What is spoofing and how to ensure GPS security?

October 01, 2019 //By Maria Simsky
spoofing
As technological advances make GPS/GNSS devices more affordable, our lives are becoming increasingly dependent on precise positioning and timing. Industries such as survey, construction and logistics rely on precise positioning for automation, efficiency and safety.

GNSS time provides the pulsating heartbeat for the backbone of our industry by synchronizing telecom networks, banks and the power grid. A single day of GNSS outage is estimated to cost 1 billion dollars in US alone. GNSS is a reliable system, and to keep it as such professional GNSS receivers need to be wary of all possible vulnerabilities which could be exploited. Using GNSS receivers which are robust against jamming and spoofing is key for secure PNT (Positioning, Navigation and Time).  

GNSS refers to the constellations of satellites broadcasting signals from space that transmit positioning and timing information to GNSS receivers on Earth. The receivers then use this information to determine their location. These systems include the American GPS, European Galileo, Russian GLONASS, Chinese BeiDou, Japanese QZSS (Michibiki) and the Indian NAVIC system. "

 

What is GPS/GNSS spoofing?


Fig. 1: A cheap SDR (Software Defined Radio) can overpower
GNSS signals and spoofs a single-frequency smartphone GPS
into believing it is on Mount Everest.

Radio interference can overpower weak GNSS signals, causing satellite signal loss and potentially loss of positioning. Spoofing, is an intelligent form of interference which makes the receiver believe it is at a false location. During a spoofing attack a radio transmitter located nearby sends fake GPS signals into the target receiver. For example, a cheap SDR (Software Defined Radio) can make a smartphone believe it’s on Mount Everest!  

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