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Fb1h2s aka Rahul Sasi's Blog

Hacking Your Cable TV Networks : HITB Security Conference Part 0.

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I would be presenting at HITB Amsterdam this 29th - 30th on Digital Cable TV security . I am from an application security computer science background and the talk is all about appsec in Digital Cable TV implementations. But certain digital signal concepts were bit hard for me to remember. So in this pre-con blogpost I would add few short notes on few terms I would be referring to in my talk .

Television is one way medium unlike internet , so if someone hacks into your Cable TV networks and stream in a Video stating that a riot has started in the nearby village/city, that can cause enough panic. In our talk we will explain both analog and digital cable networks. We were working with a Cable TV provider of our state for the past 8 months and in the talk we would cover the various , insecure designs, bugs and practical exploits we found on Cable TV networks. This would be a treat for application security enthusiast.

Here is a Video Demonstrating Analog attacks on Tv networks using MITM . Analog networks are obsolete , but this would help to understand . Also MITB atatck would be possible in implementation of certain Digital Standards as well.

The following topics would be explained in the talk:
Analogue Cable TV

To see a preview of what we are gone present check out this video:

In the above MITM attack we used a signal cutter to chop down the main channel [ ndtv frequency ] and then modulate our video in the frequency of NDTV [A man-in-middle in our test environment] . This would work well in the case of analog networks but when it comes to Digital networks this would not happen . This is mainly because DVB-C is an encrypted stream and an easy MITM would not be possible. But we would reveal the many possible real world attacks on this . Stay tuned for IPTV and DVB-C attacks from our talk.

Introduction to Analog and Digital Cable TV networks:

Terms to Remember:
An integrated receiver/decoder (IRD) is an electronic device used to pick up a radio-frequency signal and convert digital information transmitted in it.

Quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) is both an analog and a digital modulation scheme. It conveys two analog message signals, or two digital bit streams, by changing (modulating) the amplitudes of two carrier waves, using the amplitude-shift keying (ASK) digital modulation scheme or amplitude modulation (AM) analog modulation scheme.

DVB Standards:

Satellite: DVB-S, DVB-S2 and DVB-SH DVB-SMATV for distribution via SMATV
Cable: DVB-C, DVB-C2
Terrestrial television: DVB-T, DVB-T2
Digital terrestrial television for handhelds: DVB-H, DVB-SH

Source coding and MPEG-2 multiplexing (MUX):

DVB-C Conditional_access:
These standards define a method by which one can obfuscate a digital-television stream, with access provided only to those with valid decryption smart-cards.
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