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Hackers Take Over Unsecured Radio Transmitters, Play Anti-Trump Song (arstechnica.com) 99

Ars Technica is reporting that "a certain model of Low Power FM radio transmitter with known vulnerabilities has been targeted in a new wave of radio-station hacks this week." Hackers have taken advantage of an exploit that was known all the way back in April 2016 to take over terrestrial radio stations and broadcast the YG and Nipsey Hussle song "Fuck Donald Trump." From the report: News of the song's unexpected playback on radio stations began emerging shortly after Trump's inauguration on January 20, and the hack has continued to affect LPFM stations -- a type of smaller-radius radio station that began to roll out after the FCC approved the designation in 2000. Over a dozen stations experienced confirmed hacks in recent weeks, with more unconfirmed reports trickling in across the nation. Thus far, the stations' commonality isn't the states of operation or music formats; it's the transmitter. Specifically, hackers have targeted products in the Barix Exstreamer line, which can decode many audio file formats and send them along for LPFM transmission. As Barix told its products' owners in 2016, Exstreamer devices openly connected to the Internet are incredibly vulnerable to having their remote login passwords discovered and systems compromised. The company recommends using full, 24-character passwords and placing any live Internet connections behind firewalls or VPNs. Reports have yet to connect any dots on why the exploit has apparently focused on the YG and Nipsey Hussle song -- though it is fairly popular, having recently finished in the Top 15 of the Village Voice's 2016 Pazz and Jop music critics' poll. Plus, the uncensored lyrics and topical nature are certainly more likely to catch people's attention, especially when played on stations with formats like oldies, classic rock, and Tejano.
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Hackers Take Over Unsecured Radio Transmitters, Play Anti-Trump Song

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  • by clonehappy ( 655530 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @06:47PM (#53791425)

    Yes, let me tell you. The Village Voice's "Pazz and Jop" chart is where I go first to see what's trending amongst large swaths of Americans.

    In fact, I and everyone in here in the office celebrate the entire catalog of "Nipsey Hussle".

    • It's year end list compiled from other music critics year-end top ten lists. It's not their fault that you don't understand the difference between a chart that shows what's trending and a poll that shows what critics thought was best over the past year.

      • *WHOOSH* The joke is, nobody reads the "Village Voice". Nobody except a tiny number of out-of-touch, aging New York liberals. It's not 1974 any more.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @07:02PM (#53791557)

    I'm guessing "Nipsey Hussle" took his stage name as a play on the name of the comedian Nipsey Russell [wikipedia.org].

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @07:29PM (#53791733) Homepage

    Honestly if you did not have a VPN tunnel in place you deserve this in spades. Only a complete and utter moron would have something as important as the radio station audio feed to be unprotected.

    But after working at several radio stations in my life. 100% of radio station owners are pretty much drooling morons.

    • by tsotha ( 720379 )
      Technology should be secure by default. Not everyone is an expert in IT security, and most people don't understand enough of the context to ask the right questions.
      • It's like selling doors and then making the buyer go find their own lock...except that doors come without locks.

  • it's PRO-Trump. TILF.
  • That will show him, right?

  • "stop making your point so badly" - Philip J. Fry
  • by subk ( 551165 ) on Thursday February 02, 2017 @11:06PM (#53792849)
    We use metro-ethernet, OC3'S, satellite, and microwave to deliver program feeds to transmitters. I don't know of any professionals who do it over the Internet. I would never do it under any circumstances. I have no sympathy for anyone dumb enough to try it.
    • We use metro-ethernet, OC3'S, satellite, and microwave to deliver program feeds to transmitters. I don't know of any professionals who do it over the Internet. I would never do it under any circumstances. I have no sympathy for anyone dumb enough to try it.

      These LPFM stations are run out of the back of groceterias and small restaurants. They don't have engineers or professionals. They got their license by mail order and the tower and transmitter out of boxes they might have got on eBay which came with a set of photocopied manuals in Chinese.

      If it works when they give it internet connectivity, everybody is happy.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Low power FM. Short range, low cost broadcasting. Probably no budget for expensive, reliable links. Internet streaming works fine 99.9% of the time and a little downtime can be tolerated because it's so cheap.

      The lack of security is inexcusable, but only in so far as the manufacturer didn't bother with it. Can't realistically expect consumers to even know that things like HTTP password login pages are not secure, let alone that they need a VPN.

  • Hackers do what you can to drive CHUMP into the dump! We need him gone !
  • by Anonymous Coward

    And rap still isn't music.

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

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