Hacker Finds GPS Data In The Audio Of This Police Chase Video

A Hacker Found GPS Data in the Audio of This Police Chase Video

It's incredibly noisy in the cockpit of a helicopter, and you'd assume the sounds you hear in any YouTube police chase video were just the deafening whine of the chopper's engine. But as one hacker discovered, that monotonous drone can actually hide some useful data, like the helicopter's GPS coordinates.

Watching cockpit footage of a police helicopter chase in Kansas City, Oona Räisänen noticed some odd interference in the audio. She assumed it was just being caused by the aircraft's engine, but after isolating and filtering the audio she discovered it was actually a digital signal.

A Hacker Found GPS Data in the Audio of This Police Chase Video

And it wasn't just some random digital signal, either. It turns out the equipment used to transmit the live video feed to the ground also passes along the helicopter's GPS coordinates. And in a manner that anyone with access to the footage — like say the millions of people using YouTube every minute — and a little know-how can actually decode that data.

So does this pose any kind of security threat? Not necessarily. The route a police helicopter takes during a pursuit isn't exactly a secret. Anyone on the ground can monitor its course, and this 'hack' was done well after the chase was over. It might encourage law enforcement agencies to strip the audio before a video like this is released to the public. But this hack is more of a "how interesting" discovery than anything. [Absorptions via Slashdot]

Pictures: Oona Räisänen


Comments

    Its a news heli not a police heli and the story kinda flips between a police chase and a police heli but interesting all the same that someone picked up on a random noise being more than just that. That chick has some other pretty interesting stuff.

    So (whatever the heli actually is) they are using the audio to relay position data, pretty much like FPV (first person view) and other RC flyers using an OSD (on screen display), the data for this is also sent over the audio channel (utilising an otherwise "useless channel").

    Goes to show that everyone is using the "same" technology.

    People should learn to encrypt data.

    (Don't worry Aircraft fitted with ADS-B are also real-time trackable.)

    Last edited 04/02/14 2:52 pm

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