This summer, a radio navigation research team from The University of Texas at Austin set out to discover whether they could subtly coerce a 213-foot yacht off its course, using a custom-made GPS device.

Led by assistant professor Todd Humphreys of the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the Cockrell School of Engineering, the team was able to successfully spoof an $80 million private yacht using the world’s first openly acknowledged GPS spoofing device. Spoofing is a technique that creates false civil GPS signals to gain control of a vessel’s GPS receivers. The purpose of the experiment was to measure the difficulty of carrying out a spoofing attack at sea and to determine how easily sensors in the ship’s command room could identify the threat.

Continue reading the Cockrell School press release.