Crypto virus how safe is Digital broadcasting?

With IT systems crashed around the world, including the UK's National Health IT systems. How open and vulnerable is digital broadcasting to cyber attacks?

More and more radio stations have recently been pulling the plug on Shortwave, and AM broadcasting, in favour of digital. There has been a big push in the UK to get the public over to DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) or streaming radio via their mobile phones and computers. But, has the case now been made to "keep" a national simulcast AM radio system, like the BBC's Radio 4 Long Wave in the UK, along with global Shortwave radio transmissions for state broadcasting in emergency?
Steve, G1KQH, is a regular contributor to and writes from England. Contact him at [email protected].

8 Responses to “Crypto virus how safe is Digital broadcasting?”

  • Steve G0PQB:

    A perfect example for another older system to be kept going. We need to disregard the bean counters (accountants) and in the UK need to keep BBC Droitwich must be maintained.

  • Ed K7HFU:

    Abandoning shortwave broadcasting is premature. Analog is pretty robust compared to digital and cheaper is not always better.

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    3 problems with digital radio replacing analog shotwave

    1) Those who really need SW are the billions in poverty that depend on SW for news and weather… They can not afford food and can barely keep their analog radios working… How the hell are they going to be able to upgraded to digital? Most won’t
    2) When conditions are really bad and there is a lot of fading and noise (QRM/QRN) you can still pull enough out of the air to be useful… Under those conditions you looks data and total loss of signal… Going full digital is really, really stupid..
    3) Yes any and all technology that is digital can be hacked. Be it the internet, digital radio, new cars (which are becoming death traps… Driving by wire can be and I predict will be deadly)….

    So can and will radio stations and TV station be taken down? The answer is not IF but When..

  • K7AGE:

    Analog radio transmissions are very dependent upon computers. Computers are used for the automation and playout servers, audio production, remote control of analog transmitters and so on. All prone to hacking.

    It is a good idea to keep a couple of the big old analog transmitters running for backup, just in case….

  • David WB4ONA:

    This Government obsession with “Everything must be Digitized” is really all about Control: 1. Control how it is delivered, 2. control who it is delivered to, and most importantly 3. control what is being delivered. For example, look at the government-controlled education system; textbooks are being banned, handwriting is no longer being taught, and pretty soon what they teach our children will be accessible only in a closed system. The parents will be taken completely out of the loop.

  • Hans (BX2ABT):

    AM radio can also be hacked –> jamming. The telegraph used to be a robust data delivery platform, too. We moved on.

    99% of the people in this world don’t care about security. The 1% that rules us don’t act in our interest because of their self-interest. The world needs a good beating before it can get its act in order again. In the mean time I try to enjoy what is left of the radio I grew up with.

  • Chris / N2IFJ:

    I have been a broadcast Engineer for over 20+ years. Digital Broadcasting is great if you are in an area that can get the signal. If you live far out on the fringe where analog always worked, there was never any reception problem. When Broadcast stations switched to digital, those people out on the fringe could no longer receive the station signal! Broadcasters have found that they have lost approximately 15 to 20 percent of their listeners due to the switch to digital! With Digital Broadcasts and depending on where you are in relation to the transmitter tower, you either will receive the signal, or not at all! Analog was more forgiving when it comes to reception when you are out on the fringe of the Broadcast signal! Broadcasters are well aware that IP Digital Broadcast can be hacked. The Broadcast station has to make closed loop IP Broadcast network to keep hackers from taking over the Broadcast stations.

  • Boots VK3DZ:

    The reason aeronautical mobile service uses AM in the 120 MHz region is because weak stations can be heard under stronger ones so this discussion goes back to the days when FM was being introduced to mobile service. The point is that various modes and various chunks of spectrum have unique advantages and disadvantages.

    A battle is raging in Australia currently between the Sydney-centric ABC and remote area listeners previously servced by 3 domestic HF senders. The ABC wants to pander to inner city elites by expanding the coverage-deficient DAB+ network using money that would be diverted from the domestic HF operation. The 3 HF transmitters each cover > 600,000 square kilometres. The DAB+ networks struggle to cover Australia’s spawling main cities (what do you expect from a system that was designed to serve high-density European cities).

    A Senate committee is reviewing the ABCs decision and also looking at retaining Radio Australia on HF. Some interesting reading can be found in the submissions which can be found at

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