Hacking The Wireless World - Software Defined Radio Exploits

Presented at ShmooCon XII (2016), Jan. 16, 2016, 11 a.m. (60 minutes)

This presentation will explore how you can survey the wireless world of the radio spectrum to get an idea of the signals around you, and decode transmissions that can be received by pointing an antenna towards satellites in space. Both are accomplished using Software Defined Radio and open source software, and emphasis is placed on the security (or lack thereof) in these communications systems.

Using a drone, you can create your very own airborne RF surveying platform, so that you can fly your SDR payload through routes, and to altitudes, that you cannot normally access. Using open source tools and embedded hardware, you can gain greater visibility into the spatial deployment of different wireless protocols, and therefore where to mount an aerial RF attack, or fortify your defenses.

Looking then beyond these terrestrial signals, with a decent satellite dish, it is possible to demodulate and decode signals sent down from geostationary ‘birds' - often thought to be out of reach. The development of a GNU Radio-based INMARSAT Aero channel decoder will be shown, so you can read aircraft communications from space, and more. This will cover tips and techniques that can be employed to reverse engineer wireless signals in general.


  • Balint Seeber
    A software engineer by training, Balint is a perpetual hacker, the Director of Vulnerability Research at Bastille Networks, and guy behind spench.net. His passion is Software Defined Radio and discovering all that can be decoded from the ether, as well as extracting interesting information from lesser-known data sources and visualising them in novel ways. When not receiving electromagnetic radiation, he likes to develop interactive web apps for presenting spatial data. Originally from Australia, he moved to the United States in 2012 to pursue his love of SDR as the Applications Specialist and SDR Evangelist at Ettus Research.


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