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Issue #37: The Hack that Nearly Hammered Amateur Radio

Discussion in 'Trials and Errors - Ham Life with an Amateur' started by W7DGJ, Apr 11, 2024.

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  1. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is the discussion forum for the interview with Michelle Thompson and the story of the xz vulnerability hack. It would be great if you could jump in with a comment or question for Michelle, or even add some further thoughts on how we might eliminate this bad culture from Amateur Radio. Have you experienced this kind of thing yourself, perhaps as a volunteer on a development project? Add your story to the growing evidence that Amateur Radio has its fair share of bullies and a huge aversion to change. Thanks, Dave W7DGJ
  2. KE2CHV

    KE2CHV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thx for a great article!
    - KE2CHV
    W7DGJ likes this.
  3. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Found this and the rest of the information associated with it to be very interesting...

    "One example I can give would be the negative effects on amateur radio that stem from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC). ARDC converted a community asset set aside for amateur radio -- Internet IP addresses -- into a very large, privately controlled fund."

    "Instead, they bullied, interfered with, and harmed those projects. Multiple members of the ARDC board have threatened individuals with being 'cut off' from any future funding for perceived slights, insults or defects."

    If you decide to read the interview, you can draw your own conclusions.
    KD2QQF and W7DGJ like this.
  4. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wow, she dishes out some dirt on ARDC! All true, as far as I know.

    ORI was working on some radios for MEO and GEO satellites, because AMSAT has become so disfunctional. I wonder how that's going.
    W7DGJ likes this.
  5. WD4IGX

    WD4IGX Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    "We have met the enemy and they are ours." Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, September 10, 1813
    W0ML, W5NYV and W7DGJ like this.
  6. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank you Michael -- it was a scary topic but fun to write about. Michelle was great, Dave W7DGJ
    W5NYV and KE2CHV like this.
  7. K2HAT

    K2HAT Premium Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Volunteer DX Helper QRZ Page

    I have read the article and do not understand most of it, especially what does linux have to do with me.
    I use windoze 10 on my computers.
    KZ1O, W7DGJ and (deleted member) like this.
  8. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Lee - Make sure you read the referenced article in the last para as well . . . Yes, it's fairly technical, but it's about the structure of the Internet. Your computer hooks up to the net, through the software that is in use there. It's Linux based. The malevolent software that we described here (in a story which is really more about the culture of "open source" and how it can be corrupted) would have affected you for sure, even with Windows 10. You download and install software from the net, right? You'd be using compression software to do that (and this would be hacked and sneaking in malicious code to YOUR computer.) You also make phone calls, right? Well, all telecom runs on the software that would have been affected here as well!

    There are a zillion Linux based computers between you and your ham life. Let's hope we don't get to see what would have occurred here. If it was a "State actor" and an enemy, they could pull that switch and have daily life in complete chaos an hour later. I hope Michelle stops in here and offers some other points to consider, Dave W7DGJ
    KE2CHV, AC0GT and K2HAT like this.
  9. KT4PH

    KT4PH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Very good article Dave, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not a YT video, I have nothing against YT, but living in the sticks with only limited internet connectivity, I try and avoid it when I can! Thanks again.

    AD5HR, W0PV, KE2CHV and 1 other person like this.
  10. K2HAT

    K2HAT Premium Subscriber Volunteer Moderator Volunteer DX Helper QRZ Page

    Thanks for the additional information!!
    W7DGJ likes this.
  11. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi John, thanks . . . I am burned out on YT videos personally!
    W0PV, KE2CHV and N3EG like this.
  12. KF7WIS

    KF7WIS QRZ CEO QRZ HQ Staff Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    This article, though extremely technical, may have been your most interesting yet, Dave. I learned some things about the underlying infrastructure of Ham radio from Michelle's comments. As someone who is deeply dependent on an internet resource, I have been following the stories about the XZ vulnerability and the actions of "Jia Tan." It's a somewhat terrifying case study. I hadn't thought as deeply about the implications of Open Source development for our hobby specifically. Thanks for drawing attention to such a pertinent and timely subject!
    W5NYV, KE2CHV, W7DGJ and 1 other person like this.
  13. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Michelle 's opinion on ARDC is interesting. Usually the 'villain' in these issues of control are the commercial interests or individuals. And, of course, the Patent Office. And yet here we have, shall we say, a disagreement over open source and its control--and that's what its all about-- of ham radio.

    What that says is whether the motivation is free markets or open source, people have the undeniable ability to screw things up,IMO. Its no better with 'team' judgement than with an individual.

    Phil KA9Q has a strong opinion on how things should be done but I have never questions his motivation. We have very different views but I respect his vision. He, for example, finds the patent office foolish and hedged to big players. I, for example, find it broken and of limited ability as enablement of innovation.

    Moving ahead we see, what seems to me, is a very different vision.

    I have a sense that the ham radio we have today will become digital, machine to machine, cognitive, and with very little in way of HF allocations. FT8 showed the way. For many that will be selling 'us' down the river, with someone forcing us to be digital and spectrally 'efficient'. Trends become a new, restricting, reality. We shall find that legacy modes are essential to Part 97's mission but are not executable with the effectiveness they had for almost 100 years.

    These trends are not in themselves the whole of Part 97 and likely 80 percent or more of the presently active hams will essentially be obsolete.
    W7DGJ likes this.
  14. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page


    Watch what happens in the next couple of years ..ARDC, IMO, is becoming far more than a dole-er of money for open source, and the ARRL is becoming less relevant to Part 97 by virtue of not sufficiently representing the Part 97 licensees as a whole, and putting too much emphasis on its view of the 'fun'ness of Part 97.

    'Fun' doesn't sell to the US government. And initiatives which translate to 'spectral efficiency' will be ripe for desire for future re-allocation of extant Part 97 spectrum US and worldwide.
    W7DGJ likes this.
  15. W7DGJ

    W7DGJ Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Chip, thanks for your comments today. I wonder, there's a pretty fine line here, between "too much" emphasis on the Fun-ness of amateur radio and the other side of the coin, the utility we provide. You need the "Fun-ness" side to sell new users on the amateur radio services and yet, as you say, Government couldn't care less about the hobby aspects of radio. How is any organization going to represent all of the above. as what you are seeming to suggest about the ARRL? Dave, W7DGJ

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