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Software Technology Hardware

Poachers Are Trying To Hack Animal Tracking Systems (helpnetsecurity.com) 70

Orome1 quotes a report from Help Net Security: Animal tracking through electronic tagging has helped researchers gain insight into the lives of many wild animal species, but can also be misused by wildlife poachers, hunters, animal-persecution groups and people interested in seeing and interacting with the animals -- all to the detriment of our animal brethren. A recent paper by a group of researchers from several Canadian and U.S. universities has pointed to several instances of misuse or attempted misuse of the tracking technology. The researchers believe that instances of poachers intercepting signals to track animals down are under-reported, as the researchers and conservationists are worried about losing funding. The researchers have also noted that photographers and people interested in seeing wild animals have been known to acquire and use tracking equipment, and they are worried that "frequent exposure of animals to people can habituate them to human interaction, which at minimum alters the animal's natural behavior, thus negatively influencing research findings." The tagging devices are usually collars with GPS or radio transmitters, and cost between 150 and 4,000 British pounds, The Times reports. But, unfortunately, security measures for protecting their signal are not adequate.
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Poachers Are Trying To Hack Animal Tracking Systems

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Preferably in a town square.

    This might stop poachers.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What's the limit on poachers? Hate to go over, that would be poaching...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Maavin ( 598439 )
      No. The poachers are poor, stupid fucks who need the money and couldn't care less for the animals.
      The ONLY way would be going after their "customers".
      Anyone buying that stuff should face at least from half a year's salary to serius prison time.

      But I can imagine that most of them sit in Russia, China and maybe Japan. And their government doesn't give a fuck, too. So, little hope there...
      • No. The poachers are poor, stupid fucks who need the money and couldn't care less for the animals.
        The ONLY way would be going after their "customers".
        Anyone buying that stuff should face at least from half a year's salary to serius prison time.

        An important part of solving the problem is to go after the customers, but punishment alone won't help; education, in particular of the children, will have to be a major part of it. That was a major part of why we became much more aware of envirnmental issues in the West: parents may reject what the government or campaigners tell them, but they find it hard to resist when their children disapprove of what they do.

        The other important part of the solution must be to make poaching less desirable to the poacher

        • by Maavin ( 598439 )
          that's true... Education and alternatives would indeed fix many problems there...
    • i have said it before. man made it, man can break it but leave the animals alone or i will buy a bic ligher and a gallon of gas.
    • Define "poacher":

      (a) Bastards slaughtering elephants with automatic weapons for Ivory? String 'em up, (if you can catch them).

      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/fa... [cbsnews.com]

      (b) Desperate people in conflict-ravaged areas needing any food they can get their hands on? Maybe not.

      Meanwhile, the biggest cause of megafauna and other "wild" animal extinction is not poaching; it's habitat loss.
      You want to torture to death large swathes of populations in Africa, South America, India and China?

    • How about we just tag 'em and track 'em to make sure they're behaving?
  • our animal brethren. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @08:51PM (#53989581)

    Who is Zeljka Zorz to think that animals are our brothers?

    Doesn't this loon know that they're our cousins? Very, very, distant cousins.

    • Who is Zeljka Zorz to think that animals are our brothers?

      Doesn't this loon know that they're our cousins? Very, very, distant cousins.

      Does that mean in some states its legal to marry them? I know of at least one Pope who married his horse :)

      • by Nutria ( 679911 )

        Caligula allegedly made his horse a Senator, but I've found no stories that a Pope married a horse.

  • by citizenr ( 871508 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @08:55PM (#53989613) Homepage

    There is in fact ZERO documented reports of this actually happening.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "are"

    • There is in fact ZERO documented reports of this actually happening.

      There is quite some some evidence for even 1st world countries [independent.co.uk] for prices like $40,000 a rhino tusk. If $40,000 was enough incentive in Paris to kill an animal in a freaking public zoo then how much is $40,000 in an African hutt with 5 starving kids all barefoot? You could live years without working for just one kill!

      • are you claiming poachers sniffed GPS tracker signal in order to locate Paris Zoo? or are you just stupid?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 06, 2017 @08:55PM (#53989615)

    Animal tracking systems all broadcast their location, you don't need to 'hack' the system, or even be able to decode the signal, all you have to do is to be able to track the signal via direction finding techniques that haven't changed significantly in decades.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If you can't decode the signal then you don't know if you're tracking an elephant, a dormouse, or a shark. Tagging of animals has become so widespread probably half the critters in Africa are putting out more Twitter posts than Trump.

      If you think you're tracking an elephant signal only to discover when you get close enough that it's an endangered hedgehog signal then you - as a poacher - are going to be pretty annoyed.

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      How about putting a receiver on tracking devices, and programming so they send No signal unless they first receive a coded transmission?

      • How about putting a receiver on tracking devices,

        You mean like this, [projectlifesaver.org] which is essentially long-range RFID?

  • by Cmdln Daco ( 1183119 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @08:57PM (#53989629)

    Maybe some of the creatures and animals in nature should have a right to be left alone.

    It doesn't necessarily fit in with peoples' schemes to do "science" and get funding and a livelihood from doing said "science" but maybe if poachers are going to take advantage of the tracking devices (they always will) it's time to leave the animals alone.

    Just a thought point. It would be impossible for humans to leave all of nature alone... but really it's worth thinking about.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @09:35PM (#53989809)

    Humans are by far the apex predator of this planet, so why not use that to poach the poachers? The "stick" method isn't doing nearly enough, so I think it's time to employ the "carrot" method for all the other humans. #GottaCatchEmBeforeTheyCatchEmAll

  • decoy trackers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    We could make decoy trackers that would draw the poachers to a place so they can be easily arrested.

    • We could make decoy trackers that would draw the poachers to a place so they can be easily arrested.

      Yes, we need lots more laws about what is illegal to do with radio. Making it illegal to track a radio signal is a really good idea.

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday March 06, 2017 @10:18PM (#53989977)
    To allow our AUVs (autonomous underwater vehicles - robot submarines) to navigate underwater, we'd deploy a network of underwater navigation beacons. Each beacon would ping (at a different frequency) when they heard a certain acoustic code from our sub. Based how long it took for the sub to receive each response ping and the locations of the beacons, it could determine its position underwater. The beacons were housed in glass spheres anchored underwater. Since it was a pain to recover them, they held enough batteries to power them for 6-12 months of operations.

    So one year we deployed the beacons and ran our AUV ops for a week. We'd then go back to our lab to analyze the data for the rest of the month. Since we were going to be back in the water in a month, we left the beacons. We came back the following month, sent out a test signal to make sure the beacons would respond and.... nothing. We sent down divers to recover the beacons and all their batteries were dead. We assumed someone had programmed the charging power supply wrong so they hadn't gotten a full charge. So we recharged them, re-deployed the beacons, and ran our ops.

    The following month, same thing. Sent a test signal and all the beacons were dead again. This was a real head scratcher. Eventually we figured out what was going on. Dolphins had heard the coded signal the AUV transmitted. They thought it was pretty cool that our beacons would respond back with a ping. So while we were away, they were having fun whistling the coded signal over and over making the beacons ping until the batteries were dead.
  • So who is going to come up with honeypot strategy to lure the poachers?
  • Just do like the poachers here in the Netherland did last night, just go to a zoo, kill the rhinoceros and saw off it's horn... So much easier than having to go into the wild..

My idea of roughing it turning the air conditioner too low.

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