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Researchers Find Crippling Flaws In Global GPS 179

mask.of.sanity writes "Researchers have developed attacks capable of crippling Global Positioning System infrastructure critical to the navigation of a host of military and civilian technologies including planes, ships and unamed drones. The novel remote attacks can be made against consumer and professional-grade receivers using $2500 worth of custom-built equipment. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Coherent Navigation detailed the attacks in a paper. (pdf)"
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Researchers Find Crippling Flaws In Global GPS

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  • Well, duh. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @10:07PM (#42238411)

    This isn't news. The GPS signal is very, very weak. It's actually right at the noise floor and using some rather ingenious encoding to resolve the signal. The signal itself is fully-documented for consumer equipment. Given the weak signal strength and the protocol having no encryption or validation to speak of, of course jamming is possible; Receiver selectivity dictates it'll lock on to the strongest signal, the root square law dictates that just about any terrestrial source with line of sight will be stronger than the one in space. The only problem to work out then is processing; You have to figure out where the receiver is now, and then figure out where you want it to be, and adjust all the signals it could receive from the GPS satellites simultaniously to cause it to (falsely) lock on to the new position. And considering that the timing needs to be in fractions of a millisecond to have any value at all, you need to be very exact.

    Most of the equipment is dedicated to computing what the signal needs to be.... the actual transmitter is dirt cheap.

  • Re:Well, duh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tylerni7 ( 944579 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @10:30PM (#42238557) Homepage
    I don't think you looked at the paper really. GPS spoofing and jamming are nothing new (as is mentioned in the paper). The new aspect is that there are software attacks that can be done on the receivers. For example, one of the divide by zero errors will cause a denial of service attack on some receivers. This is vastly different from jamming, because the DoS continues even after the transmitter is shut off. Jamming would obviously stop as soon as the transmitter is turned off. That is the new, exciting, and dangerous part of all this.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 09, 2012 @10:42PM (#42238639)

    Up until about 3 years ago we in North America had another electronic navigation system in-place and operational: LORAN C.

    The loran system -though not as precise as GPS- was in many respects much more difficult to jam. Upgrades were planned that would have improved the loran system; instead, in a spectacular case of "penny wise-pound foolish" the sysetm was turned off, and its infrastructure (think 'some of the tallest antenna masts ever built' ) quickly dismantled/destroyed. []
    From Wikipedia:
    "In November 2009, the U.S. Coast Guard announced that the LORAN-C stations under its control would be closed down for budgetary reasons after January 4, 2010 provided the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security certified that LORAN is not needed as a backup for GPS.[19]

    On 7 January 2010, Homeland Security published a notice of the permanent discontinuation of LORAN-C operation. Effective 2000 UTC 8 February 2010, the United States Coast Guard terminated all operation and broadcast of LORAN-C signals in the USA...

    [In the quoted Wikipedia article, the following paragraph was placed BEFORE the above]
      Originally completed 20 March 2007 and presented to the co-sponsoring Department of Transportation and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Executive Committees, the report carefully considered existing navigation systems, including GPS. The unanimous recommendation for keeping the LORAN system and upgrading to eLORAN was based on the team's conclusion that LORAN is operational, deployed and sufficiently accurate to supplement GPS. The team also concluded that the cost to decommission the LORAN system would exceed the cost of deploying eLORAN, thus negating any stated savings as offered by the Obama administration and revealing the vulnerability of the U.S. to GPS disruption.[18]"

    end of quoted Wikipedia material

    Loran and its technological successor E-loran are still available in some more enlightened parts of the world (see linked article)

    Note that I am a USian. The above is NOT one of my country's
    more shining (dare I say 'brighter') decisions.

  • Re:What a nonsense (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @12:39AM (#42239265)

    True, but it's a daily problem for ATC in some parts of the world. North Korea jams GPS around ICN on a regular basis. Even EWR had a GPS issue for some time. They figured a trucker was using a GPS jammer to block the logger on the truck. Every time the truck would drive near the airport it would create a hassle.

  • by sabri ( 584428 ) * on Monday December 10, 2012 @12:49AM (#42239315)

    It's the potential to brick the receivers which is new.

    Which is why I find it interesting that 60% of the authors of the paper (3 out of 5) are employees of a commercial entity that.... creates "coherent" navigation equipment.

    Perhaps it's just one big advertisement for their solutions?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:31AM (#42241367)

    Or maybe they did, you know, actual research for their solutions, and rather than being selfish cunts about it, decided to actually publish their results and contributing to the research community instead of hiding everything and smashing everything that competes with it down by using vaguely written patent applications? As hard as it may be for slashdot to believe, governments and corporations can occasionally do something right.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling