Spread Spectrum Satcom Hacking: Attacking The GlobalStar Simplex Data Service presented at Defcon 2015

by Colby Moore,

Summary : Recently there have been several highly publicized talks about satellite hacking. However, most only touch on the theoretical rather than demonstrate actual vulnerabilities and real world attack scenarios. This talk will demystify some of the technologies behind satellite communications and do what no one has done before - take the audience step-by-step from reverse engineering to exploitation of the GlobalStar simplex satcom protocol and demonstrate a full blown signals intelligence collection and spoofing capability. I will also demonstrate how an attacker might simulate critical conditions in satellite connected SCADA systems.
In recent years, Globalstar has gained popularity with the introduction of its consumer focused SPOT asset-tracking solutions. During the session, I’ll deconstruct the transmitters used in these (and commercial) solutions and reveal design and implementation flaws that result in the ability to intercept, spoof, falsify, and intelligently jam communications. Due to design tradeoffs these vulnerabilities are realistically unpatchable and put millions of devices, critical infrastructure, emergency services, and high value assets at risk.