GPS Cyberattacks: Risk of hackers manipulating GPS in planes, ships and cars is real

gps cyberattacks

SOURCE: Bruce Sussman, KATU News and Staff

The risk of hackers manipulating GPS in planes, ships and cars is real, and it has already happened.

There are at least two types of GPS cyberattacks being seen. One type fools your GPS with a fake location signal, and another type of attack blocks that GPS entirely.

Kris Rosenberg monitors cyberattacks in real-time around the world at the Oregon Defense Center in Wilsonville. As he tracked a day’s threats, he told KATU what could happen when a GPS signal is spoofed, which hackers have already done.

“If you suddenly thought you were five miles offshore but instead you were headed directly toward the shore, you could have a lot of accidents,” he said. “Airplanes that are flying on autopilot could be re-directed to where there wasn’t an airport, for example.”

Western TV reporters in Russia saw this spoofing on their phones. When they were near the Kremlin, their phones showed them as being several miles away.

In flight or at sea, that shift could be dangerous.

And there’s a second kind of GPS attack.

“The most likely is jamming of GPS signals,” said Rosenberg. “GPS signals are very weak. They are coming from satellites in space, so they’re not actually very strong radio signals that are coming down to our GPS detector devices that we’re doing the positioning with.”

That could impact soldiers on the battlefield who need exact locations, first responders trying to find an emergency, and every type of transportation, like self-driving cars.

There are 545,000 network intrusion attempts made by hackers every minute, and 140,000 malware programs defeated each minute around the world.



Learn how the ‘BlueSky GPS Firewall’ can protect your network from GPS cyberattacks here.

BlueSky GPS Firewall from Microsemi (video)

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