Thursday 2 November 2006

IP over DAB Digital Radio

Speaking of DAB digital radio, Symantec's Ollie Whitehouse alerts us to the standard for tunneling IP over DAB, ETSI ES 201 735 [PDF]. This sounds extremely cool for broadcast or multicast data to inexpensive devices.

Looks like the HTC Monet uses this, not DVB-H (handheld DVB) to show TV. Virgin Mobile UK is branding it as the Lobster. El Reg has an interesting review.

Ollie is worried about the security aspects though:

Looking at this from a 30,000 ft viewpoint, a number of different and obvious attack surfaces appear to exist:
• The DAB protocol stack
• The IP stack
• Media codecs

Then, your mind starts to work:
• I wonder if they firewall the DAB connection on the device?
• Can I spoof content? If so, how hard is it to attack the media codec with this spoofed content?
• Is it possible to leverage that old IP stack DoS and take out every DAB-IP enabled mobile/cell phone in a 10-mile radius?

You end up with a situation where you could conceivably "broadcast" exploits to a geographic area if you were able to successfully attack any of the attack surfaces outlined above. It makes you think, doesn't it?
Update: also noted at...

Monday 30 October 2006

Woo and Yay for the BBC and the TV "Tax"

Snigger: UNEASYsilence discovers that the UK has a TV licensing regime. Way to go with the up-to-the-minute news, Dan.

Considering the quality of the programming on BBC TV and radio is consistently amongst best available, if not the best (IMHO), I’m really happy to contribute to the BBC this way. The moment “Aunty Beeb” stops giving value for money, that money’s going to be taken away from them. They know it, and the system works.

Also — “because of the unique way the BBC is funded” — the BBC has helped bring us technical leaps such as:

  • PAL colour (when the US had the awful NTSC standard)
  • 576 line TV (when the US had 480)
  • Digital stereo TV sound (when the US was doing analog)
  • RDS data over FM radio (which the US grudgingly picked up in half-hearted way recently)
  • An open DAB digital radio standard (when the US was doing closed, incompatible digital radio)
  • DVB-T digital television at no extra charge, using robust COFDM (while the US mess about with the quite dreadful 8-VSB)
  • 16:9 widescreen TV broadcasts (when the US was still bickering about HD)
The regulatory regime means that the majority of the population have access to 20-30 TV channels, free of charge, from a relatively small antenna, which doesn’t need to be rotated when you change channels. Meanwhile in the US, TV antennae are butt-ugly and often need to be pointed at several different transmitters, hence the popularity of expensive cable TV.

Detector vans are rare anyway — they’re only used to gather evidence for prosecution. If your household doesn’t have a license, you’ll be “invited” to buy one. If you don’t get one, it’s up to TV Licensing to prove that you’re breaking the law.