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Hezbollah Hacked Israeli Military Radio 360

Posted by kdawson
from the how-to-kill-tanks dept.
florescent_beige writes, "Newsday is reporting that Hezbollah was able to monitor secure Israeli military communications, perhaps using technology supplied by Iran, during the recent Lebanon war. A former Israeli general, speaking anonymously, called the results 'disastrous' for Israel. The story reports that an anonymous Lebanese source said that Hezbollah might have taken advantage of Israeli soldiers' mistakes in following secure radio procedures. The radio gear uses frequency hopping and encryption." The article identifies the Israeli communications equipment as the US-designed Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System.
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Hezbollah Hacked Israeli Military Radio

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  • The Real News (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @02:40PM (#16139564) Journal
    The real news is that this made it into the news. Not because it isn't news worthy but because it only makes sense to maintain a shroud of ignorance once you have actually cracked a channel of communication thus instilling your enemies with a false sense of security.

    For instance during World War II, even after the allies had broken a German code or devised a method to figure out that day's cipher string, they would still go about their routine of acting like they didn't know what the Germans were going to do. Meaning that if a cargo ship was headed towards a line of submarines, they might find it best to sacrifice that cargo ship at the possibility of saving a warship later in the day. If they responded directly to communications, the Germans would continue to change the code or investigate ways to improve their encryption methods and upgrade Enigma. Necessity breeds innovation and you don't want your enemies feeling a strong necessity for better encryption. I'd like to cite my source but I don't believe Simon Singh's The Code Book is available online and that's where I read this.

    How interesting that Hezbollah would have the shortsightedness to let this crucial knowledge publicly available. However, this can be expected when the primary morale boosting for troops and citizens is bragging about your capabilities. I highly doubt they consider the conflict over and suspect that Isreal will now heavily ramp up its encryption & security to the highest standards since I believe that's one of the few things the United States will not export to them (see Phil Zimmerman's FBI case file on exporting encryption programs to foreign soil).

    As the department this summary is coming from reveals, guerilla warfare depends heavily on information like this. I'm surprised it's gone public that they had access to it.
    • Re:The Real News (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Moby Cock (771358) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @02:47PM (#16139611) Homepage
      While I agree with everything you said, I speculate that the Israelis made public thier knowledge of the snoops first. Once the 'cat was oout of the bag' the Hezbollah officials are using it for bragging rights.
      • by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot@keirstea d . o rg> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @03:14PM (#16139860) Homepage
        If you know your enemy is eavesdropping on a method of communication, the prudent course is not to tell the world about it, it is to use that knowledge to send him *false* information, while continuing your real communication through some other (new) secure channel they hopefully do not know about.
      • Not so!!

        The worst thing the Israeli's could do is let on that they know the full capabilities of an enemy. There is tremendous utility in feeding an enemy false information.

        Never show your cards, ever.
        • Hmmm. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by jd (1658) <imipak@noSPam.yahoo.com> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @06:25PM (#16141708) Homepage Journal
          You can only prove a winning strategy exists in a full information scenario. No such proof exists when only partial information exists, although you can approximate it pretty well if you get close enough to the full information case. Ergo, there will be cases when giving the "enemy" genuine information is actually the correct thing to do.


          There is also the perspective that obscurity is not the same as security. If you have secret A and are trying to prevent B from knowing it, you can NEVER be certain that B does not have that information. If they obtain knowledge of A, and keep that hidden from you, then your obscurity becomes a weapon against you. This is the problem the Germans had once the Enigma ciphers were broken. By relying totally on obscurity, the Germans became extremely vulnerable. Obscurity is a VERY dangerous tool.


          By far the best tactic is to assume the enemy could know everything - not necessarily that they will, but that they could. This introduces a degree of fault-tolerence into actions. It does not rely on an assumed weakness that may not exist (and therefore make those carrying out the action the weaker party), but assumes that the opposition is as competent and capable as it chooses to be. As this is often much closer to reality, it is a better assumption to make.


          In terms of encryption, for example, using an obscure algorithm puts you at gigantic risk as it can't have had the eyeballs to verify that it is indeed secure. Furthermore, people are more likely to use weak keys, as they won't see the point in taking care, as they're working on the basis that they don't need to. A very stupid practice. The best you could do is make the algorithm public, utterly destroy any delusions of absolute mental superiority, and force people to work damn hard to use the algorithm correctly. If the enemy finds a fault and keeps it secret, they would have done so anyway, so you lose nothing. If Joe Smurf on sci.crypto finds a fault and publishes it, you will have time to fix the bug or switch to another method. Overall, you lose nothing.


          Assuming the enemy is an idiot, merely because they're the enemy, is the best way to lose a battle or a war. Either that or acting stupid.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by timeOday (582209)
          Never show your cards, ever.
          Secrecy/surprise are just one element of winning a conflict. Kennedy knew this when he revealed our spy plane photos of Russian missile sites in Cuba to the the world. Secrecy is also inherently incompatible with democracy. Of course in the real world some secrecy is vital. But it's not as simple as a card game.
    • by caluml (551744)
      I came to post just this, but eldavojohn beat me to it. Damned subscribers :).
      If I had access to my enemy's supposedly secret information, I would not take advantage of what I had learned in case they could work out that their channels were compromised. Until the day came that losing the ability to monitor their communications was less important than whatever strike I could make with the information gleaned.
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by cluckshot (658931)

        Think! Think a little! Who made those radios and who uses them other than Isreal. The USA Army uses them in Iraq. This means the US Army battlefield radios are hacked. This is a may as well give up and die for US Troups and explains much of what is going on in Iraq. Another fine case of D. Rumsfeld and his army of one thinking. Single point failure is death to any group. If I need to explain this any further....!

        Remember all the talk after 9/11/2001 about needing all radios to chat one to another!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by inviolet (797804)

          The USA Army uses them in Iraq. This means the US Army battlefield radios are hacked. This is a may as well give up and die for US Troups and explains much of what is going on in Iraq. Another fine case of D. Rumsfeld and his army of one thinking. Single point failure is death to any group. If I need to explain this any further....!

          The radios are not hacked. It was the Israeli procedure that was hacked -- or more precisely, it was the sloppiness that was hacked.

          Any cryptosystem can be hacked if it is (f

    • Re:The Real News (Score:5, Interesting)

      by plover (150551) * on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @02:52PM (#16139662) Homepage Journal
      It may seem like a mistake for them to reveal their intercept capabilities, but TFA says the Israelies had captured a "listening outpost", and so probably knew this information anyway. But since Israel knows anyway, Hezbollah has now turned this into propaganda: "We are so clever we cracked the Israelies' secret codes."

      This is different from the way U.S. intelligence services handle secrets. They maintained the fiction surrounding the Venona decrypts for 50 years. However, the Soviets found out about the project somewhere around 1948 from a spy. And, the U.S. then found out from one of their spies that the Soviets had found out about Venona. So both sides' intelligence agencies knew about the break, yet it was kept secret from the public. Even though the intel was germane to the FBI prosecutions of several traitors, including the Rosenbergs (who were very obviously guilty after having read the Venona decrypts.) The info could also have been used to verify Senator McCarthy's allegations (or prove him wrong.) Lots of good could have come from knowing the truth.

      • Re:The Real News (Score:4, Interesting)

        by cowbutt (21077) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @03:30PM (#16140009) Journal
        Even though the intel was germane to the FBI prosecutions of several traitors, including the Rosenbergs (who were very obviously guilty after having read the Venona decrypts.

        Even the NSA doesn't go quite that far; in this article [nsa.gov] they only claim the intercepts show that Ethel " may have known about her husband's activities" (my emphasis).

        Innocent until proven guilty, right?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rthille (8526)
          Innocent until proven guilty, right?

          Wow, a post from the past!

          Sigh...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Hardware encryption anyone?

      The SINGARS uses Hardware Encryption, in addition to frequency hopping mode to ensure that all traffic remains secure.

      With the an omni antenna and a spectrum analyzer you can spot and triangulate frequency hopping transmissions, but you aren't going to be listening in without obtaining all the crypto keys.

      The fact that they claim they were able to crack it is only possible if they obtained a fully operational radio with loaded fill device with that time periods keys. Then they wou
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by LWATCDR (28044)
        How do you triangulate a signal using an omni directional antenna?
        You many need a multi band antenna but I doubt that most frequency hopping systems hop out of band.
        • Well if you have two of them at two known positions, you could probably get a direction based on the time difference between the signal's arrival at the two stations. Or maybe you could do something with measuring the signal's phase shift. I've never sat down and worked out the problem but it seems like it could be done, on paper at least.

          Some Googling reveals that somebody at least has thought of the same concept (and got a patent on it already, although it was filed in 1977, so I think that means it's exp
        • How do you triangulate a signal using an omni directional antenna?

          I can give you a simplified explanation. Measuring the signal strength gives you an idea of how far away the signal is coming from, geographically in the form of a circle around you (assuming the transmitter is not airborne). If you take two measurements from two locations at the same time, then the transmitter is located where the two circles intersect (which is at two possible points, so you don't know for sure yet). If you take three mea

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by SeanBaker (13440)
        This isn't strictly true... don't make the classic mistake of historical fallen militaries who were arrogant enough to believe that not only were their means (read: routes) of communication uninterceptable, but that their method of encryption was unbreakable as well. Neither has ever proven true; see the aforementioned Simon Singh work if you want a laundry list of individuals / nations who made these mistakes.

        For the poster who asserts that Iran articles are a dime-a-dozen these days - while some are appa
    • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot.kadinNO@SPAMxoxy.net> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @03:01PM (#16139745) Homepage Journal
      I agree with everything you said, although I doubt that the U.S. really has many export restrictions on encryption gear to Israel, except insofar as they're worried that the gear could end up in somebody else's hands besides Israel and compromise the U.S.'s own capabilities.

      This is because it's not like Israel is that far behind the U.S. in terms of mathematics, computers, or encryption, so not exporting to them wouldn't change their strategic posture much at all, and would just deny business to a U.S. corporation in favor of a homegrown one (e.g. IMI).

      If there are concerns about exporting to Israel, it's probably more because folks here are afraid that the stuff will be resold and eventually make it to countries that are hostile to the U.S., not really because anyone fears Israel directly. After all, although it's never been publicly admitted, I think there's a very good chance that the U.S. has given Israel nuclear weapons -- I doubt we'd bicker about a few lines of encryption code (that they could probably replicate domestically) if they wanted to buy it.

      As to the idiocy of giving away your capabilities if you've successfully broken your enemy's communication system, you're totally right (and yes, it is Singh that goes into much detail about this in his book). However, it may be that Hezbollah either doesn't have the internal safeguards to prevent this type of leak, or is more interested in the public opinion to be gained through bragging than in actual operational superiority. (Or, is so convinced of their own superiority that they don't care, i.e. they've fallen victim to their own rhetoric; this doesn't seem implausible.)

      Based on the past few conflicts and the reading I've done about them, the Israelis strike me as being pretty good at doing tough self-assessments and changing the way they fight in order to avoid repeating mistakes. If there is another Israeli/Hezbollah conflict (and I have no reason to believe that there won't be), I would look for some very different tactics on the part of Israel. This is the way war works: you see the greatest changes to tactics and strategy as a result of defeat or near-defeat than you do from victory.

    • by keyne9 (567528)
      You're making the assumption that this information has been verified by a non-(very)biased source.
    • by alcmaeon (684971)

      The real news is that this made it into the news.

      No, it isn't really. You would think it would be, but it isn't. If you read any of the Israeli newspapers (and most of them are avaialble online in English) you will see that the latest Lebanon venture is viewed as an unmitigated disaster in Israel. Conversely, it is viewed as a shining success for Hezbollah--an irregular group of poorly equiped partisans handily defeating the regions reigning superpower backed by the world's real superpower, the U.S.

      • by Metaldsa (162825)
        "an irregular group of poorly equiped partisans handily defeating the regions reigning superpower backed by the world's real superpower, the U.S. It's a genuine modern-day David vs. Goliath story (all irony intended)."

        Why do people say Israel was defeated by Hezbollah. Lebanon's land was taken, people massacred, economy was crippled, and they had no counter attack. Hezbollah beat the spread but I wouldn't say they defeated Israel.
        • Who won the Tet Offensive? The US Army definitively destroyed the Viet Cong in that battle, to the point that the NVA had to infiltrate troops into the South to maintain the pace of guerilla operations, yet it is not generally accepted as a US victory (including by me).
    • by u38cg (607297)
      As others note, the chances are it leaked and now they're just blowing their own trumpets a bit. This reminds me strongly of an incident involving South African troops in Nigeria: the SAs were fighting Nigerian rebels (IIRC) on behalf of their government. The Nigerian rebels mounted an attack where their attack helicopters reflected the SAs incoming IFF radar to SA forces over the horizon; the reply was then relayed back through the Nigerian helicopters who mounted a strike right in the centre of the SA zo
    • by Quadraginta (902985) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @03:29PM (#16139992)
      Read the article very, very carefully, bearing in mind that since it's written by a journalist it might as well have been written by the Hezbollah PR 'n' Propaganda team.

      What the article actually says about 'hacking' Israeli military radio communications is merely this:

      Using technology most likely supplied by Iran, special Hezbollah teams monitored the constantly changing radio frequencies of Israeli troops on the ground. That gave guerrillas a picture of Israeli movements, casualty reports and supply routes.

      So what precisely did Hezbollah do? Sounds like they merely verified that there was radio traffic on certain frequencies, and that it came from Israeli units, and then they were able to do a little direction-finding on it to verify where it came from. Look, imam! Funky radio traffic in the Bekaa valley that sounds like the usual gibberish exchanged between Israeli armor and base -- I'll bet there are Israeli tanks on Route such-and-such!

      Well, gosh, big deal. Any amateur could do as much as easily. It's not right brilliantly clever to deduce when you get a lot of chatter on military frequencies in a certain neighborhood that there are military operations afoot in it. I mean, Hezbollah probably got as good or better "intelligence" about Israeli movements just by taking reports of survivors who counted the number of tanks that rolled over them.

      Did Hezbollah actually decrypt communications, which would be an intelligence coup? Your logic argues pretty persuasively that they did not, because if they had they would have kept it a deep dark secret. In fact, they would have done their best to avoid drawing attention to their radio-interception program, lest it start the Israelis thinking. They -- or rather their Iranian paymasters -- would not have countenanced boasting about the operation to a damn fool journalist who would embellish it with wild speculation about 'hacking' secret Israeli radio messages.

      Nor does the article actually manage to get anyone who might have known to say otherwise. It merely attempts to imply that they might have said it, or something like it. Hence statements like this:

      The official refused to detail how Hezbollah was able to intercept and decipher Israeli transmissions.

      A nice example of the old 'begging the question' fallacy, such as in the question 'Have you stopped beating your wife yet?' Maybe the official refused to "detail" how Hezbollah was able to decipher Israeli transmissions because, in fact, they weren't able to.

      Or this:

      But a former Israeli general, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Hezbollah's ability to secretly hack into military transmissions had "disastrous" consequences for the Israeli offensive.

      "Israel's military leaders clearly underestimated the enemy and this is just one example," he said.

      Hmmm....wait a minute, the direct quote only says the military leader underestimated Hezbollah. And what's the mysterious 'this' to which the general refers, which is an example of the underestimation? Interception and radio direction-finding? Or actual decryption? We don't know. The journalist implies, in the previous sentence, that 'this' means 'hacking' into military transmissions, and that this means interception and decryption. But does it?

      If the anonymous general were willing to be quoted saying quite plainly: "Ayup, Hezbollah decrypted our most secret communications, damn 'em," then you can bet your last dollar the journalist would have used that very juicy quote. The fact that he didn't use that quote, or one like it, means he couldn't get it. And I'm sure he tried very hard, with all the artful questions he could. The general just wasn't willing to say those words. Because, almost surely, they would have been false.

      In short, I think the odds are good that this is just another journalist whoring for Hezbollah, 'cause it makes a scary exciting man-bites-dog story.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by darkmeridian (119044)
        If the Israelis were dumb enough to use particular radios and protocols for particular kinds of military units, then Hezbollah did a great job leveraging it. In other words, you seem to think that what Hezbollah did was trivial, yet this "trivial" hack enabled them to defend against a huge Israeli onslaught. I mean, everyone thought Israel would roll over Hezbollah, but Isreal had to move back.

        Also, Hezbollah had the cell phone numbers of the Israeli commanders. That was a huge breach of security by Israeli
    • by mqduck (232646)
      How interesting that Hezbollah would have the shortsightedness to let this crucial knowledge publicly available. However, this can be expected when the primary morale boosting for troops and citizens is bragging about your capabilities.

      That's their primary moral boosting? Not the idea of protecting their nation against invasion? I suppose the vast majority of Lebanese civilians supported Hezbollah because they were mesmerized by it's boasting?
    • Re:The Real News (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Chris Burke (6130) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @03:58PM (#16140301) Homepage
      The real news is that this made it into the news. Not because it isn't news worthy but because it only makes sense to maintain a shroud of ignorance once you have actually cracked a channel of communication thus instilling your enemies with a false sense of security.

      The most likely explanation then would be that Israel had already figured out their communications had been compromised, and that Hezbollah in turn figured out what Israel figured out. At that point the best thing to do is to make the shared knowledge public for PR and morale purposes.

      Hezbollah may not be a regular army, but they showed enough savy and sophistication during the conflict that I doubt they would give up the advantage of being able to hear Israel's communication.

      For instance during World War II, even after the allies had broken a German code or devised a method to figure out that day's cipher string, they would still go about their routine of acting like they didn't know what the Germans were going to do.

      Yes, I remember this in the Pacific too, with a carrier battle (Midway I think) where we knew from intercepted communications exactly where the Japanese fleet was, but we first flew a recon plane near enough to the fleet to be seen so it would appear as if we just "accidentally" ran into them in the middle of the ocean. We sacrificed some element of surprise to maintain the illusion that their codes were secure.

      Also there were U.S. codes that were compromised by the Japanese, but in this case we knew it. We used these codes to send messages we wanted the Japanese intercept and read, and would gauge their reactions in messages we intercepted from them to improve our intelligence.
    • by KDN (3283)
      For instance during World War II, even after the allies had broken a German code or devised a method to figure out that day's cipher string, they would still go about their routine of acting like they didn't know what the Germans were going to do. Meaning that if a cargo ship was headed towards a line of submarines, they might find it best to sacrifice that cargo ship at the possibility of saving a warship later in the day.

      I believe I once saw on the History Channel someone who said that even though they k

  • Frequency hopping? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by plover (150551) * on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @02:42PM (#16139577) Homepage Journal
    Is there any reason to consider frequency hopping secure, or is that simply adding "security through difficulty"? I understand it has certain resistance to jamming, but couldn't a sophisticated outsider simply have a large set of receivers to monitor all possible hops?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ej0c (320280)
      The article said "and encryption".
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Well, for that matter, given other aspects of Hezebollah's technology, security through difficulty might not be a half bad idea. Say, in addition to the encryption and frequency hopping you're already doing, hook up a 14.4kbaud accoustic modem, a palmtop of some sort, and use a low-sample-rate VOIP program that has been ROT 13'd.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CrazySailor (20688)
      Frequency hopping by itself is not secure. It does add value to the system by making it more difficult to intercept and jam communications. By placing the entire output power of the radio into a limited frequency band, you get better range and jamming resistance. By both radios being on the same hopset, the receiving radio already knows where to tune its receiver and seek the new signal. From the linked description, SINCGARS has 2320 channels, so monitoring all of them at a given time becomes difficult. How
    • by TED Vinson (576153) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @03:02PM (#16139756)
      Frequency Hopping is not a security measure in the same sense as encrytion.

      FH is an Electronic Counter Countermeasures (ECCM) measure. It is intended to make the radios harder to jam (jammer needs to transmit on a wide band of frequencies in stead of a single frequency) and harder to locate through direction finding.

      Communications security (COMSEC) is provided by a symmetric encryption module on the radios. FH/ECCM is emphatically NOT a substitute for encryption.

      The article did not come right out and say that the encryption was broken. It is not unknown, especially in a time-critical situation such as a firefight, for users to switch the encryption off if they are having difficulty talking to another unit. The thought is that some communications, even non-secure, is better than nothing in the heat of the moment.

      The more likely way an enemy gets into the radio net is to capture a keyed radio, even worse if they get a crypto fill device too. Reacting to such a compromise is a critical skill set for the signal personnel in a combat unit.

      -"Pro Patria Vigilans"

    • by wkitchen (581276)
      All security is "security through difficulty". That's true even of security through obscurity. In fact, lack of difficulty is really the only thing wrong with security through obscurity. The trouble is that any difficulty it has shrinks drastically once the method is discovered. And discovery itself is sometimes much less difficult than hoped once someone actually makes the attempt. Much better to use methods that remain difficult even when well understood. Methods that have already endured and survived all
    • I would say that traffic sent over a man-packable radio (secure) is very secure and even if it was decrypted, it would take so long the perishable information would be of little value. That's why mere tactical info is sent on such devices. Strategic info would not be sent on these radios. If I said "set an ambush" and you spent the time required to decrypt the message. It would be worthless when you found out a few days later that I ambushed a squad of your personnel.

      My personal belief is no transmissio
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @02:43PM (#16139592)
    Of course they'll say that they h4xx0r3d the Israeli radio. It's called PROPAGANDA. Unless confirmed, I'd call this FUD.
  • by Veinor (871770)
    Maybe they haven't really cracked the code, they're just putting out false information to try to get the Israelis to switch to a different code. This would cause some confusion, thereby giving Hezbollah an edge.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RobertB-DC (622190) *
      Maybe they haven't really cracked the code, they're just putting out false information to try to get the Israelis to switch to a different code. This would cause some confusion, thereby giving Hezbollah an edge.

      If that's not the case, then someone in Hezbollah should feel really, really dumb now.

      If you have access to your enemy's communications, the absolute last thing you would ever want to do is tell your enemy that you know what they're saying.

      Of course, now the Israelis have to figure out whether the st
      • by CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @03:14PM (#16139864) Journal
        If you have access to your enemy's communications, the absolute last thing you would ever want to do is tell your enemy that you know what they're saying.

        Sure, but thats not the real stupidity. It sounds like Hezbollah just admitted to a DMCA violation!!! So I'm a bit skeptical of this information. I think it could just be the beggining of a brillant new offensive against Hezbollah. Next we'll see stories of Hezbollah leading massive piracy operations. Then its on, bitch! Dealing with Bush may not be a big deal, but sending the legions of Disney, Sony, WB, etc lawyers after them is another thing all together!

        Thats REAL terrorisim! If this comes to pass I may actually feel sorry for them.

        Sorry probably a bad attempt at a joke :-)
  • Ouch (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bryansix (761547) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @02:45PM (#16139602) Homepage
    If this is true then the US military is going to be throwing away a lot of expensive radio equipment over the next couple of months.
    • Been going on for some time now. I have a friend at GD working on the encryption end of it. Of course he can't give any technical details but basically has said that they are doing a totally new communication system where everything, from the individual soldier on up, is linked and shares all information. It's an almost videogame level of information availability.

      This will, perhaps, accelerate the push for that, but it's already been in the works for a long time.

      Also nothing's saying that the US still uses
      • by russ1337 (938915)

        but basically has said that they are doing a totally new communication system where everything, from the individual soldier on up, is linked and shares all information. It's an almost videogame level of information availability.

        Network Centric Operations [wikipedia.org] are all the rage... which goes along with what you said above. What happends when a patrol is intercepted and the enemy get their hands on your PDA/Radio. Can they then see all your movements and listen to your comms until the key is changed? (24Hrs?) Cou

        • How about making the hardware require a password after it's been removed? Assuming it's wearable. Or maybe even key it to an individual soldier's DNA, if that's possible yet.
          • by russ1337 (938915)
            Or maybe even key it to an individual soldier's DNA, if that's possible yet.
            So you also take a body part (or thin slither of skin) when you peel the device from the dying soldiers hands..
    • Re:Ouch (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RingDev (879105) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @03:00PM (#16139737) Homepage Journal
      Given the subtext "Hezbollah might have taken advantage of Israeli soldiers' mistakes in following secure radio procedures"

      It is far more likely that some ass hat of a soldier left a radio, a list of channels and codes, and/or other secret information relating to communication someplace available to the enemy.

      When faced with two explanations, one taking an amazing amount of skill and luck, and the other taking a severe amount of incompetence... go with incompetence.

      -Rick
      • by Bryansix (761547)
        I really don't think those radios require a list of codes to work. The encryption is worked out internally between the radios. One would have to be confescated (like when they kidnapped the soldiersin the first place). Then they would have to reverse engineer it.
    • by DerGeist (956018)
      This is exactly why Software Defined Radios [wikipedia.org] were invented and why they're currently in use.

      You just load new software and it's a whole different beast. Basically anything you could want to do with a radio you can. Obviously there are hardware limitations (max hoprate, available memory, etc.) but generally you could turn your SDR into a toaster if you wanted.

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @02:49PM (#16139634)

    They should have used the New Testament Bible Code, not the Old Testament Bible Code.

  • by soft_guy (534437) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @02:53PM (#16139665)
    There is a cease fire currently. The conflict is effectively over. Therefore, Hizbula is trying to get extra mileage by revealing this. It is probably not the most wise move since they might end up fighting Israel again in the future, so maybe keeping it quiet would have been of benefit. But there is a certain logic to revealing this. Basically they are saying "see we are not as primitive as you think and Israel is not as advanced as some people (especially in the muslim world) think - therefore defeating Israel might be possible". That's what they are trying to get out of it.
    • by thule (9041) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @03:37PM (#16140077) Homepage
      There is a cease fire currently. The conflict is effectively over.

      Traditionally a conflict is over with the other side is subdued to the point they have no choice but to lay down arms. A cease fire just means they'll stop shooting while everyone re-arms. In this case, this is especially true. Nothing has been resolved long term.
  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @02:57PM (#16139707) Homepage Journal
    It took me a second to realize I had already read about this on the Asia Times Online [atimes.com] site. In fact, reading the Newday article, it appears the author simply copied and pasted from the Asia Times article.


    For those interested, here is the original article [atimes.com]. Compare for yourself the various comments.

    Still a good reading and it explains why Hezbollah could say they had killed X number of troops or destroyed Y tanks before the Israeli military admitted to the losses. They were listening to the Israeli transmissions from the battlefield!

    • Still a good reading and it explains why Hezbollah could say they had killed X number of troops or destroyed Y tanks before the Israeli military admitted to the losses.

      As opposed to having X machine-gun militias or Y bazzoka militias reporting sucessfull application of ammo to target?
      • by Politburo (640618)
        Except that most of the Hezbollah offensive was rocket attacks. Pretty hard to find out where a rocket landed 10-30 miles away.. A bunch of the tanks were destroyed by mines. You generally place mines and don't stick around to watch the action.
        • Pretty hard to find out where a rocket landed 10-30 miles away.. A bunch of the tanks were destroyed by mines.

          I figured they had militants near enough to see what was going on through binoculars (therefore far enough away to avoid getting hit) telling them by radio where to aim and what they hit.

          Retro-tech espionage... maybe I underestimated their techies.
    • by Aim Here (765712)
      It's the same story all right (looks like the Sunday Times of London got there first) but I don't see any evidence of cutting or pasting, and I didn't spot any duplicated quotes either.

      Perhaps being a Slashdotter means you're a bit overeager to cry 'dupe'...
  • Propaganda? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by noretsa (995866) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @02:58PM (#16139710)
    It is very easy for a propaganda article to quote an "anonymous Israeli source".

    If Hezbollah actually had cracked Israeli radio codes why would they admit it? Isn't that just giving information to the other side?

    The only purpose in saying this is to boost morale and cause doubt for the opposition. Neither of those requires actually breaking a code and Hezbollah is known for making boasts without anything to back it up.

    Until their is actual evidence, or at least a quote from a non-anonymous Israeli military official, I don't see why I should believe this.

    Just because it's on the internet, doesn't make it true.

    • I dunno... if I had an exploit (or hack or whatever you'd like to call it) I may use it and brag about my victories but I sure as hell wouldn't let anyone know about my "competitive edge" technology.

      I think it's foolish when someone comes to victory via clandestine techniques to come out and admit how they did what they did. The only think it helps to do is give the opposition an opportunity to close another breech in their defenses.
  • Were they able to crack the Israeli's mini-bar?
    • Were they able to crack the Israeli's mini-bar?

      Would matter since, as good Muslims, they wouldn't be able to use the contents anyway. In fact, even if they did crack the MB, they should have left everything there in the hope that the Israelis would both celebrate too much to be effective, and screw their chances of going to the Islam Paradise -- which may have women (Horus), but no wine or song.

  • Prior to the US IRAQ invasion there were weekly stories focusing around how evil Iraq is... Iraq "might" be responsible for this, Iraq "might" have helped with that... The sort of "Iraq hurts kittens and little children for fun" but more subtle kind of stuff...

    Now we have weekly Iran stories... There is no real evidence ever... For example there was this wonderful "Iran plans on executing girl for defending herself from rape" story... Completely fake, no known source, but yet got the internet all up in arms
  • Having used SINCGARS before (and for few years) they change frequency every few seconds. Add encryption to it and it would be nearly impossible to breach.

    When I was in the military our base frequency changed everyday and our ciphers changed on a regular basis weekly and sometimes daily.

    If they were exercising proper procedures the only way I think it could have happened is if they stole an ANPASS(If I remember the name correctly). It includes all the frequencies and ciphers that you would need. T
    • I think you hit it right on the head when you said "If they were exercising proper procedures," because that's a mighty big if.

      I don't think it's hard to imagine that at least at the outset of the conflict, the Israeli soldiers might have gone into the conflict with a very distorted idea of the enemy; one that was incapable of doing anything more than listening to the latest propaganda on a 20-year-old shortwave set and cleaning their AK-47.

      Thus, like the Germans with their Enigma, they got lax on the proce
    • by tinkerton (199273)
      I recall that the russians intercepted a lot of american communications during the Iraq war. Indeed the strict operation rules for SINCGARS were often not followed, but I got the impression that the russians had cracked many of hard cases too. The frequency hopping is the easy part, there exist wideband frequency hopping interceptors for that.

      I do not know if this is considered a critical issue because reliability and simplicity have a higher priority and people on the ground just have to take in account th
  • SINCGARS is about as secure as you can get. If the Hezbollah bomb boys managed to get into the system it's only because some Israeli recruit didn't follow procedure. Also, there were a lot of units from the IDF involved - how widespread is this?
  • ...the IDF has been deploying SINCGARS clones using technologies and software from Redmond...
  • They have computers now? That means its just a matter of time before they download all our secerets [americasarmy.com]!
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @03:14PM (#16139862)
    One thing you can count on. They, or Iran, won't be able to do it the same way the next time around.
  • by Jack9 (11421) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @03:37PM (#16140074)
    So they cracked communications such as

    "We've killed everyone in the area, moving on to the next village."

    "They are falling back in a northernly direction, sending missile salvos 1, 2, and 3 miles ahead of our mechanized division to thin out the runners and reduce resistance as we proceed."

    "Good hit. They didn't have a chance."
  • Possible ideas... (Score:2, Informative)

    by MBC1977 (978793)
    Considering that the SINGARS family of radios are very diverse set of radios (PRC-119 being the most common), there are one of two possible scenerios that
    could have occured (ranked from unlikely to likely)

    Incidentally, this is my opinion and not fact so please do not take this out of context.

    1) Israel was using an unsecure net (i.e. plaintext, single channel) - This is probably unlikely because as a fighting force, the Israelis are among
    the best, specifically in the areas of tactical security.
  • The Israeli military may just need propoganda to account for what's been widely considered a poor showing by it's forces in this "war" - especially considering the legendary status of Israeli military and intelligence. The citizens are not happy and are grumbling, they actually pay attention to what's going on in a conflict, unlike in the U.S, so this just might be to soothe them.

    It's hard to trust what either side is saying when so much is at stake. The Hezbollah official who was showing off about their ca

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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