that are routed with body wiring systems 
to chassis ground points. The module houses 2 modems, one to process 
global positioning system (GPS) data, and the other for cellular 
information. Satellites orbiting earth are constantly transmitting The 
navigation antenna receives these GPS signals and provides the data to 
the VCIM to be processed. The VCIM communicates with the rest of the 
vehicle over the class 2 serial data bus. The ignition state is 
determined by the VCIM through class 2 messaging. Amish hackers are now 
capable of exploiting these VCIM's and are demanding the immediate 
withdrawal of automobiles from Reading Pennsylvannia."

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