ATI Siren Vulnerability Misrepresented by Bastille Networks
Hacker Breaks FCC Guidelines to Try to Exploit a Known Radio Vulnerability
Balint Seeber of Bastille Networks, Inc. has released information that he has been able to hack Acoustic Technology, Inc.’s wireless protocol. ATI believes that Seeber misrepresents his claims that he did so using only a $35 radio and a laptop. ATI understands the great lengths, time, effort, and expertise that Seeber and Bastille went through. However, their claim trivializes the fact that Seeber is a radio frequency expert with over a decade of training, knowledge, and access to advanced equipment. Bastille’s statement intended to maximize public fear and anxiety by purposefully omitting and simplifying information they released.
Seeber says he identified this vulnerability over 2 ½ years ago but decided not to notify ATI or the City of San Francisco until recently. If he truly believed this was a serious vulnerability, why did he wait so long to disclose it, effectively leaving the public at risk? Other discrepancies discovered include:
- Bastille’s SirenJack white paper states in part “…nor was there access to equipment…” However, pictures in the white paper and videos on Bastille’s YouTube page clearly show Seeber utilizing ATI’s equipment in his Proof of Concept.
- Seeber also states multiple times that anyone “…with a $35 transmitter…” can perform this hack. The white paper, however, confirms he used “…a number of Ettus Research Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) and Software Defined Radio (SDR)….”. This equipment costs upwards of thousands of dollars for each unit, not merely the $35 radio as claimed.
- In multiple YouTube videos, ATI’s equipment is blurred out during Seeber’s demonstration. For full disclosure, what was blurred out and why?
- In Seeber’s YouTube demonstration of the SirenJack hack, it shows him with an embedded CPU debug cable plugged into the ATI siren. Since this cable is only used for programming and diagnostics of the ATI siren, why is this cable needed? There is no reason for it to be used while demonstrating siren activation through over-the-air hacking.
- None of Bastille’s videos show any Over-The-Air (OTA) transmissions of malicious packets because transmitting on a licensed frequency is illegal. Yet the Motorola CM200 radio in the ATI siren is very easy to re-program to a different frequency (or a license free radio could have been used), and it could have been easily changed in order to legally demonstrate sending malicious packets OTA.
When the San Francisco system was installed in 2004, over 14 years ago, it was state-of-the-art. Since then, ATI has upgraded protocols to incorporate a 128-bit AES variable key with an additional ATI proprietary security layer that is now being implemented.
“For the past 30 years ATI has had thousands of clients, both nationally and internationally. Even though we have never experienced any fails or hacking incidents, ATI responded to Bastille’s false claims by raising security safeguards, and ATI encourages its clients to update their systems to ensure maximum security. We believe that Bastille’s representations are totally fabricated,” comments ATI’s CEO, Dr. Ray Bassiouni.