Crosstown Traffic: KB6NU explaines why the first hacker in history was an amateur radio operator

My friend Dan KB6NU posted this supporting evidence that he found on the Royal Institution website that a radio amateur was one of the first hackers to successfully hack a “secure” radio system:

I’ve often maintained that amateur radio operators were the first hackers. Now, I have some supporting evidence.

As reported in this post on the Royal Institution website, a public demonstration of Marconi’s wireless communication system, aka radio, was hacked by a British magician. Apparently, Marconi was touting his system as not only being able to send messages over long distances, but as also being secure. Well, now we know that radio transmissions are anything but secure, but they didn’t know that back in 1903.

So, when a public demonstration was set up at Great Britain’s Royal Institution, a British magician and inventor, Nevil Maskelyne, was hired to “hack” into the demo. Before Marconi could send his message from his Cornwall station to the receiving station set up at the Royal Institution, Maskelyne sent the message, “RATS RATS RATS from his transmitting station, presumably somewhere near the Royal Institution. This was picked up by the receiving station, thereby demonstrating that Marconi’s wireless system was anything but secure.

Thanks for that interesting post Dan!

 

(Published from 30,000 feet over the southeast corner of Oklahoma)

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