Feeds

S African rhino rustlers tackled using satellite horn implants

Lojacker parkies resist Chinese jig-jig peddlers

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Rhinos in South Africa have been fitted with tracker bugs implanted in their horns, in an attempt by game wardens to frustrate poachers. Powdered rhino horn is much in demand in the Far East, where it is considered an aid to a gentleman's boudoir prowess.

The BBC reports that five rhinos residing in the Mafikeng Game Reserve in South Africa's Northwest province have been lojacked thus far. The tracking devices, like most of their type, use GPS satnav location and pass data to game wardens via mobile-phone masts.

However, unlike typical systems attached to dangerous yet potentially lucrative wild animals - for instance these, fastened to ocean-going crocodiles by the late reptile-bothering stingray heart-prong tragedy celeb Steve Irwin - the perissodactyl monitoring kit is internally mounted.

Reportedly the electronics are fitted by "drilling a small hole" in the inert dead bit of the prized horn.

"There are a number of alarms that can be programmed: one for excessive movement, so if the rhino starts running, and another that goes off if the rhino sleeps for longer than six hours, which is abnormal," rhino-minder parkie Rusty Hustler told the Beeb.

It seems that it's also possible to set up a "virtual fence" type setup which will alert Hustler and his colleagues should one of their horny charges stray outside the park - or allow pursuit of crooks fleeing with ill-gotten horns.

Of course, murderous hornsnatcher rhino rustlers would need to be rather lacking in tech-savvy - certainly following the BBC report - not to immediately wrap their booty in tinfoil or place it in a metallic container. Wardens would still know that something was amiss due to the cessation of signals from the devices, but would be unable to track the aphrodisiac-peddling malefactors as they fled the scene.

That said, Hustler and his fellow rhino-minders apparently have a fast-responding "reaction" squad able to deploy at speed the instant they get an alert. This no-doubt heavily armed parkie SWAT team might well overtake fleeing perissodactyl poachers even if they had disabled their bugged swag somehow.

Truly savvy villains might choose instead to spoof the bugs' GPS systems by generating fake satellite signals from a commercial simulator unit - though there are ways for a competent bug designer to counter such meddling.

According to the Beeb, Hustler and his fellow parkies intend to chip up many more of their animal chums in coming months. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.