Voyage data recorders easy target for hackers

Ruben Santamarta, a security researcher at security firm IOActive, has claimed a popular model of voyage data recorders (VDRs) is easy to hack.

Writing in a blog, Santamarta said the Furuno VR-3000, a popular VDR model, has many vulnerabilities which could allow hackers to execute arbitrary commands with complete root privileges, according to a report from Hacked.com.

“After spending some hours reversing the different binaries, it was clear that security is not one of [the] main strengths of this equipment…The mechanism to update firmware is flawed. Encryption is weak,” Santamarta wrote.

Hackers could “access, modify, or erase data stored on the VDR, including voice communications, radar images, and navigation data”, the security expert claimed.

Furuno has promised a patch to fix the problem.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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