Never to see the office again – AFP get in-car computers

By 29 July, 2009 61

The ABC brings word that ACT Policing is installing networked computers in its patrol cars.

    ACT Police Minister Simon Corbell says the computers will mean more police on the road, more often.

    “It means less time back at the station, it means less time dealing with paperwork at the end of the the shift, and instead being able to do more of it on the road while the police are working with the community tackling jobs,” he said.

Let’s hope they still manage to meet the basic human desires to interact with colleagues. A lot of so called inefficiencies often turn out to be important safety valves.

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61 Responses to Never to see the office again – AFP get in-car computers
#1
PBO9:07 am, 29 Jul 09

So does that mean all someone has to do to get into the C.O.P.S. database now is to follow a police car with my laptop and crack their wireless with a piggyback program?

All this will do is make wardriving alot more interesting.

#2
johnboy9:11 am, 29 Jul 09

One would hope it will be more complicated than that.

#3
Spectra9:34 am, 29 Jul 09

johnboy said :

One would hope it will be more complicated than that.

Quite so, but one might also look at various governments’ track records on IT security and justifiably wonder if it might not be.

#4
PigDog9:34 am, 29 Jul 09

Wasn’t this in the Blues Brothers movie (circa 1980)? SCMODS, the State County Municipal Offender Data System.

#5
VYBerlinaV8_the_one_9:42 am, 29 Jul 09

johnboy said :

One would hope it will be more complicated than that.

Even if you could get onto their wireless network, one would presume the data being transferred would be encryped appropriately.

Most of what would be being transferred across the network wouldn’t be interesting enough to justify the attempt, I reckon.

I wonder if they will be able to surf the web while out ‘policing’.

#6
johnboy9:44 am, 29 Jul 09

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

Most of what would be being transferred across the network wouldn’t be interesting enough to justify the attempt, I reckon.

I wonder if they will be able to surf the web while out ‘policing’.

I think the frequency of comment by certain contributors here will make that clear.

#7
VYBerlinaV8_the_one_9:47 am, 29 Jul 09

Perhaps we can get real time updates while crims accelerate away from them at 40km/h.

#8
Ozhair9:51 am, 29 Jul 09

Aw, PigDog beat me to the Blues Bros reference :-(

#9
Jim Jones9:51 am, 29 Jul 09

Everyone could keep track of the local crime situation through constant Twitter and Facebook-status updates.

#10
AG Canberra9:54 am, 29 Jul 09

If you email them will you get a faster response (by cutting out the middleman)?

#11
DarkLadyWolfMother10:02 am, 29 Jul 09

I hope they don’t surf ‘n’ drive….

#12
Rawhide Kid No 212:10 pm, 29 Jul 09

johnboy said :

One would hope it will be more complicated than that.

If you paid attention to the footage shown on last nights ABC news you would have noticed all the Motorola equipment in the boot. This would indeed indicate a Encrypted radio network using the same radio system for their current radios.

So no Hacking or cracking will be possible.

#13
johnboy12:14 pm, 29 Jul 09

I’m sure you meant to say it will be difficult.

Nothing is impossible to crack.

#14
j from the block12:18 pm, 29 Jul 09

well stated john boy, although hackers love nothing more than someone coming out and saying that something can not be hacked or is completely safe.
Last department I worked for it was a good three hours though from when the minister mistakenly said the system was hack proof before some bored 16 year old proved him wrong.

#15
zig12:31 pm, 29 Jul 09

hmmmmm looks like we’ll see lots of Cops sitting in their patrol cars playing Solitaire and surfing the web whilst chowing down on Krispy Kremes. :P

#16
Rawhide Kid No 212:31 pm, 29 Jul 09

johnboy said :

I’m sure you meant to say it will be difficult.

Nothing is impossible to crack.

Yes Johnboy, your right in saying that nothing is impossible . However you would need the power of over a million or more computers working 24/7 everyday of the year for over a million years to crack this system. Not some one following a police car with a laptop. Even then the coding for the encryption changes every second. Having said that, there is always the human element which will from time to time let the system become compromised.

#17
Wraith12:51 pm, 29 Jul 09

Just steal the cop car, then get the “key”…………

#18
Hugh Lews1:02 pm, 29 Jul 09

Rawhide kid No 2 said: However you would need the power of over a million or more computers working 24/7 everyday of the year for over a million years to crack this system. Not some one following a police car with a laptop.

Did you just say that? A million computers or more working 24/7 to crack the cops in-car computer?

Are you a cop? Or just an idiot?

yes, I know, you can be both

#19
p11:03 pm, 29 Jul 09

Yes Johnboy, your right in saying that nothing is impossible . However you would need the power of over a million or more computers working 24/7 everyday of the year for over a million years to crack this system. Not some one following a police car with a laptop. Even then the coding for the encryption changes every second. Having said that, there is always the human element which will from time to time let the system become compromised.

For a bruteforce crack maybe, but that’s not the way most things get broken.

#20
johnboy1:04 pm, 29 Jul 09

I think he’s saying it would take that long to brute force the encryption.

#21
p11:04 pm, 29 Jul 09

Either way, it’s going to be a whole lot more expensive next time a cop crashes their car.

There is no such thing as safe speeding!….

#22
VYBerlinaV8_the_one_1:18 pm, 29 Jul 09

Cracking a block of encrypted data is one thing. Getting information that is actually useful and hasn’t perished is another matter altogether. A million computers for a million years is a bit of an overstatement, though.

You wouldn’t attack the system by trying to brute force the crypto directly. You would need to do some reconnaissance (sp?) to determine whether implementation weaknesses existed, and attack those instead.

#23
PBO1:19 pm, 29 Jul 09

Rawhide Kid No 2 said :

johnboy said :

I’m sure you meant to say it will be difficult.

Nothing is impossible to crack.

Yes Johnboy, your right in saying that nothing is impossible . However you would need the power of over a million or more computers working 24/7 everyday of the year for over a million years to crack this system. Not some one following a police car with a laptop. Even then the coding for the encryption changes every second. Having said that, there is always the human element which will from time to time let the system become compromised.

There is a program called Tempest that will allow you to see whatever is on the other persons screen when you point the hand held aimer at it, it does not hack the signal, rather it reads the radiation signature that the screen emits and copies it onto another terminal. This is also old technology.

That is one way i can see the new police system failing.

#24
Tooks1:27 pm, 29 Jul 09

Yeah but how close would you have to be for that to work?

#25
PBO1:41 pm, 29 Jul 09

within 150 metres.

#26
PBO1:41 pm, 29 Jul 09

Unless the patrol car has a faraday cage built into it, it can be hacked.

#27
johnboy1:45 pm, 29 Jul 09

PBO said :

Unless the patrol car has a faraday cage built into it, it can be hacked.

At which point you lose comms…

#28
caf1:58 pm, 29 Jul 09

Most of what would be being transferred across the network wouldn’t be interesting enough to justify the attempt, I reckon.

That sounds like what the contractors said when justifying why the system uses ROT13.

#29
Skidbladnir2:01 pm, 29 Jul 09

PBO, you refer to Van Eck eavesdropping.
ie: For the monitor synchronisation radiation and pixel trace activity, incidental emanations may be captured. TEMPEST is\was a program specifically to combat it.
US State Department have been taking steps against it since the 1960s, the BBC used it to trace tvs which weren’t paying UK license fees in the 1980s.

There are US TEMPEST standards in place which are designed to combat people using Van Eck from 1m away.

A million computers for a million years would be incredibly pointless, considering 1) at the end of a million years of computation research and development you would be able to achieve a lot more processing power, and 2) a million years after the transmission your encrypted information would be little more than a historical curiosity.

Current encryption on police radio uses AES256.
AES’ predecessor was a valid standard for almost three decades before computer power became cheap enough to make a valid brute force attack on it within a day, and that system had 2^55 possible keys.
There are 1.1 x 1077 possible AES256-bit keys.
Even if your decryption system could break a DES encryption key by brute force in a second, you’re looking at trillions of years of processing time to break an AES, and all they have to do is change keys and you have to start over.

If your target change AES keys every second, they still have trillions of years before the system will run out of keys.

So if the system is continually broken to the point that there are continual security compromises, its probably due to human factors.

#30
PBO2:21 pm, 29 Jul 09

My bad, we called it Tempest in the Army when really it was Tempest testing.

Van Eck / Tempest testing, Tomato tomato

For every encrytion that comes out there is automatically a back door, there has to be. Otherwise there is too much potential to lose information permanently.

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