GPS guidance can be fooled, so researchers are scrambling to find backup technologies

Since GPS’ inception in the 1970s, global reliance on the timing and positioning system has steadily increased. Today, GPS is used to do everything navigation to time-stamping financial transactions to dropping bombs. While GPS has certainly changed modern society for the better, researchers have become concerned with the global dependency on the service. What happens if it’s suddenly not available?   

GPS is vulnerable to attacks like jamming and spoofing. Five years ago, Todd Humphreys and a group of researchers boarded an $80-million yacht and spoofed GPS signals to lead it off course. “During that experiment, none of the equipment on the yacht’s bridge ever set off an alarm,” said Todd Humphreys. “The spoofing was so subtle that the automated systems could not detect that anything was wrong.”

Now researchers are scrambling to find a way to harden GPS against attacks. Many researchers are looking at integrating signals from different sources such as radio, TV, and cell signals. “For robustness, you really need multiple sources.”

Read the full article featuring Dr. Humphreys.