GPS systems vulnerable to hack attack

#2
I went to a lecture about this some time ago, and it has been known for many years, mainly because when the system was put up by the Americans they never in a thousand years thought that no-military users would be ever able to use it therefore they did not even bother to encript the signals, they must be kicking themselves now. A bit like when the head of British Telecom said that the mobile phone would never take off, back in the 80s
 
#3
The implications are quite concerning to say the least. Apart from the obvious defensive possibilities for any enemy with this sort of capability (steering bombs away from their targets), our C3 systems seem to rely heavily on GPS to keep the tempo of ops high. If we can't communicate and coordinate the way we're used to, it'll be like being on the receiving end of blitzkrieg all over again except that the enemy won't necessarily need massed panzer divisions to achieve the effect.

The scope for Red forces to deliberately induce Blue on Blue or collateral damage are other possibilities that spring to mind.
 
#4
smartascarrots said:
The implications are quite concerning to say the least. Apart from the obvious defensive possibilities for any enemy with this sort of capability (steering bombs away from their targets), our C3 systems seem to rely heavily on GPS to keep the tempo of ops high. If we can't communicate and coordinate the way we're used to, it'll be like being on the receiving end of blitzkrieg all over again except that the enemy won't necessarily need massed panzer divisions to achieve the effect.

The scope for Red forces to deliberately induce Blue on Blue or collateral damage are other possibilities that spring to mind.
Indeed. But the real winners here are local asymmetrical forces. They don't need GPS. They know their landscapes already. The Taliban are probably shopping at Radio Shack as I type.
GPS is so heavily embedded in c3 nowadays, that the loss would be disproportionately effective. Its not just location, its timings, and synchronisation of precision electronic systems.
Lose GPS and we are back to landline, CLANSMAN and the Mk1 Officer with a Map. Oh, and Nokias, of course.
 
F

fozzy

Guest
#5
tropper66 said:
I went to a lecture about this some time ago, and it has been known for many years, mainly because when the system was put up by the Americans they never in a thousand years thought that no-military users would be ever able to use it therefore they did not even bother to encript the signals, they must be kicking themselves now. A bit like when the head of British Telecom said that the mobile phone would never take off, back in the 80s
So Selective Availability and encrypted Gold Codes for military users, must have been for another GPS then.
 
#6
fozzy said:
tropper66 said:
I went to a lecture about this some time ago, and it has been known for many years, mainly because when the system was put up by the Americans they never in a thousand years thought that no-military users would be ever able to use it therefore they did not even bother to encript the signals, they must be kicking themselves now. A bit like when the head of British Telecom said that the mobile phone would never take off, back in the 80s
So Selective Availability and encrypted Gold Codes for military users, must have been for another GPS then.
The bloke who gave the lecture was from Lockheed Martin who at the time were building the next generation satalite, and he told us the above, now this was while I was at the University of Glamorgan about 20 years ago and at that time they were just realising the full potential of the system, and that when they had started putting up the satalites they did not take civillian use into account, they only initialy thought that they would use the system for targeting and navigation of missle carrying submarines, and so lost an enormous amount off money
 
#7
HectortheInspector said:
Apparently, for a few thousand quid, you can fool a GPS system.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8533157.stm

This could make life interesting for anyone with a map in the near future.
A few thousand quid? I might be doing myself out of a nice little earner, but the bill would be a lot cheaper if you came to me!

This has been true for a long time. It can be done easily and cheaply which is why you should never rely on a GPS receiver. However, most military GPS kit is amply protected.

Litotes
 
#8
Litotes said:
HectortheInspector said:
Apparently, for a few thousand quid, you can fool a GPS system.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8533157.stm

This could make life interesting for anyone with a map in the near future.
A few thousand quid? I might be doing myself out of a nice little earner, but the bill would be a lot cheaper if you came to me!

This has been true for a long time. It can be done easily and cheaply which is why you should never rely on a GPS receiver. However, most military GPS kit is amply protected.

Litotes
Alas, as I saw with an 'early adopter' (when he marched straight into a hole), Military GPS is usually pre-handicapped by the operator, and can really best be used to diagnose the degree of 'lost' you happen to be. Ultra tech kit in the hands of neanderthals can get you just as lost as old kit in the hands of experts. But with the added handicap of having to carry the batteries.
 
#9
If you have a think about the power of the signal being received at the GPS antenna and the design of the antenna it should not take you too long to figure out how to mitigate against simple ground mounted jamming systems. If the jammer can take to the skies it it a lot more complicated. I leave it to the reader to think what is happening to the GPS unit in a munition dropped from 10,000M above Terry's Tandy Techno jammer.

BTW: You can encrypt your message as much as you want, but if it is not being received then so what?

There are some fairly well known GPS "dark spots" around the globe where GPS just does not work which is why merchant shipping still plots courses on charts.
 
#10
You could have a lot of fun re-directing the lorrys on the M25 though
 
#11
guys theres the civy GPS and the military and there different beast, civy ones you can jam for a 5er or get you local Ham todo it, the military one is a lot harder to "spoof" with out big bucks being spent
 
#13
old_bloke said:
Any Sat can be spoofed or burnt out.

If you have the power which you cannot buy in a Tandy shop down the Old Kent road.
get with the times granddad its now maplins :)

but jamming a gps signal is a piece of pi2s so you wound'nt need to fuc! about with the sats!
 
#15
GoodIdeaAtTheTime said:
There are some fairly well known GPS "dark spots" around the globe where GPS just does not work which is why merchant shipping still plots courses on charts.
[pedant mode] All shipping plots courses on charts. The trick is knowing where you are relative to your planned track. Which is why visual fixing, radar, astro-navigation and other radio navaids are still in use, albeit to varying degrees. [/pedant mode]
 
#16
I'm sure someone will know the name of it but for at least 10 years MoD has been running an "Anti jamming GPS" programme. The article could easily be a direct lift from what we were taught 15 years ago.
 
#17
Interesting but all irrelevant! Everything will be buggered when North Korea starts lobbing nukes about! :cry:
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#18
I was relieved the other day to read that the RN is still teaching astro. I just hope it is still remembering to wind the chronometer. If GPS goes tits up than perhaps I will get a good price for my copy of the Admiralty Manual Of Navigation Vol.2. Pity about the overcast sky though.
 
#19
Because I don’t really understand wiggly amps this sort of story always makes me struggle to understand what it is telling me and should I lie awake tonight.

The idea of navigation warfare (NAVWAR) has been around for yonks and doubtless MBEs have been awarded for the production of turgid conceptual papers on the subject. Ground based jamming of GPS has likewise been around for ages. There was a DERA scientist who was famously prone to wave about a GPS jammer built into a matchbox in order to emphasise what was possible. The FSU used to (and doubtless still does) offer for sale a shoebox sized one designed to be part of a GPS jamming barrage – I can remember the question of who had bought these being a headache for some people at various points. These things are well understood and, you would hope, factored into the plans of those who plan.

‘Spoofing’ is surely a different matter. You shouldn’t be able to spoof an encrypted signal, should you? So perhaps not much of a problem for serious military users? I suppose you could disrupt/degrade the encrypted signal to the point that the military then had to rely on civilian GPS – and you could then spoof that. Then what do you want the spoofing to do – I mean if you’ve got a GPS weapon inbound, do you simply want it not to hit the intended aim point or do you want it to hit a point you specify? I know from the article there’s been a trial that made things appear where they were not – but I’ve seen a few trials of wonderous technology that didn’t quite work as intended in the real world. One problem is that these things are always assumed to be used in a sterile environment with no requirement to coordinate/deconflict their use with other activity and a total absence of ‘friction’ – reality often spoils the aspiration.

As for whacking the birds with RF. I guess you would actually have to be able to disrupt a number of birds simultaneously in order to really degrade GPS, or to attack a number sequentially if you were able to permanently disable them. I think you might be rather obvious and inviting a robust response.

So I’m going to sleep well tonight, unless some conehead now proves we all doomed.

C_C
 
#20
Charm_City said:
...As for whacking the birds with RF. I guess you would actually have to be able to disrupt a number of birds simultaneously in order to really degrade GPS, or to attack a number sequentially if you were able to permanently disable them. I think you might be rather obvious and inviting a robust response.

So I’m going to sleep well tonight, unless some conehead now proves we all doomed.

C_C
The sun is waking up after a long and relatively quiet period (very few sunspots). A really powerful mass corona ejection could easily wipe out all the satellites on the day side of the Earth.

The US has 27 GPS satellites in orbit of which 24 are in use and 3 on standby. There will be more on the ground but they will take time to prepare and launch.

Could the world still operate with half the GPS? I would guess that the answer is "yes" because the US would reposition the birds to improve the coverage, and you only need 3 good signals for a fix, but it would be interesting!

Now, there is nothing to worry you here.... and sleep.....

Litotes
 
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