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Playlist "May Contain Hackers 2022"

Audio networks and their security implications


We will take a cursory look at the protocols that underpin audio over IP from studios to stages and on to broadcast. Focusing on AES67 the you will gain a basic understanding of what it is, how it works and how it is inherently vulnerable to attack. At a high level this talk should be accessible and entertaining to all, although to grasp the more nuanced details a rudimentary knowledge of IP networking and audio digitisation will be helpful.


In the professional audio space the heavy and expensive XLR snakes of old have largely been replaced with audio over IP. Operationally this move to audio over IP has provided many benefits, such as being able to use the same equipment for audio as they use for video and lighting rather than special sets of gear for each aspect of a production. However with the increased use of commodity IT hardware in this operational technology (OT) environment comes an increase in attack surface from more software, easier access and less segmentation. As with many places where IT components get re-purposed for OT the administration practices and development practices of the vendors haven’t necessarily caught up with the with the best practices of there IT counterparts. There are some hard problems to solve for audio over IP such as multicast encryption and authentication but also much simpler but more cultural things like updating a working system.

It is hoped that by presenting this topic to the broader community of hackers that more talented people get interested in the hard bits, and perhaps we can even reach the folks on the operational technology side to see what measures can be taken to improve the security of existing systems.