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Blog Editor’s Note: Interesting report from Black Hat Europe.  While this is the first media report we have seen of a low frequency time signal being spoofed/hacked, it is not surprising. Open systems and signals are vulnerable. Period.

Next gen time signals – terrestrial or satellite, LF, VHF, UHF, or fiber, must be protected and authenticated. 

Multiple diverse methods of delivery, resistance to spoofing and cybersecurity are key evaluation criteria in our October 2021 white paper “A Resilient National Timing Architecture – Now for an RFP!

The technology is available. We can’t imagine anyone would build any other way.



What Happens If Time Gets Hacked

Renowned hardware security expert raises alarm on the risk and dangers of cyberattackers targeting the current time-synchronization infrastructure.

BLACK HAT EUROPE 2021 – London – Most people take time synchronization for granted, but it operates on what hardware security expert Adam Laurie calls a “fragile ecosystem.” Laurie, a renowned hardware hacker, here today demonstrated an unnervingly simple way to alter time on a clock.

“I was curious if I could spoof the time” synchronization signal, he explained in a keynote on his research. So he built his own simulated time-signal system using an open source tool called txtempus, which simulates signals for syncing the time on clocks and watches, and ran it on Raspberry Pi outfitted with a radio-frequency identification (RFID) antenna.

Laurie’s contraption overrode the UK region’s official low-frequency, radio broadcast-based clock synchronization signal.