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Re: microwave radio data networks
From: Ralph Forsythe <rforsythe () 5280tech com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2006 12:19:53 -0600 (MDT)

Given that radio is never completely un-interceptable no matter how directional the antenna, I would make the assessment assume that someone IS listening to the transmission. So instead of focusing on the secrecy of the link itself (which is nonexistent), look at the contents of the data. What protocol is used? Is the data encrypted? What algorithm(s) is/are used, and are those strong or weak in that implementation? Do applications or the transmitting hardware perform the encryption of what is sent? (I.e. if they rely on TLS for email communication over the link, that's application layer - what happens if a cleartext app uses it?)

Also something to consider - could someone inject their own signal into the path as a man-in-the-middle attack, or even just accessing the network by themselves? Do the endpoints do any authentication, or could a properly formatted packet slip through and make it's way into the network? This isn't something you're likely to be able to test without having access to the right hardware, and risking service interruption for your client, so you may just want to really dig into the system's design and configuration and make some educated guesses.

I've seen a lot of companies use these wireless data links without paying much thought to these things. Chances are, you will find a way to intercept, alter, or input data on that link unless they really thought things through.

- Ralph


On Thu, 6 Jul 2006, Michael Puchol wrote:

Hi,

The directional antennas that are used for these types of links have lobes that emanate part of the RF away from the LOS path. It is feasible to setup a receiving antenna below or to the side of the LOS path, and catch these lobes. This has been done by intelligence agencies to monitor communications without physically tapping anything.

Regards,

Mike


gat0r wrote:
Most Microwave links I have seen have ATM switches on either in, so I would
start there. Interception is always a possibility but you would have to get
in the Line Of Sight of the signal.

G


On 7/5/06 6:55 PM, "k7 fantr" <k7.fantr () gmail com> wrote:

I have been asked for advise in auditing / testing the security of a
microwave data link between two sites. I have never worked with this
and an having some trouble finding any good information on doing so.

Does anyone have any experience, links, tools, etc that would help out on
this?

Thanks in advance.


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