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Edited by Christian Lowe | Contact

Hez Hacked Israeli Radios

This is downright shocking, if true. "Hezbollah guerrillas were able to hack into Israeli radio communications during last month's battles in south Lebanon, an intelligence breakthrough that helped them thwart Israeli tank assaults," Newsday reports.


Using technology most likely supplied by Iran, special Hezbollah teams monitored the constantly changing radio frequencies of Israeli troops on the ground. That gave guerrillas a picture of Israeli movements, casualty reports and supply routes. It also allowed Hezbollah anti-tank units to more effectively target advancing Israeli armor, according to the officials...

The Israeli military refused to comment on whether its radio communications were compromised, citing security concerns. But a former Israeli general, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Hezbollah's ability to secretly hack into military transmissions had "disastrous" consequences for the Israeli offensive...

Like most modern militaries, Israeli forces use a practice known as "frequency-hopping" - rapidly switching among dozens of frequencies per second - to prevent radio messages from being jammed or intercepted. It also uses encryption devices to make it difficult for enemy forces to decipher transmissions even if they are intercepted. The Israelis mostly rely on a U.S.-designed communication system called the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System...

With frequency-hopping and encryption, most radio communications become very difficult to hack. But troops in the battlefield sometimes make mistakes in following secure radio procedures and can give an enemy a way to break into the frequency-hopping patterns. That might have happened during some battles between Israel and Hezbollah, according to the Lebanese official. Hezbollah teams likely also had sophisticated reconnaissance devices that could intercept radio signals even while they were frequency-hopping.

During one raid in southern Lebanon, Israeli special forces said they found a Hezbollah office equipped with jamming and eavesdropping devices.

It was my impression that this kind of signal interception was really, really hard to do -- especially for an irregular force like Hezbollah. I know there are some radio and commsec gurus who read the site regularly. Weigh in here, guys.

Or maybe the article itself contains the seed of what actually happened. "Besides radio transmissions, the official said Hezbollah also monitored cell phone calls among Israeli troops," Newsday notes. A raided Hezbollah base had list of "cell phone numbers for Israeli commanders."

Cells are, of course, way easier to intercept. "Israeli forces were under strict orders not to divulge sensitive information over the phone." But maybe they talked anyway. Maybe they thought Hezbollah would never be sophisticated enough to grab their calls.

UPDATE 3:25 PM: Weeks ago, the Times of London and Asia Times had hints of this.

Apparently using techniques learnt from their paymasters in Iran, they were even able to crack the codes and follow the fast-changing frequencies of Israeli radio communications, intercepting reports of the casualties they had inflicted again and again. This enabled them to dominate the media war by announcing Israeli fatalities first.

“They monitored our secure radio communications in the most professional way,” one Israeli officer admitted. “When we lose a man, the fighting unit immediately gives the location and the number back to headquarters. What Hezbollah did was to monitor our radio and immediately send it to their Al-Manar TV, which broadcast it almost live, long before the official Israeli radio.”

(Big ups: JQP, /.)


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Posted by: Lareina at April 23, 2009 06:52 PM

I had heard that Israel DOES NOT use SINCGARS. If their frequency hopping net was hacked then they were not using encryption. It is possible to follow a FHSS net by using highly specialized receivers such as some made by WJ (Microceptor)+ AOR (SR1050). If they were just freq hopping in the clear then yes, anyone with $5500 and some good technical knowledge could follow the hopping. If they had used AES or even DES then their info would not have been broken in real time. As far as monitoring digital cell phones all they needed was a service monitor. On a further note, Israel is a terrorist nation just like Iran and Iraq. I wish the U.S would cut off that blood sucking leach Israel now!
Remember the U.S.S Liberty

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Posted by: 121 at November 6, 2007 03:35 AM

Rule # 1, regardless of your communication and transmission security, even the most advanced, always assume that all your communications have been intercepted by the enemy and that it will be used against you. Hence, only a fool would believe that his communication system cannot be intercept, decode and use against you

Posted by: Alvin King at November 4, 2006 01:25 AM

Do you guys remember a guy named John Walker a US Navy RMC who stole our Jason and Creon codes for the Russians? All during Nam the Soviets supplied codes and then radio equip cloned from the hijacked USS Pueblo. They read our mail every day for years while we sweated our secure procedures. Even channel hopping can be tapped into with the right computer chip.

Posted by: J.P. Patterson RM2 at October 31, 2006 12:32 AM

I have 4 .jpg images of the equipment the IDF SoF recovered as refereced in the article.

All I can say is that your eyes will pop like mine did.

Posted by: Sean Osborne at October 18, 2006 12:33 PM

Having worked for the maker of SINCGARS, I am not aware of any sale of the system to the IDF. Israel has it's own comms company and they prefer to use it instead of a foreign system. The IDF radios although Freq Hopping are not based on the SINCGARS model in anyway.

Posted by: Lizardman at October 6, 2006 10:27 AM

Sometimes, the obvious is overlooked. It is not impossible that the Hezbollah had the use of the fruits of Iranian or Syrian espionage. Since the system is a US one, it is possible it was compromised in the US. Remember what the traitor Walker did to the US Navy?

Posted by: xshipdriver at October 1, 2006 10:46 PM

"Ps, It's not possible to intercept and decrypt Israeli Military Radio Communications within a reasonable parameter for effective utilization. So, for the the people here declaring it can be done ... quit smoking crack and get back to reality"

Once upon a time there was a person of Arabic descent. He thought he had a secure line of communication. He spoke of many interesting things upon his encrypted radio link.

The encryption was indeed formidable. Not decodable in universe of those combinatorial explosions you get with prime factors.

Yet, the intrepid crew got the audio anyway.

And they didn't decrypt the data flow.

How do you get down off an elephant? You don't. You get down off a duck.

How do you decrypt spectacularly good encryption?

You don't.

In this case, the audio amps were drawing a variable amount of current when our Islamic friend spoke on the invulnerable encryption. That caused a tiny frequency deviation in the FM modulator, and a tiny AM modulation of the signal amplitude. And when you used a mathematic transform on the two that amplifies similarities between the two effects and removes the other noise, voila! there was the voice data.

The moral of the story is, you don't always have to decrypt the unbreakable encryption to retrieve the data.

Posted by: erewhon at September 29, 2006 04:27 PM

The real compromise in this scenario involves the person writing the story. It's the field journalist with satellite links and video phones giving away information that is compromising. Who needs to intercept encrypted radio transmissions when you can just turn on the television. This story is full of deceit and smoking mirrors ... the PMC's might use this technique in the field, using journalists that are operationally friendly, if you know what I mean.

Ps, It's not possible to intercept and decrypt Israeli Military Radio Communications within a reasonable parameter for effective utilization. So, for the the people here declaring it can be done ... quit smoking crack and get back to reality.

Posted by: Eyecircumvent at September 28, 2006 11:23 PM

Been a ham and inventor in more then one way for over 50 years. I beleive I have a way to catch whomever/whereever at anytime. I need a contact with the proper agent and or person. Can be done with what we already have availible to us.

Posted by: Bucky at September 27, 2006 11:58 PM

Just a thought, What has been Syria's fee for torturing suspected Al Quaeda members. Access to possible signal hopping frequences related to our old, outdated battlecom system??

Posted by: SaigonJohn at September 27, 2006 12:47 PM


Both the London Times and Newsday articles seemed pretty explicit that they had compromised either SINCGARS or other unnamed Israeli comms that used frequency hopping. Grant you, as you say the authors may have misunderstood, but it was explicitly stated that HB had gotten their intel from encrypted or frequency hopping comms.

If they were using digital cell phones, the data is encrypted there as well but you can snag the key if you catch a call during setup. Or you can do it pretty easily at the cell tower, if you get access to the equipment. You can't trust cell phones in enemy territory.

Posted by: erewhon at September 27, 2006 11:04 AM

One more time:

Where did it say specifically that the HZ decoded frequency hopping signals. The use of the expression "hack into" sounds to me like the author of the original article did not really understand the total situation. As usual, we American high tech guys jumped in and said it cannot be done. There were indications that the HZ did monitor some RDF cell phones and probable some signal channel comms that may or may not have been encrypted. Bottom line, everyone should have learned something about OPSEC planning and tactical communications in the field.

Posted by: Begruss at September 26, 2006 09:50 PM


Do you seriously think a Radio Shack scanner is going to be able to follow a direct-chip sequence spread spectrum network? Even one as slow as SINCGARS?

Get a grip, dude. It's only been in the last couple of years that software defined radio systems have been able to pull it off.

You can't spot traffic patterns until you can catch the traffic. You...DO...know that you can't just turn on a shortwave and actually HEAR anything on a spread-spectrum net like SINCGARS?

Back under your rock, troll boy. Come back when you can describe an FFT kernel without a cut-and-paste off Wikipedia.

Posted by: erewhon at September 26, 2006 09:24 PM

It can be a tricky thing to keep track of who got what weapon, not to mention when and how they are used, when the technology and intelligence of weapons is just like any other commodity-regulated by availability and demand.
National borders and national loyalty is only true in the vocabulary of those at the state vs state level. Below relations-whether in information, personal connections, monetary transactions, resources etc - are flowing with little regard to artificial lines.

Posted by: Liz at September 26, 2006 12:30 PM

To erewhon & his ilk; There is an old saw about engineers: "Never use a straight line where a recurve is possible, the shortest distance between any two points is never a straight line, & never, EVER, use clarity when obfuscation will suffice". I don't know who the original author was, but he sure nailed it when one reads comments like the ones erewhon (amoungst others) wrote. Why is it so hard for engineers to stop & think before they open their mouths to massage their own ego's with supposed insider info? These guys make me crazy!! Hey moron - anyone with a high end scanner, a decent laptop & 10 cents worth of brains can figure out the 5 or 6 percent of transmitted info necessary to sus out common repeated intel. The more you engineers complicate things, the easier they are to break. Evidently, this is a lesson which will never find acceptance in the engineering community.

Posted by: djb1017 at September 26, 2006 08:11 AM

Interesting debate. Most telling is that you never underestimate your enemy, technology is not fool proof, and the good guy doesn't always win.

Posted by: 41mils at September 25, 2006 01:07 PM

It is kinda funny most of you jokers act like these arabs are backward and you pysdo tough guy have no respect for our current foes in the middle east, I am a signal officer and when I attended college most of the EE, and mathmatic majors were either arab or persian. Freq are based on wavelengths hmmmmm....maybe the are smat enough to figure this out...and maybe we are to dumb to see it. In a nutshell never underestimate you enemy.

Posted by: Warren at September 25, 2006 09:06 AM

It is going to be a important concern about listing to IDF radio transmission in the upcomeing months. With the bad guys not disarming,which was part of the broker agreeement. The IDF is going to have to develope better radio security. When the IDF goes back to the fight in a matter of months, I hope they have a better ground plan for fighting the bad guys.

Posted by: kenneth Kaplan at September 24, 2006 03:00 PM

SAVILLE is a relative biatch to encode and decode, unless you're vonNeumann's reincarnation you're not likely to be decrypting it in any useful period of time.

The most straightforward way to intercept a SINCGARS net would be to have someone give you the keys.

In terms of frequency hops, SINCGARS' direct chip LFSR algorithm has a long dwell time (comparatively) and very well defined bins. You could use a multi-blade SDR setup to first bin out the entire SINCGARS hop spectrum, if you got somewhat close to an operating system.

The hopset for a SINCGARS net is variable but usually not that many slots, less than 2000 bins and usually more like 1000. Once you have the hopset elucidated, you can narrow your SDR's attention to the 1000 or so bins that the net is operating in, a small enough subset that your SDR could easily munch it in real time.

You could use that data to easily triangulate on units close by. Given idiosyncrasies in each unit's center frequency, chip timing and amplitude, you can eventually identify and separate out transmissions from units at a distance.

Decoding would be a lot tougher. But if you had the keys at one location and no way to easily distribute them to the other "freedom fighters", I would assume one might be able to fake being a net controller and send well-known keys to the net with ERFs, everyone would think they were properly set up to transmit with code keys but would be using 'blanks'.

Short of that, there are some other ways to attack encrypted transmissions that don't involve directly decrypting the traffic's data stream by carefully examining some aspects of the signal characteristics once you have the hopset. Some sets will "give away" more of this info than others, it would be a crapshoot if you could locate a SINCGARS unit doing it that was also sending really useful comm traffic. Maybe that's why HB couldn't do it daily.

At any rate, a special purpose SDR receiver with some computational horsepower and a competent operator is needed, most likely HB is getting help from a technically advanced country, it's not the sort of thing you toss together over the weekend.

Posted by: erewhon at September 24, 2006 10:15 AM

Point 1.
They rabs have been able to jack into communications for at least the last several years since I served. One doesn;t have to be a genius, especially when it comes to mobiles.

Point 2.
As for it being sa victory against Israel, what a crock of your mothers crappy hummus. For reasons beyong understanding, Israel pulled back when we should have gone on and cleared the waste that is Lebanon. Unfortunately, injuries were suffered because unlike those sheep-dipping bloodthirdty murderers, Israel does care about the life of innocents, even if it adds to the fatalities of its own soldiers. As an ex-IDF sniper, I can verify many times I wasn't allowed to complete a job because of information that could not be 100% verified. If Israel said screw them all, it wouldn't have taken much to clear the whole bloody lot of them. Case closed!!

Posted by: Golani51 at September 24, 2006 06:50 AM

i am from Iran and i am a network security expert. this is like a joke that IRAN and Hezbollah have such ability. These hacking techniques require advance knowledge and experts. as i know in my country what is not important , is knowledge !! so who want to hack these complicated systems ? The Hezbollah (who r unfamiliar with basic warfare) or REVELOTIPN BRIGARDS (same as Hezbollah) i recommend u to allow military intelligence search for something else like military personal abuse or spying.

Posted by: Recon 30248 at September 24, 2006 06:23 AM

Pssiitttttttt ----- you missed something, what Hez boys were doing were listening to cell phones ----------------------

Posted by: reload223 at September 24, 2006 05:10 AM

Anyone who thinks that SINCGARS can not be tracked is fooling whoever they are talking to. I worked on a system fifteen years ago that could not only track a SINCGARS, I could pick you out of a crowd and tell where you were. I have been out of the business for a while, but can imagine that a lot of people could do it now. Without your COMSEC encryption you are VERY vunerable to interception. It is EASY!!! Unless things have changed, getting tankers to use their radio properly is a problem. Wouldn't be a bit suprised they were in single channel clear.

Posted by: Can't Say at September 23, 2006 10:25 PM

I don`t think that it happend during battle incident. Imo it was rather effect of long term recconesaince and monitoring, proffesionally-supported process.

Posted by: Glhd at September 23, 2006 04:09 PM

I believe the war in Lebanon was disastrous to the image of Israeli Defence Forces, and supposedly its deterrence. At one time, everyone thought they were invincible, however this latest battle was the biggest flaw in the history of the State of Israel. It showed that a small well trained and equipped guerilla force could defeat a modern army. And what's even worse now is that Hezb set a role model for every thug to stand up and fight. Add bad to worse, even in technological warfare Hezb marked a victory!!!! Thumbs up.
I predict rocky times ahead for the tiny state of Israel who has no strategic depth. Every Hassan and Ahmed will try to match Hezb now and accomplish an achievement.

Posted by: Walid Haddad at September 23, 2006 04:02 PM

I think the word "shocking" is way overworked...Israel, of any countries, should have anticipated SIGINT efforts to see into their command and control structure and planned for same.

After all, they did't attack the U.S.S. Liberty because they thought that ship was selling ice cream out there...

Posted by: Stephen Gartrell at September 23, 2006 01:44 PM

If is is true that Israeli SINCGARS transmissions were hacked it should not surprise anyone. Frequency hopping for military radios offer nothing for voice or data encryption: it is a signal evasion technology to inhibit the enemy from using direction finding to locate signal sources locations and movement. Only good equipment, codes and procedures can properly secure information sent and received over these systems. For those who think the synchronization rate of SINCGARS is too fast to monitor, you should consider two facts: (1) The processors used in these radios were introduced in the 1980s and have much slower computation rates than the CPU in your kid's Nintendo and (2) signal analysis doesn't need to be spontaneous to be dangerous because these signals can be intercepted, assembled and then recompiled into its near-original form somewhere other than a bombed-out Beirut basement. This brings up the always present possibility that surrogate enemies like Hezbollah collect locally and through the Internet process remotely in Tehran, Beijing, Pyongyang or anywhere by techno-mercenaries in the international arms bazaar of military global outsourcing. Is it happening to us?

Posted by: B Donly at September 22, 2006 10:51 PM

RIC REED is completly wrong:

1) "Hezbullah achieved great success": at least 600 Hezbonuts terrorists were killed by the IDF (a ratio over 5 for 1).

2) "IDF as a ground force has shown to be inept for the most part except against poorly armed Palestinians in Gaza": that's just bad propaganda. IDF soldiers acted courageously and effectively on the ground in Lebanon each time their orders weren't illogically modified or called back by Israel's inept political leaders (Olmert and Peretz).

3) "It makes you wonder if the Israelis bombed the airport, ports, oil tanks, resorts and infrastructure simply because they were jealous of Lebanon's success in tourism promoting the country as the Switzerland of the middle east": that's quite ridiculous a claim: Israel is a far more developped country than Third World Lebanon. In fact, Israel surpasses even the US in the number of engineers and scientists and patents-per-year, compared with the population... There is simply no field in which an Arab country is superior, or even equal, to Israel.

4) "This attack has made the Israelis look horrible in the eyes of the world as well as the US": only in the eyes of the antisemites of the world... and in the eyes of the anti-american racists of the world...

Posted by: Leroidavid at September 22, 2006 05:49 PM

I trained Soldiers and Marines on the every facet of the SINCGARS system for 6.5 years, from Korea to California. I guarantee it was a lack procedure. You do the math, minus the freq hopping element, if this radio system is properly deployed, it provides 128 bit encryption! No matter how powerful your computer(s), you do NOT break that on the fly.

Posted by: Stuart gardner at September 22, 2006 05:38 PM

This could have happened and if so Israel should change the codes and use techniques similar to the Navajo Code Talkers of WWII. The terrorist would be unable to break that type of code regardless of what Iran has. Iran can't break it either. Being part Native American and very familar with the Code Talkers history, I can say that it is truly unbreakable unless it is by a member of the tribe that is using the language. I dispise Islam and Hezbollah and love the Israeis.

Posted by: Dave Hudson at September 22, 2006 05:36 PM

You don't need to be a sophisticated fighting force to oppose your enemy. Merely organised and determined, both of which Hezbollah are. The fact that this reported interception of communications comes as a shock to most is a little concerning and somewhat arrogant. The rules or engagement are ineffectual in real combat and are merely placation to a world which can access the battlefront from the comfort of their living rooms. The justifications for actions taken, and ordered in the heat of battle are now accountable to the entire world. However to expect your enemy to fight on the same moral ground we may fight on is incredibly naive, look at Somalia and Liberia. You have to completely understand your enemy and what motivates them to fight. An area we are still trying to conquer in Iraq. Hezbollah are portrayed as terrorists through the Western world, at home they are heroes and become more so with every shell that is rained down into Lebanon. This discussion is a moral and intellectual victory for them in that the 'great opposing war machine' can be beaten. It fuels their fire and should be another warning sign to us all. We, the US and it's Western allies, are becoming too heavily reliant on technology in the battlefield, so much so that the core fundamentals of developing a well trained, efficient and effective, on the gound fighting force backed with local and cultural intelligence is being neglected. The blog quoting WWII techniques is as accurate as it gets. Hezbollah are identifying weaknesses within the IDF and it's infrastructure and are quite justifiably taking advantage of it, alarmingly and possibly with off the shelf electronics. No need for billion dollar lazer guided expenditure here!

Posted by: ianzlawz at September 22, 2006 04:46 PM

Generally the primary problem is poor training, and poor application of security during communication
I.E. "...I need to talk with Col Smith" or
"..I need to talk to your 6"
Instead of kfj37x this is kjf22l
Or Playing CBer. I'm over by that church near the trees
as opposed "675 256" ( which would be coordinates offset from todays grid of choice.
SINGARS is pretty solid, encryption is pretty solid.
SINGARS + Encryption + Security Protocol is darned hard to beat.
Army Vet

Posted by: Edward Wright SR at September 22, 2006 03:51 PM

With soo many intel leaks in the intelligence and privatized sector of equipment manufacturers, no wonder there's no longer any true OPSEC, and we deal with baffling blows from any enemy threats. Thanks a billion guys and gals.

Posted by: Leggz at September 22, 2006 02:49 PM

Interception of those communications is unsurprising and unremarkable in terms of Hezbullah's success against the IDF. You don't need sophisticated technology to pull off repelling IDF forces. In fact, Hezbullah achieved great success in its defense by using non-tech weaponry against the IDP and respondeing to the high tech US made bombs, drones, and artillery, ect incredibly well using in essence WWII technology to out smart them. IDF as a ground force has shown to be inept for the most part except against poorly armed Palestinians in Gaza. The collateral damage was essentially the Lebonan and its civilian population. It makes you wonder if the Israelis bombed the airport, ports, oil tanks (with a spill greater than the Valdez polluting the beaches),resorts and infrastructure simply because they were jealous of Lebanon's success in tourism promoting the country as the Switzerland of the middle east. This attack has made the Isreali's look horrible in the eyes of the world as well as the US for supplying the hardware and staying silent. Sadly, it has allied the Christian factions in Beirut, and the Lebonese army with Hezbollah greater than ever imagined as they work hand in hand rebuilding. This was a great loss for the Israelis and its military. The Isreali civilians also shared in the horror of this event. The US media has failed to even present these facts. One can only hope for the best both for Lebonan and Israel.

Posted by: RIC REED at September 22, 2006 02:38 PM

I used to work on Havequick.There are some steps you have to perform before encryption is enalbled on these systems.I doubt very much that any codes were broken.Probably more like transmissions were sent in the clear.

Posted by: Msgt Airforce at September 22, 2006 01:41 PM

I decided to check this thread for fear of someone breaking OPSEC.

Nothing to worry about though. The very little correct info out here is not especially sensitive and even then anyone tryig to glean good information would essentially have to already know what was correct in order to winnow the bad information out.

For the record, the incredulous that SINCGARS or any "secure" systems could be compromised, are totally off base. Our leaders beleived the sales brochures and that's a problem whihc has lead to a variety of very poor operational decisions. That these same misconceptions could have infected, so to speak, IDF doctrine and practice is more than credible.


Posted by: RTO Trainer at September 22, 2006 01:32 PM

Lightning Mike:

Just one example article. Note the URL below.

How military radio communications are intercepted?

March 21, 2003

The US military is using SINCGARS (Single Channel Ground And Airborne Radio System) frequency-hopping radios in the field. These radio sets are categorized as Low Probability of Intercept (LPI) Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) transceivers. The FHSS method is not new: it originated from the Second World War and, simply stated, it employs a narrow band carrier, shifting frequency in a pattern known only to the transmitter and the receiver. The frequency can be changed several hundred times per second.

The FHSS military radios are synchronized daily to use the same frequency modulation algorithm. The synchronization process occurs either through a direct physical connection of the radio sets to each other or to a special device known as the programmer. Some radios can also synchronize frequency modulation algorithms via an encrypted transmission of the frequency modulation algorithm in a non-frequency-hopping mode, although this method is generally considered to be less secure.

The military radios in the US armed forces commonly use encryption and the frequency hopping methods provide an additional layer of security during transmission of the encrypted signal. An example of a frequency-hopping field VHF/FM transceiver used by US Special Forces would be the Caracal RPM 4740 manufactured by Thales Communications of France.

The Caracal covers the 30 to 87.975 MHz frequency range. It also has 10 programmable simplex or half-duplex channels out of its repertoire of 2,320. Hopping in narrowband (6.4 MHz) and wideband (30 to 87.975 MHz) orthogonal modes, Caracal contains high-grade internal digital encryption and has an output of 1 W. Insertion of frequency and security codes is accomplished using the MA 4073B programmer or MA 4083B fill gun. A reset switch on each radio is used to erase codes rapidly. The synchronization function is broadcast, requiring about 6 seconds. Other features include receive-only selective calling, frequency barring and `hailing' by fixed-frequency radios when in the hopping mode.

However, security afforded by frequency-hopping methods is very dependant on the strict adherence to protocols for operating such radios. The US troops and other operators of frequency-hopping radio sets frequently disregard these protocols. An example would be an artillery unit passing digital traffic in the frequency-hopping mode, which would enable an unauthorized listener to determine the frequency-hopping algorithm and eavesdrop on the transmission.

Even when proper protocols for using frequency-hopping radios are being adhered to interception and decryption of these signals is still possible. The frequency-hopping interceptors are special advanced reconnaissance wideband receivers capable of simultaneously tracking a large number of frequency-hopping encrypted transmissions even in high background noise environments.

An example of such a reconnaissance device would be the FH-1 frequency-hopping interceptor manufactured by VIDEOTON-MECHLABOR Manufacturing and Development Ltd of Hungary. The FH-1 frequency-hopping interceptor is a modern reconnaissance system based on parallel signal processing technology.

The equipment has 160 independent receiving channels covering a 4 MHz wide IF band with 25 kHz channel spacing, 60 dB channel selection and 60 dB intermodulation suppression. The 4 MHz wide IF band is the IF output of a special high-speed front-end receiver which has a 20 to 1,000 MHz frequency range.

The digitized output signals of the channels are multiplexed and fed as 1 Mbits/s data to a fast dedicated signal-processing computer. As the processing time of the 160 channels is 200 µs with the front-end receiver 4 MHz frequency setting time, the processing speed of this interceptor is 4 MHz/200 µs or 20 GHz/s. This high speed makes it possible to process the complete 30 to 80 MHz ground-to-ground VHF band within a 2.5 ms time slot.

The system's processing algorithm filters out noise spikes and stationary transmissions and in this way hopping transmissions can be classified either in the traditional frequency versus amplitude mode or in a waterfall-like frequency versus time display mode. Optional software modules are available for direction-finding the FH transmission and for controlling a remote follower/jammer.


Posted by: Begruss at September 22, 2006 01:32 PM

Lightning Mike:

Just a quick Google search. Remember The Earth is Flat, everyone can Google.;=&q;=signals+intercept+against+frequency+hopping+radios&btnG;=Search

Posted by: Begruss at September 22, 2006 01:27 PM

I agree with the several inputs that augued that SINCGARS hopping frequencies could be tracked, particularly if a limited number of frequency sets is used. The Israeli army has a history of poor communications security. In the 67 War, the Egyptian SIGINT units tracked Israeli comms with much success. The problem was that the fast moving action put the "soft" Egyptian SIGINT vans in harm's way too often and caused them to retreat beyond UHF radio intercept ranges. The poor communication security of the Israeli air force is also well documented. Once again, we doubt that the bad guys can have any real SIGINT success against U.S. built systems. The VC SIGINT guys proved us wrong in Viet Nam. The Long Track radar, then already 50 years old, was able to track our stealth aircraft in Bosnia. Israel was embarrassed by an enemy because it again underestimated the enemy capability. Israeli generals and planners need to go back and read Sun Yat Sen or von Clausewitz.

Posted by: Begruss at September 22, 2006 12:47 PM

The comment about the navajo indians is very true and also make the troops leave there cell phones behind when going into combat. Hezbola is not that sophisticated. Air support for the tanks would also help. It is hard to fire at tanks when your head is down from airstrikes and straffing.

Posted by: Harold Steffee at September 22, 2006 11:32 AM

Ridiculous! That SINCGARS transmissions were decoded by HEZ! Not possible with current technology! Maybe possible in the future but by then the military COMSEC equipment will have evolved into something impossible to decode. I believe that unconventional communications like cell phones were used in the battle field. Also spotters who sent the info rearward right away. Then they used a misinformation campaign to discredit the secure communications which they cannot decode. This to make the Israelis insecure with their COMSEC equipment, which could cause havoc with the decision making of Field Commanders. That is why Israeli commanders should take all the cell phones from their troops when going into battle. That would elliminate Two Thirds of the problem.

Posted by: LightningMike at September 22, 2006 11:03 AM

If you think that a man made device cannot be compromised, no matter what the technology, then you are not much better than an ostrich with its head in the sand. Technology MUST be upgraded on a consistant basis, in order to maintain the edge. Without this, our nation will fall by the wayside of those who do stay on top of ALL technologies; not just communications. We live in a violent world and there are many who wish to control it and see the US fall. The US is just as vulnerable as any other nation. What we chose to do about it is the real question. UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! This is the equation for our literal and figuartive survival. If SINGARS is compromised, change the system now. As a current and lifelong soldier, it is imparative that this take place, in order for me to do my job of standing in the way of those hell bent on taking this nation down.

Posted by: SSG Army at September 22, 2006 10:37 AM

Maybe the Israli's should hire some Navajo Indians and use the old "Code Talker" system. At least until they can come up with something more high tech. Just remember "What ever man invents - another man can steal"!

Posted by: dferguson at September 22, 2006 10:15 AM

I do not believe in aiding the enemy, no matter who they are. I fail to understand how the global distribution of our technology to our "allies", without guarding its access, can we be rest-assured that its "secrets" are safe? Frequency hopping algorithms are unlockable, voice encryption is old hat. No boys, if this is true that a "bunch of rag-heads" can read Israeli voice traffic on SINCGARS units then its "heave-ho" them to EBAY and start again. Y'know its time to put PGP VOICE on a chip, embed "keys" to another level for "hopping". (there are better ways) O'h and I didn't say anything about the "industrial military complex" that we enjoy!?

Posted by: Tony Grogan at September 22, 2006 09:33 AM

Was the radio hacking confirmed or was the source only from Lebonese reports? Deceit is the name of the game with Muslims and since they have the ear of the media it is a good opportunity to further their pr game of gotcha.

Posted by: William Rohlfs at September 22, 2006 09:29 AM

This goes to show that unsecure communications can be the downfall of a very sofisticated/encrypted communication system.
I doubt very highly Hezes have equipment that can intercept AND decrypt SINCARS transmissions.
I do know that they can DF the encrypted signals and use battelfield Intel to make educated guesses on which type of force INF/ARMOR will be somewhere on the field.
It only takes one private, or officer to make a call on a cell phone that gets intercepted to compromise a secure network.

The possiblity of SINCARS and the related COMSEC being hacked should scare the crap out of the US, because if Heze has it, then others in Iraq and Afghanistan may have it too

Posted by: B Levi at September 22, 2006 09:26 AM

Bull puppy they got the info from the unsil listening posts that hezbo tapped into and in many cases was given by un people this was proven by the father of 1 of the idnapped soldiers.

Neither the hezbos nor the lebanese have this type of equipment I feel it was the iranians or the un . My heart and experience tells me it was the unsil folks.

Posted by: straps at September 22, 2006 09:08 AM

It sounds to me as if the Isreali's had a breakdown in operational security. Sincgars has two modes of operation. A single channel mode where it hops only on one channel and a hopping mode where it can radomly shift over 2300 channels.

If planners were complacent, as I think was the case, they only assigned radio nets with limited hopsets of 3 to 6 frequencies. Hopsets of this size in a small band of frequency spectrum, 5Mhz, can be detected with equipment available to anyone in general elctronics. However,if the hopsets were large, 100 frequencies, spread over 50Mhz of spectrum, and changed daily then hacking into the nets would have been more difficult. If you do the math, the problem of finding a precise frequency in real time when spread over 2300 is a tough nut even with current EW equipment.

Posted by: Bill at September 22, 2006 09:06 AM

whoa, I am torn on this issue. one side of me that has been trainned and fed all the standard information of Comsec and SINGARS cannot fathom the possiblity of the system being cracked. the other side realizes that everything we are ever told that cannot be done is not necessarilly true, nothing is impossible, only improbable.

The frequenzy hopping capablity by itself should have been enough to discourage the hacking of the system ( I know this because that is what we were told and transmitted in the clear while on freq hopping all the time) but then there is the posibility that they could have come up with a high speed scanner that electronically tags the frequency being used and then simply scans at a high rate of speed for that particular freq tag and changing to that freq as the target radio does. A modern PC could probably do this. (thank you DELL)

All SINGARS traffic transmitted in the clear would be compromised. Of course this would be lower level traffic, squad and company size. but that is all you need.

I am very curious to know the size of the break and what types of counter measures would be put in place. I think the first is to ban all talking in the clear, period.

Posted by: Peter at September 22, 2006 09:00 AM

In most truly secure digital network systems, all comms are sent according to preset datakeys which change daily.

Thus 'Casualty Report' may be JohnnyAppleSeed the first time and GreenEyedMonster the next and the specific number sequences should never be more than 'representative' (whether a range of unit counts or a 'battlefield' serial to which another-secure database direct identity match is made).

Never to repeat for a million times on that particular list.

Now when things get hot not everybody thinks about waiting for the synch lights or even going to secure voice instead of data. You can have people blathering up the direct comms in a panic of adrenaline and sometimes even true need.

Also, if you are following a given doctrine 'by lockstep'; you can give the enemy working tells just by the manner in which you give a sitrep/contact report.

But the Israelis are not stupid enough to have personal chats or indeed to abuse general EmCon for any reason in a battle area. Which means that the guerillas were probably in pretty deep.

Having said this, I doubt seriously if the Hezbollah or the Iranians got this tech on their own. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if their initial seedbase wasn't Chinese or Pak or or or. We have left a LOT of encrypted comms in parts of the world where we are no longer welcome and the Israelis being such good little exploitationists have 'stepped in to fill our shoes immediately'. Usually this has come at no more cost than that of the American companies whose copyright the Israelis automatically feel compelled to combeenah evade in breaking the patent everytime we give them a new toy.

On more than a few recent occasions, this has led the IMI conglomerate into going in and setting up complete indigenous BMC2 and network comms systems which may have been a /little too closely/ modelled on what they are running at the home.

If they have indeed been techint'd as a function of their own greed in whoring their military wares (and OUR technology) to whomever has the cash, good for the Hezbollahns in getting a little shavooz back.

In the end however; the real definition of infowar superiority (and this is it folks, like it or lump it) will be whether the Hezbollahns were able to maintain _their own opsec_ through secure comms.

Because sometimes the best way to gain insight into a threat command tree is to give them just enough entry to your comms pipe to 'get all excited' through increased traffic revealing sources and methods of their own.

You may think that these are punkass guerillas firing slaptogether MRLs out the back of pickup trucks 'when an Israeli happens by' but in truth, cellular warfare of this kind has a lot in common with some of the Air Land Battle 2K/Army 21 stuff we planned to do unto the Russians in Europe in terms of letting the threat interpenetrate a short ways thru our fronts (no shoulders) to establish 'undeniable contact' by which to slaughter them via preset ambush fires of force massed killsacs.

Such a remote fires/direct observation doctrine it is _very_ comms intensive when prosecuted against a mobile threat because you have to coordinate massively spatially displaced forces in movement and logistical support as well as combat evolutions while avoiding things like counterbattery efforts.

And that means talking to them, often.

If Israel failed to break into this network (until late in the war at least) directly, it was probably because they didn't generate enough operational ground momentum to gain a significant EOB sample of their own as they forced the threat to step up their response times (the faster you go, the less effective hand-carried messages and civil-networking comms becomes and the more you have to talk direct from hub nodes to keep the info pass fast enough to be timely).

Myself, I have nothing good to say about either party and only hope that we can back off spending TWO POINT FIVE BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR to own the leash by which we pretend to keep the Israeli's from finishing what they start.

Even as I realize that, in 1956, 67, 73 and 82; a draw was good enough. But we didn't completely humiliate the Arabs nor make them terrified of us coming back to finish their sorry asses as we should have.

Now, with wide spread high-tech in both irregular and main forces and 'nukes coming soon', failing to lose may not equate with winning. And when we finally realize that the last chance to defeat the threat absolutely has indeed come and gone, the Israelis will be left fighting delaying actions on several fronts (Egypt now wants nukes too) with an increasingly united Arab world which doesn't fear their own strategic forces because they know now to use front agencies whose own WMD can 'come from anywhere'.

And they sit on all that oil.

The moment this becomes real as more than a UN beggared advantage. The moment infowarfare dominance translates into Contempt Of Engagement mass casualties. Our 'special relationship' with this pissant city state will become a serious liability and it will be too late to cut and run without the Arabs automatically assuming that because we DIDN'T respond 'to defend poor Israel's honor', we no longer can.

And when they see THAT happening, they will next set their sights on us. Because that's what predators do.


Posted by: KPl. at September 22, 2006 08:41 AM

Anything that can be made, can be defeated. The bad guys have had the technology for a long time to defeat frequency hopping. Heck, the sincgars have been fielded for a long time. The Israelis greatest weapon, that prior to this conflict had always been primary, was violence of force and action. They, like US, now hold back. This PC way of doing the business of war, gets people killed, and fails in the completion of the mission. the Mission of the military, of any people, is to exert force in order to achieve the political goals. The Isreaelis failed here, and we should certainly take note of it.

Posted by: Dave at September 22, 2006 07:55 AM

I just caught the tail end of this conversation but I thought I would add my little comments. Nukes are fun (I like nukes alot) but unecessary, they were invented a long time before precision weapons and in the spirit of mass warfare where the objective was to destroy everything on the other side. We can just surgically dismantle the Iranian military with special ops and precision standoff weapons if needed. The only real difficulty (besides political) is entering and occupying in full force as we see in Iraq/Afghanistan. If we can get to the point that we are willing to turn a country into powder then a full out "surgical" war would be much easier to authorize. Nukes are nothing more than a deterent these days. It would be nice if there was more technical discussion from knowledgable people than the knee-jerk reactions of "nuke 'em"

Posted by: John at September 22, 2006 07:54 AM

If you ever thought the bad guy's wouldn't get any smarter you were sadly misataken. Any battlefield is a test bed for new technologies and tactics. The bad guy's get equipment the same way we do, they ask for it or buy it. There are plenty of countries selling equipment to the buyer. Even our equipment winds up on the other side. This is nothing new and the bad guy's are just as good as we are at putting 2 and 2 together. The Russions are still fielding new equipment to the bad guy's because they need money and we are still thier enemy. Puton was KGB for Christ sake. And we always make the same mistake helping our future enemies. The day we think of the bad guy's as smart as we are the better prepared we will be to fight them and fight them on our terms. We can fight any war and win, but we have to be willing to fight it not be passive aggressive. Our troops are trained to fight and win not occupy coutries while were still fighting the battles. The occupation and rebuilding comes later. Enough said.

Posted by: Jake at September 22, 2006 07:43 AM

I think it's crazy the way all these people are acting toward other religions in general.
I mean seriously, I understand a muslim is supposed to pray in a mosque 5 times a day .
Then when do they find the time to blow people up, wage Jihad, and make a living for their families too ? Think about it. Work by 8 am Then to sneak out and plant this IDE, (I stayed up all night making), at breaktime, on my way to the mosque for morning prayer, then back to work by 9:30. Work till noon. Then go buy bomb materials on my way back to the mosque again (Pray) Lunch, Then back to work by 1:30. Recruit suicide bombers at 2 pm , showem around tell them about the 40 Virgins, sign last will and testament. Then back to work till 3:30. then time to spread some hatred (highly charged sermon )at the afternoon prayer. OOPS time to pick the kids up, drop off the dry cleaning, and back to prayer again. Knock off early and listen for them dumb Americans and the fireworks? then an evening gloating session at the last prayer session ? At least the Isrealis aren't Rocketing civilians, in between prayers.

Posted by: Roger at September 22, 2006 07:34 AM

Meanwhile back at commo failure ... would/could it have something to do with having to pinpoint and "amssive" amounts of radio and/or cellphone traffic in a very (relatively speaking) zone? ... if you only have to triangulate where a lot of "noise" is coming from and know it's in a two-10 mile area, seems like it'd be a snap ...

Doesn't explain everything, but I like the cellphone interception better than the freq-hop/encrypted breaking scenario ...

My understanding is the majority of the IDF wasn't of as high a caliber as they'd once been known to be ... (has to be the old "no war, screw the military budget" in action once again )...

Posted by: Gary Joyce at September 22, 2006 07:18 AM

Wow! Could the same be taking place with our units in Iraq and Afghanistan? As there is two sides to each war and elimination of a family; If Iran wants a nuke and we need to rid our bunkers of some old ones why not give them one of ours in the middle of Tehran. The Nay Sayers always use the argument of needing some one to negotiate surrender, why? That is to spare their hide in case the tide is turned, they hit our Pentagon wipe all those dancing fools of the face of the earth.

Posted by: Bill Gordon L. Stafford at September 22, 2006 06:41 AM

Sounds like little Miss Matthew, the high school graduate that's never been in combat or likely even on the ground in a foreign country needs to learn to speak without the profanity. It speaks profoundly of his lack of class and poor taste. Judging from his website, he's quite the little man. Why not nuke the Palestinians? I can't think of a better place to start. Then we go after Iran, then Pakistan (for aiding and abetting criminals (Taliban and Al Quaida). I'm sure that most of the towel head countries will weigh into this before it's over. They've always wanted something that someone else has, only to destroy it with their lack of intelligence and foolish, 5th century ways. It's time to come out of the dark ages and join humanity and do what's best for the world, not just yourselves.

Muhtahhar, you need to shut your little Pig mouth. You forget who has a country and who doesn't, and that the Palestinians didn't want any part of Israel until they made it work, both with agriculture and business. The towel heads (and Nation of Islam) have a long-standing history of terrorism and taking things from defenseless children. Let us know where you live, you little twerp, and maybe we can send a "team" there to put you out of OUR misery!

Posted by: Pete at September 22, 2006 06:27 AM

Allow the HIGH COMMAND--to decide WHOM,WHERE & WHEN--->>>then, eradicate Lebanon, Syria, Iran[any others who abet aforementioned Countries]. There are TWO sides in any war>>be it feuding families in GA.;TN.;KY;ALA>>Mountains, OR WORLD-WIDE--MAKES no difference--!!! Eliminate either party--AND no more WAR---!!! END my soapbox speech for today---acer28

Posted by: lawrence stanley,sr. at September 22, 2006 06:09 AM

This is quite a surprise. Sounds like the Israeli's messed up and didn't encrypt or "turn on" the freq hopping. Hez and Iran.

How do you guys feel about the dynamic duo with a nuke?

This again supports what I've thought all along. We are at war with Iran. The world just doesn't know it yet. We are in Iraq and Afganistan to watch Iran. Watch what happens when they get to the final stages of manufacturing a nuke. I'd say the show will start in the next two years. Iran is about to go back to the stone age.

Posted by: D. Ken at September 22, 2006 05:48 AM

Great how this started talking about the radios and ended up with some twat saying Israel should nuke THE WRONG COUNTRY! mean oh my CHRIST! If Israel nuked Palestine I'm quite sure Iran and all the other Arab countries would lead a joint assult..... and for once America wouldn't back them up (Israel)

Mutahhar I hope you are referring to Hez but thou To be honest both sides have just been killing what ever they can.... Israel cannot complain while they arty civilian districts.... I don't care how many Hezis there are it don't give you a valid reason to destroy civilian structures and civilians!

The whole Middle-east would have to be vaporised in order for any order to be brought to it.... i don't see that happening anytime soon when you have the evangelical Christians looking toward the armageheddon...... (if you actually know anything about this then good.... if you don't.... then STFU and spend a few on google)

Posted by: Matthew at September 22, 2006 05:13 AM

i am just impressed by the technology the discipline and the smart tactics hezballah follows, so much for the modern world to rethink the capabilities of their enemmies. arabs started aiming their weapons and firing single shots. following the one shot one kill doctrine... i'm a lebanese and i'm agaisnt hezballah but still i'm impressed by their success on the battlefield from a military point of view.

Posted by: Ralph at September 22, 2006 05:10 AM

Isreali`s need to nuke the palistinians , that`s the CURE, for terrorism!

Posted by: lionel ripepe at September 22, 2006 04:56 AM

Uh, Muttahahhr, It wasn't the Israelis that hacked the radios, it was the baby killers who did it. The ones that kill women and children in the name of their pig prophet.

Posted by: John at September 22, 2006 04:29 AM

Keep in mind that most medivac calls are usually made in the clear by any means available. Not to mention all the radio units that have been Lost/not accounted for in the last 3 years in IRAQ. Its always easier to gather intel then to guard it. Their not stupid just stubborn and narrow minded.And reservists are often way more experienced and up to date “Tech contractors? than the younger real war fighters. And look on Ebay you think Iran and Hezb haven'T

Posted by: rgrg at September 22, 2006 04:11 AM

It is good that the good guys were able to hack into bad guys radio and defend their children and them selves from the baby and children killers. They should continue to work hard to outbeat the bad guys technology and establish peace.

Posted by: Mutahhar at September 22, 2006 04:08 AM

Having worked in the private sector reverse engineering "toys" it is a strong possibility the bad guys have to goods to accomplish the goal.

Unfortunately anything is possible with today's black market filled with former Soviet hardware, it is all just a matter of money!

Posted by: Blitzer at September 22, 2006 03:26 AM

Seems that HELLBIZAR aren't the only ones to be able to listen and possibility to substitute battlefield orders! You would think that NSA or someone (HOPI TALKERS)could really play some good miknd games with these A-holes, remember, the ones you think are stupid can really sting ya. Question I have, We had a listening post that tracked Arams from China to Iran , This was given up by one of our own, he sold out, Chi-com dropped that and we are in the dark agin for awhile, Why did this idiot get only 4 MONTHS IN FED PRISON????

Posted by: Lewis Melton at September 22, 2006 02:30 AM

>>This is downright shocking, if true. "Hezbollah guerrillas were able to hack into Israeli radio communications during last month's battles in south Lebanon, an intelligence breakthrough that helped them thwart Israeli tank assaults," Newsday reports.<<

A professional military knows or should know that its communications and electronic emissions may be detected, exploited or interfered with. So it is not even shocking, but unsurprising Hezbollah should have been able to detect the presence of frequency hopping emitters -- which no one but Israel was using in South Lebanon -- whenever Israeli units were close. A "no brainer," in fact.

Assuming an incompetent enemy is a good way to get dead.


Posted by: Cortland at September 22, 2006 01:54 AM

well actually getting information to the frontline troopers is easy if you dont have a brigade, battalion, and company staff to go through, they cut a lot of the BS out. If they operate in a cellular structure, all info goes to one guy, and he calls the guys fighting, he doesnt have to get approval from his S2, XO, S3, PAO, and CSM. It also doesn't have to be put into a computer. I play OPFOR all the time as company sized force, and i get way better intel than when i play as a good guy

Posted by: Romell Ward at September 21, 2006 01:32 AM

Hmmm, Compromised Havequick? What?

Posted by: Roger Smith at September 20, 2006 07:17 PM

Consider for a moment all the problems American ground forces have had with getting "hot" intelligence to the front-line shooters in time for it to be of any use.

I don't care how much pre-laid fiber optic cable Hezbollah had between its bunkers with sig-int gear. The problem of getting useful intel to the line troopers in time remains the real obsticle.

I don't see Hezbollah as having solved that issue before fighting the IDF in full-scale war for the first time. While at the same time the combat experiance three years of fighting in Iraq hasn't gotten the issue dealt with inside the American military.

This has the feel of technobabble and sensationalist disinformation.

Posted by: Trent Telenko at September 20, 2006 05:07 PM

It obviously to the IDF a while to figure out what was going on, a few good counterintel ops could have had them leading the Hezs into ambushes.

Ath the dn of the day, this is no longer a surprise.

Posted by: Neo at September 20, 2006 03:27 PM

ad tamir et al.
Yeah right , next you'll want us to believe that the israelis invented the f-16, the nuclear submarine and the icbm and the u.s. is merely an end users. Tadiran telecomm , the outfit owned by ron bregman, gifford ltd and africa-israel communications doesn't provide the u.s. military with squat unless their is a lucrative contract for kosher toilet paper that's black budgeted. Tadiran is a company trying to break into the IP telephony industry, it's main prospects seems to be hawking u.s. tech, restricted u.s. tech, in places like russia, china and india. Don't take my word for it, match up their product and services list with where their main slaes offices are located . This is not rocket science.

If you're interested in the where SINCGAR's comes from, it's an american outfit known as ITT, it's a vast u.s. defense contractor that supplies most of the commo gear for nato and most u.s. allies, such as israel. Yes next time you run across any commo equipment in the u.s. oriented world , check the back, 80% of the time it'll have a stamp that says ITTT, the rest of the time it'll say general dynamics, and about 0% of the time it'll say tadiran.

Posted by: Azrael at September 20, 2006 09:52 AM

Israel used a lot of reservists in this offensive. I think there's your answer right there. They don't have to crack Israel's best communications - they have to crack their worst.

So Joe Reservist calls his wife and lets a little information slip. With 20,000 Joe Reservists doing the same thing, a lot of info can be passed.

Reservists would also probably be more likely to make mistakes operating encoded radio transmissions - especially given the very sudden and short-lived nature of the conflict.

Posted by: Brian at September 20, 2006 09:49 AM

Secondly, creating a "spread-sprectrum sniffer" would not that that big a challenge to put together. I think that would be perfectly reasonable for a country with Iran's technical capability.

However, I think it would be fairly limited, as you would have to contend with a ton of overlapping spread-spectrum transmissions happening at the same time. To get past that, you'd have to tighten up signal discrimination - which means you'd have to get within pretty close range of the radios to have any real effectiveness.

Posted by: Eric at September 20, 2006 09:35 AM

It would be really interesting to know what voice encryption that Israel is using with their SINCGARS sets. If they are using U.S. based KY-99s, then I would have a hard time believing that Hez/Iran cracked it. Those sets are fully digital using proprietary compression algorithms and encryption algorithms. With a 256 bit key, it would take a supercomputer months to years crack.

Considering that commsec rules for US forces commonly rely on the encryption keys getting updated daily (or at a bare minimum bi-weekly), this would be a non-issue for our guys.

My guess was that Israeli soldiers broke commsec and send comms out in the clear (just turn one knob on the box and you can do it). I seriously doubt Hez or Iran have the capability to crack fully encrypted data.

Posted by: Eric at September 20, 2006 06:38 AM

Israel never used SINCGARS technology, but supplied some SINCGARS sets to US forces. A subsidiary of Tadiran Communications, an Israeli company has been supplying SINCGARS sets to US forces for years. The Israelis have their own COMSEC, both for combat net radios (CNR) and military cellular (mountain rose). Breaking into these systems is unrealistic, at least during the relatively shortduration of the conflict. However, Hezbollah are known to have the capability and practice of hacking into wireless network operated along the northern border, as well as into commercial cellphone networks, where they could monitor communications betwen soldiers. Although soldiers were not allowed to use cellphones when they entered Lebanon, much information could have been gathered prior to incursions, and among users who were not directly involved in the fighting.

Posted by: Tamir at September 20, 2006 04:51 AM


Posted by: DRM at September 20, 2006 03:07 AM

The idf begs, borrows and steals u.s. tech. All the talk about israeli designs is usually a code word for some idea that never took off in the states and got handed to the israelis in it's primary stages for completion with u.s. funds and often the heavy contiuning involvement of u.s. defense contractors. Think, the thel laser, arrow missile, saar 5 corvettes, lavi fighter bomber, etc...
For the record the idf uses SINCGARS straight outa the box. Now it's very hard to jam because you need to put out noise on ~2000+ frequencies about 60% of the time, but it's not too hard too listen into the same number of frequencies and reconstruct the main stream. Then all thats left is to decrypt the data/voices stream which at 16kbs and the need to keep things in real time as much as possible means that only the key is truly encrypted, the rest of the message uses the supposedly safe key to be in turn lightly encrypted. Now here's the magic , if you're under the stress of battle , or simply incompetent you may forget to keep updating the fully encrypted key often enough to keep the op-for, who probably use networked computers in more than one country running at max from breaking your commo-sec and reading your mail.


Posted by: Azrael at September 20, 2006 02:46 AM

I have to wonder whether they actually decrypted anything. Given the equipment and log issues I've heard the IDF ground units had, did they actually have the key distribution and similar set up to go to secure mode? Even the old KY-57 should still be unbreakable in anything short of geological time if you properly generate and distribute keys and prevent exploitation of anything captured.

Posted by: Kevin at September 19, 2006 10:33 PM

GNU Radio.

How many Python coders does Hezbollah have?

Posted by: DRM at September 19, 2006 07:27 PM

I know some stuff about SINCGARs and ELINT exploitation, but not much about how the IDF deploys its comm gear and conducts COMSEC.

First of all, triangulating a radio source isn't rocket science even when tracking sophisticated transmitters. As David Axe mentioned in his serial piece on the F-22, signal strength can give your position away no matter how well you scatter its content across frequencies.

Second, who is to say that Hezbollah wasn't exploiting IDF communications before the war began? If I were them, I would have set up listening posts near the boarder the moment they moved back to the blue line a few years ago. The increasing power of consumer electronics have made decryption a matter of when not if for someone determined to crack COMSEC practices.

I will concede that money from Iran and other sponsors was undoubtedly critical for purchasing the kind of kit Hezbollah needed to crack the IDF's security practices. We should remember that Lebanon is a fairly wealthy and well educated country when compared to the rest of the Middle East. As such, Hezbollah probably counts plenty of engineers and electricians among its membership.

They're not dumb, they're just a bit on the poor side.

Posted by: Robot Economist at September 19, 2006 07:02 PM

One comment: You don't need to decrypt the traffic to get a huge amount of information:

Just some high speed triangulation of spread-spectrum sources (which actually, the spread-spectrum nature probably helps, just a bunch of antennas looking at ONE frequency with high-precision timing, and take advantage that it "hops on, hops off" cleanly to get start-end time for each signal source) can give you a huge amount of information as to where the communicating enemy is.

Likewise, just the presence and tone of cellphone conversations probably leaks a huge amount of information.

Posted by: Nicholas Weaver at September 19, 2006 04:07 PM

No it wasn't just cell phones, but hizb-for didn't achieve 24/7 look in on idf commo traffic. They did however intercept and equally importantly analyze enough of the data and voice streams to mount several spectacular tank ambushes. Apparently someone's been training hizb-for to understand heeb-talk and more importantly to understand idf-lingo and procedures. Wonder if their trainers understand english as well? Welcome to 4th generation warfare, where even the runts can poke out your eyes and leave for dead.

Posted by: Azrael at September 19, 2006 02:50 PM

This remidns me of the 1973 War. I read that the Egyptians managed to either capture maps or RDF Israeli units and attack them with artillery fire.

Posted by: George Larson at September 19, 2006 02:49 PM

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