Spotlight

KXAN

"The man considered to be one of the biggest influences in the transportation world is in Austin this week. Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk addressed a crowd Thursday at the 10th Annual Texas Transportation Forum. Musk, who has overseen product development and design for all of Tesla’s electric cars, also is the creative spark behind the development of rockets and spacecraft for SpaceX. Musk’s work embodies the idea of transformation, which is the theme of this year’s Texas Transportation Forum.

Continue reading the article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys, at KXAN

gpsworld

"In the summer of 2012, a small robotic helicopter, painted Texas Longhorns orange and white, climbed into the air above the team’s empty football field in Austin. Then the device suddenly plummeted toward the grass, its controller overridden by a team of university- sanctioned hackers. A few days later, in the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the same group (with permission) easily hijacked the university’s $80,000 military-grade drone.

"No one had ever done the attack that we did before,” says Todd Humphreys, director of the Radionavigation Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin. At least not in the declassified world. But that doesn’t mean it’s not easy to replicate. Humphreys’s team used a relatively simple hand-built radio device to exploit a major loophole in drone security: the devices’ reliance on unauthenticated position data beamed from GPS satellites."

Continue reading the article at Popular Science

Dr. Todd HumphreysDr. Humphreys lectured on "Drones: Myths, Facts, Hacks, and The Future" on Friday, November 21, 2014 as the 93rd installment of the Hot Science Cool Talks outreach series hosted by UT's Environmental Science Institute.

To view the recorded lecture visit the ESI website and click the “View Webcast” button.

"The drone revolution isn’t coming—it’s already here. Can UT expertise help us navigate the future?alcalade

"The stadium was buzzing. It was a balmy day in late August and more than 93,000 fans were finally getting to see the topic of endless hype for themselves. Thousands of articles had been written, teeth had been gnashed, hands were wrung, and no one—not even the experts—knew what would happen. They weren’t watching the game. They were watching a tiny white helicopter with four rotors and an array of flashing lights cruising high above the Longhorns’ season opener."

Continue reading the Alcalde article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

gpsworld

A collaboration between the UT Radionavigation Lab, Cornell, and the White Rose of Drachs, is reported in the GPS World magazine.  

"A new method detects spoofing attacks that are resistant to standard RAIM technique and can sense an attack in a fraction of a second without external aiding. The signal-in-space properties used to detect spoofing are the relationships of the signal arrival directions to the vector that points from one antenna to the other. A real-time implementation succeeded against live-signal spoofing attacks aboard a superyacht, the White Rose of Drachs..., cruising in international waters."

Continue reading the article at GPS World

White Rose of DrachsBefore March 2013, the members of the UT Austin Radionavigation Lab and the Cornell GPS Lab had never heard of the superyacht called the White Rose of Drachs... They did, however, know something relevant to superyachts and other high-value maritime and aviation assets: how to spoof their GNSS navigation systems and how to detect spoofing attacks... The spoofing and detection tests started in earnest on Friday morning, June 27th, off the southern coast of Italy... The Cornell spoofing detection system ... correctly identified authentic GPS signals as such. It correctly identified spoofing attacks after the victim receiver had been dragged off to a false position and timing fix. 

Continue reading the series of Cornell blog posts.

NDRNorddeutscher Rundfunk (North German Broadcasting), a German public television service, produced the 44-minute documentary film "Im Visier der Hacker - Wie gefährlich wird das Netz?"  The film, whose title translates to "Targeted by the hackers: how dangerous is the power?," features interviews with Dr. Humphreys and Daniel Shepard on GPS spoofing.  The film is in German, but the producers are preparing English subtitles.  

Watch the film at NDR's website.

Christian Science Monitor"Commercial drones expected to fly US skies in coming years, delivering pizza or monitoring power lines, would be dangerously vulnerable to hackers without a variety of potentially costly countermeasures to their GPS navigation systems, results of a federal study indicate."

Continue reading the Christian Science Monitor article that features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

zakRadionavigation lab alum Dr. Zak Kassas will join the Electrical Engineering Department at The University of California, Riverside (UCR) in the Fall 2014 Quarter as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Kassas' Ph.D. focused on studying a novel navigation paradigm termed collaborative opportunistic navigation (COpNav). COpNav aims to exploit the plenitude of ambient radio frequency signals of opportunity in the environment (e.g., cellular phone, HDTV, AM/FM, etc) to enable navigation in GNSS-challenged environments, such as indoors, deep urban canyons, and environments under malicious attacks (e.g., jamming and spoofing). Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., Dr. Kassas was a Research & Development Engineer with the Control Design & Dynamical Systems Simulation group at National Instruments Corp. and an Adjunct Professor at Texas State University. Dr. Kassas is a senior member of the IEEE, has published more than twenty refereed journal and conference articles and a book chapter, and holds one U.S. patent. Dr. Kassas' research at UCR will span the areas of estimation, navigation, autonomous vehicles, and intelligent transportation systems.

Dr. Kassas recently held a seminar targeted at Ph.D. students and postdocs with academic career aspirations to share his advice on landing a faculty position.

 

sxswRNL presented at the 2014 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, TX, which offers the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies.  

On Friday, March 7, Dr. Humphreys and Jahshan Bhatti presented "Location Deception: Yacht vs. GPS Spoofer."  Audio recording of the presentation is available on soundcloud.

 

bbc"If you were watching Iranian state TV in early December 2011, you would have seen an unusual flying object paraded in front of viewers. Windowless, squat, with a pointed nose, its two wings made it the shape of a manta ray. The trophy on show was an RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone, a key weapon in the intelligence gathering arsenal of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Standing in a hangar on a military airfield, the drone was seemingly undamaged. Indeed, Iranian officials insisted that it had not been shot down; rather, they claimed an unusual coup: to have hacked the drone while it was flying near Iran’s border over Afghanistan and forced it to land." 

Continue reading the BBC article that features an interview with Dr. Humphreys. 

"pmNot everyone is thrilled with the rise of civilian drones in American skies. Last week, after Amazon hyped its plan to deliver packages in half an hour via UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), we wondered about the drone backlash happening in many part of the U.S. And while an angry few threatened to shoot down these delivery drones, a more pressing concern seems to be: What if people try to hack them?"

Continue reading the Popular Mechanics article that features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

 

"In a stunning display of engineering, students in the UT Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics hacked a superyacht’s GPS system in the Mediterranean Sea. They veered the $80 million vessel off course, proving that such a feat could be performed using cutting-edge technology. In fact, the students not only sent false GPS signals to the yacht’s navigation system, they actually created the device that originated the misdirection.

Using a process called spoofing, the students subtly gained control of the 213-foot yacht and veered it off course a few degrees at a time. When the system attempted to correct the location, the ship’s crew unknowingly adjusted their position by pointing the ship toward the new—and incorrect—path. The tech-savvy pirates gained permission for the project, but proved that security should be strengthened for such vessels, including aircraft, that use similar systems on a daily basis all over the world. Next time, hackers might not ask for consent."

Continue reading the article.

 

Austin, TX—Ken Pesyna kenwon the best paper presentation award in the Multi-Constellation/Portable Navigation Devices Session of the ION GNSS+ 2013 conference for his paper entitled "Precision Limits of Low-Energy GNSS Receivers."

Ken's research focuses on Tightly Coupled Opportunistic Navigation.

"The answer was Yes. The question: Could you hijack my yacht? Now, the rest of the story: I had just finished telling a conference audience how we brought down an drone with a specialized attack against its GPS sensor. A distinguished-looking man with a British accent handed me his card. "I don't suppose you could do the same with a 65-meter SuperYacht?""

Listen to the WAMC Northeast Public Radio Acadermic Minute interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"nytA hobbyist using a remote-control airplane mounted with a digital camera just happened to capture images last year of a Dallas creek running red with pig's blood. It led to a nearby meatpacking plant being fined for illegal dumping and two of its leaders being indicted on water pollution charges."

Continue reading the New York Times article that features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"nprVisions of the future don't just have to come from science fiction. There's very real technology today giving us clues about how our future lives might be transformed. So what might our future look like? And what does it take for an idea about the future to become a reality? In this hour, TED speakers make some bold predictions and explain how we might live in the future."

Listen to the NPR Interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"Anyone who has used a Global Positioning System (GPS) navigator has seen the system's ability to tell you precisely where you are — and, most likely, has faced frustration when the device just doesn't work. Yet for the military — which uses GPS data for such mission-critical applications as target tracking, missile guidance, and simply getting around in foreign areas — GPS failure can be a matter of life or death. That's why military researchers, such as those at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, have long been exploring alternatives to the Global Positioning System."

Continue reading a Communications of the ACM article that features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

Austin, TX—Zak Kassas zakwon the best paper presentation award in the Estimation Session of the AIAA Guidance Navigation and Control (GNC) conference, 2012 for his paper entitled "Observability Analysis of Opportunistic Navigation with Pseudorange Measurements". The awards were announced during the 2013 GNC conference.

Zak's research focuses on devising novel techniques for opportunistic and collaborative navigation.

"mittrUniversity of Texas researchers recently tricked the navigation system of an $80 million yacht and sent the ship off course in an experiment that showed how any device with civilian GPS technology is vulnerable to a practice called spoofing.

Led by GPS expert Todd Humphreys, the researchers used a handheld device they built for about $2,000. It generates a fake GPS signal that appears identical to those sent out by the real GPS. The two signals reach the targeted system in perfect alignment. The strength of the fake signal slowly ratchets up and overtakes the real one."

Continue reading the MIT Technology Review article.

"nhprWith all great innovations comes the potential for mischief. With so much of our social, commercial, and government infrastructure already online, it’s highly likely that we’ve all been targeted by cyber-attacks, even if we haven’t directly felt their results. Cars, computer cams, ATMs, databases, and power grids can be hacked.  In a recent high profile case, a week before one of the world’s most elite hackers was scheduled to demonstrate how to interrupt pacemakers and implanted defibrillators, he was found dead in his apartment. A team at the University of Texas Austin recently experimented with a technique they call “GPS Spoofing.” While that may sound like a YouTube comedy series, “GPS Spoofing” could be used to deadly serious effect."

Listed to the NHPR audio interview.

"newshourIn June, a 213-foot luxury yacht sailed off the southern coast of Italy, when, suddenly, it veered off course. But this was no sinister act worthy of a spy flick. Instead, a team of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin had deliberately coerced the $80 million vessel from its track, without physically taking the helm.

With the blessing of those aboard, Professor Todd Humphreys and his graduate students employed a technique called “GPS spoofing” to effectively disorient the ship's positioning system. Changes went undetected by alarms, and the autopilot system shifted the yacht to what it thought was the original course, not one selected by Humphreys' team.

Watch the PBS NewsHour interview online.

"slateIt must be pretty cool to be one of Todd Humphreys’ engineering students at the University of Texas at Austin. Last year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security dared them to hack into a drone. (Which they did.) And this year, Humphreys and his students went to the Mediterranean to see if they could hijack an $80 million yacht.

It all started when Humphreys was giving a talk about navigation security at SXSW. After the presentation, a man approached him to say how impressed he was with the work Humphreys had done with drones. The man then handed him a card and said, “Do you think you could hijack my superyacht?”

Continue reading the Slate article.

"insidegnssIn a startling experiment a research team from the University of Texas successfully spoofed a ship’s GPS-based navigation system sending the 213-foot yacht hundreds of yards off course — without raising alarms or triggering a hint of the course change on the onboard monitors.

Led by assistant professor Todd Humphreys, the group used equipment what started as a faint ensemble of civil GPS signals. Those signals gradually increased in strength until they overpowered the true GPS signals, enabling them to fool the ship’s navigation system. The team sent the ship through a series of subtle maneuvers that ultimately put it on a parallel course hundreds of meters off its intended track."

Contine reading the InsideGNSS article.

"nbcA small team of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin recently tricked a 213-foot superyacht off its course using a custom-made GPS device, rendering the $80 million vessel's electronic maps and charts useless.

"People have come to trust their electronic chart displays," Todd Humphreys, team leader and assistant professor at UT's Cockrell School of Engineering, tells NBC News. These electronic chart displays get their information from civilian GPS signals — which are not encrypted. "The signals have a detailed structure, but they don't have defenses against counterfeiting " Humphreys says. As a result, he explains, "the concept of GPS spoofing has been known for maybe 20 years."

A small team of researchers from the University of Texas at Austin recently tricked a 213-foot superyacht off its course using a custom-made GPS device, rendering the $80 million vessel's electronic maps and charts useless."

Continue reading the NBC News article.

arstechnica"One of the world’s foremost academic experts in GPS spoofing—University of Texas assistant professor Todd Humphreys—released a short video on Monday showing how he and his students deceived the GPS equipment aboard an expensive superyacht.

Humphreys conducted the test in the Ionian Sea in late June 2013 and early July 2013 with the full consent of the “White Rose of Drachs” yacht captain. His work shows just how vulnerable and relatively easy it is to send out a false GPS signal and trick the on-board receiver into believing it."

Continue reading the Ars Technica article.

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.  

foxnews"The world’s GPS system is vulnerable to hackers or terrorists who could use it to hijack ships—even commercial airliners, according to a frightening new study that exposes a huge potential hole in national security.

Using a laptop, a small antenna and an electronic GPS “spoofer” built for $3,000, GPS expert Todd Humphreys and his team at the University of Texas took control of the sophisticated navigation system aboard an $80 million, 210-foot super-yacht in the Mediterranean Sea. “We injected our spoofing signals into its GPS antennas and we’re basically able to control its navigation system with our spoofing signals,” Humphreys told Fox News."

Continue reading the Fox News article.

Watch the Special Edition video report.

Additional local Austin coverage:

Todd Humphreys is the Director of the Radionavigation Lab at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is also an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering. As one of the world's leading experts on GPS technology, Dr. Humphreys caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for his recent research on defending against intentional GPS jamming of drones over U.S. airspace.

On this episode of Game Changers, Professor Humphreys addresses the current use and future potential of GPS technology.

Game Changers brings The University of Texas at Austin's intellectual talent beyond the classroom with an hour-long show to be broadcast on the Longhorn Network, where you can view the entire program.

View the Game Changers video on YouTube .

"cbsIt's not just birds and planes in the sky anymore -- drones are on the rise. But how much do we know about the flying machines? As the technology progresses, it appears that the aerial devices are also getting smarter.

Drones come in a variety of shapes and sizes that range from the small, radio-controlled devices flown by hobbyists to military machines larger than a human. But there are a few ways to identify and categorize them."

Contine reading the CBS article that features and interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"apmWeb forums in the U.K. are buzzing about photos depicting a possible weaponized drone in China. Wired Magazine reports experts are pointing to the so called Li-Jian -- or Sharp Sword -- an Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle. A recent Pentagon report predicts the Chinese military will soon unveil new long-range drones.

Domestic drones are getting more attention from the government in New Jersey. State legislators want to restrict all drone use in the state unless there's a terrorist attack. A more lenient bill is also being considered. It would allow firefighters and police to use unmanned aerial vehicles."

Continue listening to the Marketplace audio clip that features and interview with Dr. Humphreys.

sxsw_interactiveRNL presented at the 2013 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, TX, which offers the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies.

On Wednesday, March 6, Dr. Humphreys presented at "Drones.edu: Hands on the Future in the Classroom."

On Friday, March 8, Dr. Humphreys presented "Extreme GPS: Limits of Security & Precision"
To listen to the audio click here.
To download the presentation click here

"gizmagTodd Humphreys and his students at the University of Texas in Austin are tired of waiting for augmented reality that meets the promise of the technology we've been hearing about and seeing in science fiction for years now. So they set out to build it themselves, and presented a very rough prototype for the first time at the South By Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW) in Austin on Friday."

Continue reading the gizmag article.

Austin, TX—Zak Kassas zak received the Research Excellence Award, which is awarded by the Graduate Engineering Council at the Graduate and Industry Networking (GAIN) Event. This award is granted to the best 10 graduate engineering research presentations out of 75 presentations at the GAIN Event as judged by representatives from the industry and faculty. GAIN is a broad Networking opportunity and an academically rigorous competition that allows The Cockrell School of Engineering to showcase its best and brightest graduate students.

Zak's research focuses on devising novel techniques for opportunistic and collaborative navigation.

"Many say it’s only a matter of time before unmanned aircraft, otherwise known as drones, are used routinely for such tasks as traffic monitoring, battling forest fires and looking for lost children. The government already uses surveillance drones to monitor our border with Mexico. Some police departments and a few universities have permits to use them as well. The Federal Aviation Administration has been charged with coming up with a plan for widespread commercial use by 2015, but many say safety and privacy issues need to be addressed. Join us for a debate over the rules for domestic drones.

Listen to the audio clip that features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"myfoxaustinState lawmakers may decide to ban drone surveillance of private property in Texas. A University of Texas professor fears that bill could hurt the research being done on those eyes in the sky. The university has an $80,000 drone that has been used by engineering professor Todd Humphreys to prove that the security of drones can be compromised.

"We showed that you can hack into a GPS system of one of these drones and like a tractor beam you can bring it down out of the air." But, using that technology could be prevented in the future.

State Representative Lance Gooden (R, District 4) has introduced a bill called 'The Texas Privacy Act' that would ban drone surveillance of private property by everyone from aviation hobbyists to law enforcement."

Continue reading the myFOXaustin article that features a video interview with Dr. Humphreys.

nytA drone, no bigger than a toy airplane, hovered north of the Texas Capitol, floating over the heads of lawmakers who were momentarily distracted from their morning meetings. Several of them gathered beneath it, faces tilted skyward, marveling over a pair of goggles that allowed them to watch live video of the craft’s panoramic bird’s-eye view.

But when the conversation turned to the reason for the demonstration, the tone shifted. Representative Lance Gooden, Republican of Terrell, said he was sponsoring legislation to prevent this futuristic technology — increasingly used by everyone from aviation hobbyists to law enforcement authorities — from capturing “indiscriminate surveillance.”

Continue reading the New York Times article, which features an interveiw with Dr. Humphreys.

Los Angeles, CA—Dr. Humphreys visited the GPS Directorate at the Los Angeles Air Force Base to brief them on the state of the art in secure GPS PNT. You can view his presentation here.

Austin, TX—Dr. Humphreys gave a GPS World webinar on the future directions of GPS research. You can view his presentation here.

Houston, TX—On October 25, 2012 at 10:00 am Assistant Professor Todd Humphreys will appear as a witness before Congress during a field forum to discuss the appropriate domestic use of drones. The forum will be hosted by U.S. Congressman Ted Poe and has been sanctioned by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. It will be held at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Continue reading the press release.

Watch the recorded testimony (starts at 31:55).

Read Dr. Humphreys's written testimony here.

The 10th annual Texas Wireless Summit continues the tradition of providing a forum for industry leaders to discuss emerging technologies and business models that will shape the industry over the upcoming two to three years. Co-hosted by the Austin Technology Incubator and The University of Texas at Austin’s Wireless Networking and Communications Group (WNCG), The Summit has direct access to cutting edge research and innovations from industry leaders, investors and startups. The Texas Wireless Summit is a keynote and panel driven discussion that enables the speakers and audience to engage to drive the conversation forward.

The location keynote address was given by Kanwar Chadha CEO and founder of Inovi and founder of SiRF. 

On the location panel were Kanwar Chadha, Bernard Briggs (CTO of T3), and Alexander (Sasha) Mitelman (Navigation Consultant).

Unmanned remote aircraft are being used by police and other groups across the skies of Texas. But a professor at the University of Texas says he could bring one of those drones down by simply using his brain.

"It's a hacking attack," says Dr. Todd Humphreys, a UT engineering professor.

Continue reading the Local 2 Houston News article.

 

humphreys_gnss_awardAustin, TX—At the magazine's annual Leadership Dinner, held during the ION-GNSS Conference, we gave the first GNSS Leadership Awards to four individuals for their respective work in the four fields of satellites, signals, services, and products. These are not lifetime or career achievement awards, but recognition of significant contribution in the last year or two. Think of them as the Oscars, the Academy Awards of GNSS, if you will, for significant recent achievement.

Several people were nominated in each category by a small group, then voted on by a larger group of about 40, including the magazine's Editorial Advisory Board, the contributing editors, and a dozen industry executives.

In the Signals category: Todd Humphreys, Director, Radionavigation Laboratory, and assistant professor, University of Texas at Austin. Leader of several seminal studies on spoofing and jamming; testified this summer before Congress on the subject.

Continue reading the award notice that contains Dr. Humphreys's acceptance speech.

"iiCould the next big trading glitch come from the sky? An expert in satellite technology says it’s possible, and he wants more traders and investors to be aware of the potential problem. The danger lies with the global positioning satellite system, according to Todd Humphreys, a professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin. High frequency traders depend on GPS technology for accurate time signals to guide their trading strategies, but the satellite system’s rooftop receivers are vulnerable to jamming, he contends. GPS signals can also become the target of hacking attacks, known as “spoofing,” that can send out false time signals and disrupt trading, he adds."

Continue reading the Institutional Investor article.

 

gaoThe GAO Report to Congressional Requestors titled "Unmanned Aircraft Systems" notes that: 

"GPS spoofing has also been identified as an emerging issue. Encrypting civil GPS signals could make it more difficult to “spoof” or counterfeit a GPS signal that could interfere with the navigation of a UAS. Non-military GPS signals, unlike military GPS signals, are not encrypted and transparency and predictability make them vulnerable to being counterfeited, or spoofed. In a GPS-spoofing scenario, the GPS signal going from the ground control station to the UAS is first counterfeited and then overpowered. Once the authentic (original) GPS signal is overpowered, the UAS is under the control of the “spoofer.” This type of scenario was recently demonstrated by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin at the behest of DHS. During the demonstration at the White Sands Missile Range, researchers spoofed one element of the unencrypted GPS signal of a fairly sophisticated small UAS (mini- helicopter) and induced it to plummet toward the desert floor. The research team found that it was straightforward to mount an intermediate- level spoofing attack, such as controlling the altitude of the UAS, but difficult and expensive to mount a more sophisticated attack. The research team recommended that spoof-resistant navigation systems be required on UAS exceeding 18 pounds."

Continue reading the GAO report (GAO-12-981).

"While the Iranian capture of the Sentinel caught public attention, it also allowed researchers to show that spoofing technology has been, and continues to be, closely investigated by a number of military and civilian facilities in the United States.

Probably the leading–or at least the most public–GPS spoofing research center in the U.S. is at the University of Texas at Austin. In April, in response to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) invitation, a University of Texas team took a commercial unmanned helicopter of the type used by police departments to the DoD White Sands, N.M. proving ground, along with the University’s GPS spoofing system. The helicopter was equipped with an autoflight system directed through GPS inputs, but with a manual control override."

Continue reading the Aviation International News article.

regentsAwardSmall

Austin, TX—Assistant Professor Todd E. Humphreys has been selected to receive the prestigious 2012 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award from The University of Texas System.

Established in 2008, the awards are offered annually in recognition of faculty members of the nine University of Texas System academic institutions who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction, and are the Board of Regents’ highest honor.

“Professor Humphreys is a truly special case, “ASE/EM Department Chair, Professor Philip Varghese said. “He joined UT a couple of years ago and has excelled in teaching and in every other respect. He has significantly overhauled two undergraduate courses, making them more engaging and, probably, more demanding. Despite the rigor of his courses, he has stellar teaching evaluations in both graduate and undergraduate courses.”

Continue reading the ASE article.

For more information about the award and a video tribute to the awardees, please click here.

"aviationweekEase with which GPS can be spoofed raises concerns about civil UAVs. A video fo a small unmanned heicopter dropping from hover like a stone, its operator unaware control has been hijacked, threatens plans to open civil airspace to UAS (unmanned aerial systems) by exposing the vulnerability of GPS to counterfeit signals, or spoofing."

Continue reading the Aviation Week and Space Technology article that features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"eetimesAfter testifying before Congress about security vulnerabilities in civil GPS systems last week, Todd Humphreys is convinced the industry needs a new approach to plugging holes in what he calls “the most popular unauthenticated protocol in the world.”

“There’s a way to add backward-compatible authentication like digital watermarks to GPS signals, and last week I had my best shot at convincing lawmakers to fix the problem at the signal source,” said Humphreys who directs the Radionavigation Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin."

Continue reading the EE Times article.

testify

Washington, DC—Dr. Humphreys testified before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management on the threat of spoofing the civil GPS signals that guide unmanned aerial vehicles in flight.

The oral testimony can be viewed online here.  Dr. Humphreys testimony begins at 11:00.

A copy of the written testimony can be read here.

"marinetimesA University of Texas team spent less than $1,000 to construct a GPS “spoofing” device that commandeered an unmanned aerial vehicle and sent it veering off course. After initially demonstrating the concept on campus in Austin, Assistant Professor Todd Humphreys and his team were invited out to White Sands, N.M., on June 19 by skeptical Department of Homeland Security officials and proved that they were able to divert a UAV from its flight path from about a kilometer away, according to a university news release. “The recent demonstration by University of Texas at Austin researchers is the first known unequivocal demonstration that commandeering a UAV via GPS spoofing is technically feasible,” the release states."

Continue reading the Marine Corps Times article.

"bloombergbusinessweekOne of the greatest advantages of drones—for gathering intelligence, patrolling borders, doing weather research, or killing terrorists—is that they can be piloted by people who are on the ground and far away. They can do dangerous, difficult, tedious tasks without requiring the risk of human lives. For their critics, there is a flip side to this: Drones risk making it too easy to kill without perceived consequences, or spy, or monitor every instant of everyone’s lives. Now there’s something new to worry about. If we can control our drones at a distance, what’s to ensure that someone else won’t do it, too? How easy would it be for someone to hijack a drone and Svengali-like, get it to do what they wanted, instead of its mission? Not as hard as one might hope. That’s what a team led by Todd Humphreys, an assistant professor at the University of Texas, Austin, and head of its Radionavigation Laboratory, proved last month."

Continue Reading the Bloomber Businessweek Technology article.

"abcGraduate students from the University of Texas who hijacked a civilian drone aircraft have demonstrated just how easy it would be to redirect unmanned vehicles—so-called UAVs that someday may do everything from delivering pizza to our doorstep to tracking stolen cars and aiding law enforcement. The hijacking was done over White Sands, New Mexico, at the request of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Officials with the department wanted to know if the students could actually do it. They did. The department has been reluctant even to talk about it. And the professor behind the capture has mixed emotions."

Continue reading the ABC article.

"nprA professor at The University of Texas has figured out how to intercept drones while in flight. Todd Humphreys and his team taps into the GPS coordinates of a civilian drone and can alter the flight path, even land it. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz speaks with Humphreys about how he did it and the dangers that hacking can present."

Continue to NPR to listen to the radio interview.

"wiredOn the evening of June 19, a group of researchers from the University of Texas successfully hijacked a civilian drone at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico during a test organized by the Department of Homeland Security. The drone, an Adaptive Flight Hornet Mini, was hovering at around 60 feet, locked into a predetermined position guided by GPS. Then, with a device that cost around $1,000 and the help of sophisticated software that took four years to develop, the researchers sent a radio signal from a hilltop one kilometer away. In security lingo, they carried out a spoofing attack. “We fooled the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) into thinking that it was rising straight up,” says Todd Humphreys, assistant professor at the Radionavigation Laboratory at the University of Texas."

Continue reading the WIRED Danger Room article.

Read a follow-up article published after the congressional hearing.

"cnnBy 2015, unmanned drones will be allowed in U.S. airspace, raising many questions about our national security and privacy. What some University of Texas researchers set out to prove was whether it took much effort to hack them. With just $1,000 worth of software, the group was able to successfully hijack a civilian drone. Dr. Todd Humphreys and his team of students first experimented at the University of Texas at Austin. Then, the team was asked to demonstrate the process for the Department of Homeland Security. Dr. Humphreys and graduate student Daniel Shepherd explain how they were able to hack into the drone, and what implications it has for our nation's safety."

Continue to CNN to watch the video interview with Daniel Shepard and Dr. Humphreys.

todd_drone"aasAfter a dress rehearsal at Royal-Memorial Stadium, University of Texas researchers traveled to New Mexico last month and demonstrated for U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials how an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, can be commandeered by hacking into its navigation system.

The technique, known as spoofing, created false Global Positioning System signals that tricked the drone's GPS receiver into steering a new course.

The Global Positioning System, which uses satellites and radio signals, is not encrypted for civilian uses, and that raises concern about the federal government's plan to permit thousands of drones in U.S. air space for commercial, law enforcement and university purposes, said Todd Humphreys, an assistant professor in UT's Cockrell School of Engineering. "The dirty fact is it's an open signal, and easily hacked," Humphreys said."

Continue reading the Austin American Statesman article.

"cbsThe use of drones is taking off in America. Local governments and private businesses see them as a cheap and effective way of maintaining an eye from the sky. But will the drones be fully under their control? A college professor and his students say not necessarily. A civilian drone aircraft was hijacked by Prof. Todd Humphreys and his graduate students at the University of Texas. They were able to hack into the GPS signals of the drone, not only manipulating its flight path while flying over White Sands, New Mexico, but later landing it. Humphreys told CBS News, "You can think of this as hijacking a plane from a distance. (It's) as if you're at the controls of the plane, because you've now captured the autopilot's sense of its own navigation solution. And you can manipulate it left or right, up or down."

Continue reading the CBS article that features a video interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"rtTodd Humphreys’ tale about hacking a civilian drone in front of the Department of Homeland Security has gone viral since he conducted the experiment last month. Now the assistant professor at the University of Texas explains his work to RT. In an interview with RT America this week, Todd Humphreys of the University of Texas at Austin’s Radionavigation Laboratory reveals that it only took a few researchers, around $1,000 in parts and some seriously smart software to send signals to an unmanned aerial vehicle’s GPS receiver, hijack the craft in mid-air and then have it do the department’s bidding—all right in front of Homeland Security agents."

Continue reading the RT article that features a video interview with Dr. Humphreys.

RT's video interview can also be viewed on YouTube.

"kutA University of Texas professor recently hacked into the GPS system of a drone aircraft and take control of it using less than $1,000 worth of equipment. The achievement may have implications for the future use of drones in the United States and abroad. Let’s say you’re hungry and you’ve craving a meal from your favorite restaurant. But instead of a delivery car pulling up to the curb, a drone lands at your front door. It could happen. Todd Humphreys of the Radionavigation Laboratory at UT Austin thinks so.

Continue reading the KUT article that features an audio interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"alcaladeThere are a few reasons for a Longhorn football practice to be moved—a tornado, hail, and fire come to mind—but a science experiment isn’t usually one of them. But it wasn’t just any science experiment that caused UT Athletics officials to relocate the Longhorns’ strength-training practice last week: it was a demo that revealed a new danger to our national security. “It was funny,” says Todd Humphreys, director of UT’s Radionavigation Lab. “We were doing this huge, unprecedented demo, and the students were most excited about the fact that they moved football practice for us.” Humphreys and a group of engineering students have dedicated their time to researching a powerful new GPS technology known as spoofing, through which one GPS signal is replaced by another.

Continue reading the Alcalde article.

"cselogoA University of Texas at Austin research team successfully demonstrated for the first time that the GPS signals of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, can be commandeered by an outside source—a discovery that could factor heavily into the implementation of a new federal mandate to allow thousands of civilian drones into the U.S. airspace by 2015. Cockrell School of Engineering Assistant Professor Todd Humphreys and his students were invited by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to attempt the demonstration in White Sands, New Mexico in late June. Using a small but sophisticated UAV along with hardware and software developed by Humphreys and his students, the research team repeatedly overtook navigational signals going to the GPS-guided vehicle.

Continue reading the UT Engineering article.

slashdot"The BBC is reporting that researchers from the University of Texas at Austin managed to hack an experimental drone by spoofing GPS signals. Theoretically, this would allow the hackers to direct the drone to coordinates of their choosing. 'The spoofed drone used an unencrypted GPS signal, which is normally used by civilian planes, says Noel Sharkey, co-founder of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control. "It's easy to spoof an unencrypted drone. Anybody technically skilled could do this - it would cost them some £700 for the equipment and that's it," he told BBC News. "It's very dangerous - if a drone is being directed somewhere using its GPS, [a spoofer] can make it think it's somewhere else and make it crash into a building, or crash somewhere else, or just steal it and fill it with explosives and direct somewhere. But the big worry is — it also means that it wouldn't be too hard for [a very skilled person] to work out how to un-encrypt military drones and spoof them, and that could be extremely dangerous because they could turn them on the wrong people."

Continue reading the Slashdot article.

bbc"American researchers took control of a flying drone by hacking into its GPS system - acting on a $1,000 (£640) dare from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). A University of Texas at Austin team used "spoofing" - a technique where the drone mistakes the signal from hackers for the one sent from GPS satellites. The same method may have been used to bring down a US drone in Iran in 2011. Analysts say that the demo shows the potential danger of using drones."

Continue reading the BBC article.

Listen to the three-minute-long podcast interview with Dr. Humphreys starting at 49:30.

"spectrumResearchers at the University of Texas at Austin Radionavigation Laboratory have successfully demonstrated that a drone with an unencrypted GPS system can be taken over by a person wielding a GPS spoofing device. You can see a video accompanying a Fox News story on it, as well as a video here of an experiment conducted by the researchers, led by Professor Todd Humphreys.

Humphreys and company were recently invited by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to demonstrate whether their capability to successfully spoof commercial GPS systems in the laboratory could work in the field. Spoofing, as defined in this article by UT researchers, is “the transmission of matched-GPS-signal-structure interference in an attempt to commandeer the tracking loops of a victim receiver and thereby manipulate the receiver’s timing or navigation solution. A spoofer can transmit its counterfeit signals from a stand-off distance of several hundred meters or it can be co-located with its victim.”

Continue reading the IEEE Spectrum Risk Factor blog post.

Listen to an audio interview with Dr. Humphreys.

foxnews"A small surveillance drone flies over an Austin stadium, diligently following a series of GPS waypoints that have been programmed into its flight computer. By all appearances, the mission is routine.

Suddenly, the drone veers dramatically off course, careering eastward from its intended flight path. A few moments later, it is clear something is seriously wrong as the drone makes a hard right turn, streaking toward the south. Then, as if some phantom has given the drone a self-destruct order, it hurtles toward the ground. Just a few feet from certain catastrophe, a safety pilot with a radio control saves the drone from crashing into the field.

From the sidelines, there are smiles all around over this near-disaster. Professor Todd Humphreys and his team at the University of Texas at Austin's Radionavigation Laboratory have just completed a successful experiment: illuminating a gaping hole in the government’s plan to open US airspace to thousands of drones.

They could be turned into weapons.

Continue reading and watching the FoxNews coverage:

Myrtle Beach, SC—Two RNL members won conference-level best paper awards at the 2012 IEEE/ION PLANS conference. Congratulations to Jahshan and Ken!

awardkjp

Ken Pesyna (left) and Jahshan Bhatti (right) receive their Best Paper awards from IEEE/ION PLANS Committee Chair Wayne Soheren (center). 

"New York—I always knew I could lose my shirt on Wall Street, but I never thought I'd have to worry about my watch. Not the Rolex, but the actual seconds marking the passage of time. It turns out the sands of the hourglass that tell us when things such as stocks and bonds get traded can be stolen. Don't believe me? I've spent real time with the man who may have snapped time's Master Lock: Todd Humphreys, a professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin."

Continue reading the The Street article that features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"As our dependence on navigation satellites for accurate positioning and timing becomes ever greater, so do the natural and man-made threats that could compromise their usefulness."

Continue reading the GEO Connexion International artice: page one and two.

lemonde"In his small workshop cluttered with machines of all kinds, Todd Humphreys, director of the Radionavigation at the University of Texas at Austin, shows a video his students made of a recent test. It shows a smartphone, held at arm's length, showing Google Maps on the screen: "The device locates its position with GPS and indicates its position with a blue dot on the map." Suddenly, the blue dot starts to move, as if the smartphone were riding in a car, but the actual smartphone stays in the same place. "

Continue reading Le Monde article  [French].

bloomberg"Two years ago, a new global positioning system-based system guiding jets to runways at Newark Liberty International Airport began switching off without warning. The culprits, according to government documents, were drivers on the adjacent New Jersey Turnpike who were using cheap, illegal GPS jamming devices to prevent their employers from locating them. The devices, whose signals are as much as 1 billion times more powerful than GPS transmissions, were also blanking out the airport landing system. That passing vehicles could so easily cripple airport navigation illustrates one of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s obstacles in its $42 billion effort, known as NextGen, to convert the nation’s air-traffic control away from radar to a reliance on GPS. Wireless networks, financial institutions and power grids are also vulnerable to GPS disruption, according to studies commissioned by the U.S. government and academic experts. “The interference threats to GPS are very real and promise to get worse,” the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Advisory Board, which is appointed by the government, said in a 2010 report. So-called spoofers may be a greater threat than jammers. They mimic signals from space and can trick a receiver into displaying the wrong location, Todd Humphreys, an assistant engineering professor at the University of Texas, said in phone interviews. “The mischief makers are looking for opportunities to prick us in our soft spots,” he said. “This is a soft spot and a pretty glaring one.”

Continue reading the Bloomberg Government article.

Watch the video news release.

exploreut

Austin, TX — Daniel Shepard and Sydney Norrell offered visitors to the UT campus a chance to get hands on with high-tech GPS receiver processing during Explore UT, the biggest open house in Texas. The RNL exhibit featured a chance to draw 3D shapes and figures with a GPS antenna that were then displayed on screen. The GPS signal processing leveraged an advanced signal processing technique called carrier-phase differential GPS.

TEDxAustinPhototedAustin, TX — What's the predictable endpoint of the trend toward ever cheaper, ever smaller, and ever more sensitive GPS?  It's the GPS dot: a GPS tracking device first featured in the movie "The Da Vinci code" and now moving inexorably from fiction to non-fiction.  The GPS dot will fundamentally re-order our lives.  We'll buy dots in bulk and stick them on everything we own worth more than a few tens of dollars.

But there is a dark side to the dot.  Did you know that it's not illegal to track your family, your friends, or even your ex-girlfriend/boyfriend with a GPS dot?  The lack of effective legal means of protecting ourselves from an invasion of GPS dots will lead to use of subversive tools for protecting our personal space, such as GPS jammers and spoofers.  A rise in the use of these illicit tools has the potential to wreak havoc on the "good" GPS receivers -- those built into our critical systems and infrastructure. The result: A looming showdown between privacy and GPS integrity.

What if you could use GPS technology to find your misplaced keys? How about if you could use that same technology to lie about where you were in the world or misdirect cruise ships? Dr. Todd Humphreys of the University of Texas at Austin's Radionavigation Lab paints a picture of an utterly new future at once worrying and fascinating.

Check out the following TEDxAustin coverage:

"arstechnicaDuring the GNSS Vulnerability 2012 event at the UK's National Physical Laboratory on Wednesday, experts discussed the threat posed by a growing number of GPS jamming and spoofing devices. The increasing popularity of the jammers is troubling, according to conference organizer Bob Cockshott, because even low-power GPS jammers pose a significant threat to cell phone systems, parts of the electrical grid, and the safety of drivers."

Continue reading the Ars Technica article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys on spoofing.

"bbcThe illegal use of Global Positioning System (GPS) jammers in the UK has been revealed in a groundbreaking study. GPS jammers are believed to be mostly used by people driving vehicles fitted with tracking devices in order to mask their whereabouts. In one location the Sentinel study recorded more than 60 GPS jamming incidents in six months. The research follows concern that jammers could interfere with critical systems which rely on GPS."

Continue reading the BBC article, which features an audio interview (@3:35) with Dr. Humphreys.

"zdnetThe Sentinel project, which has been running since January 2011, was designed to measure GPS jamming on UK roads. The project, run by GPS-tracking company Chronos Technology, picked up the illegal jamming incidents via four GPS sensors in trials lasting from two to six months per location."

Continue reading the ZDNet article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"wsjGPS signals are being routinely jammed by devices that can be bought online for little money. While most jamming is not serious, there is the potential for criminals to block, or even fake, GPS signals, a conference will be told Wednesday. The evidence of illegal jamming in the U.K. comes from roadside monitoring carried out by the SENTINEL project, which looks at whether satellite navigation systems including GPS can be trusted by their users."

Continue reading the WSJ article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

"insidegnssThis free one-day event at the British National Physical Laboratory in Teddington (London) on Wednesday, February 22 will present results of current jamming detection, and consider emerging threats such as meaconing and spoofing.The seminar runs from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Interested participants must pre-register online.

Todd Humphreys, director of the Radionavigation Laboratory at the University of Texas-Austin will deliver the keynote, "PVT security: privacy and trustworthiness."

Continue reading the InsideGNSS article.

"theengineerShips colliding at sea, stock markets crashing, transport networks in chaos: these are some of the nightmare scenarios that researchers studying GPS-jamming techniques this week warned we could be facing if suitable countermeasures aren’t produced. The newspapers gave substantial coverage on Wednesday to a conference at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in west London, which highlighted the dangers society is facing as we become increasingly dependent on global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) like America’s GPS and the forthcoming European Galileo.

The problem is that GNSS satellite transmissions, which are used not just for navigation but also to provide time stamps for transactions at the stock market and to alert trains when to stop at specific stations, can easily be jammed or falsified (spoofed) with fake signals."

Continue reading The Engineer article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys.

foxnews"The Global Positioning System guides our ships at sea. It’s the centerpiece of the new next-gen air traffic control system. It even timestamps the millions of financial transactions made across the world each and every day. And it's at extreme risk from criminals, terrorist organizations and rogue states—and even someone with a rudimentary GPS jammer that can be bought on the Internet for 50 bucks, said Todd Humphreys, an expert on GPS with the University of Texas.

“If you’re a rogue nation, or a terrorist network and you’d like to cause some large scale damage—perhaps not an explosion but more an economic attack against the United States—this is the kind of area that you might see as a soft spot,” he told Fox News."

Continue reading the Fox News article, which includes a nationally-televised interview with Dr. Humphreys.

wiredcouk"GPS "spoofers"—devices that create false GPS signals to fool receivers into thinking that they are at a different location or different time—could be used to defraud financial institutions, according to Todd Humphreys from the University of Texas. On an innocuous level, GPS spoofing can lead to the confusing of in-car GPS systems so that users think they are in a different location to their actual location. However, a more sinister use could be to interfere with the time-stamping systems used in high frequency trading."

Continue reading the Wired article.

reuters"Satelite navigation systems are at risk from criminals, terrorists or even just bored teenagers, with the potential to cause major incidents from maritime disasters to chaos in financial markets, leading experts warned on Wednesday. From maps on car dashboards and mobile phones, to road tolls, aviation and marine navigation systems and even financial exchanges, much of modern life relies on Global Navigation Satelite Systems (GNSS) that use satelite signals to find a location or keep exact time."

Continue reading the Reuters article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys on GPS spoofing.

The article has also been published by DailyMail, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, The Baltimore Sun, CNBC, International Business Times, and Chicago Tribune.

Austin, TX — Kyle Wesson, Daniel Shepard, and Todd Humphreys authored the cover story of GPS World on anti-spoofing techniques for civil GPS in the January 2012 edition.

gpsworldThe introduction reads, "Disruption created by intentional generation of fake GPS signals could have serious economic consequences. This article discusses how typical civil GPS receivers respond to an advanced civil GPS spoofing attack, and four techniques to counter such attacks: spread-spectrum security codes, navigation message authentication, dual-receiver correlation of military signals, and vestigial signal defense. Unfortunately, any kind of anti-spoofing, however necessary, is a tough sell."

The story is online in flash or pdf format.

"wiredTake everything that Iran says about its captured U.S. drone with a grain of salt. But its new claim that it spoofed the drone’s navigational controls isn’t implausible. Although it’s way harder to do than the Iranian boast suggests, it points to yet another flaw with America’s fleet of robot warplanes."

Continue reading the WIRED article, which features an interview with Dr. Humphreys on GPS spoofing.

Austin, TX — zakThe Radionavigation Laboratory congratulates Zaher (Zak) Kassas for being elevated to IEEE Senior Member in 2011. To be eligible for IEEE Senior Member status, an IEEE Member must:

  • have experience reflecting professional maturity;
  • have been in professional practice for at least ten years; and
  • show significant performance over a period of at least five of their years in professional practice.

Zak Kassas is co-advised by Dr. Ari Araposthathis and Dr. Todd Humphreys.

Austin, TX — kenThe Radionavigation Laboratory congratulates Ken Pesyna for being selected to receive the Innovative Signals Analysis Fellowship for the 2011-2012 academic year. The fellowship comes with a $4,000 stipend.

In addition to being a member of the Radionavigation Laboratory, Ken is a member of the Wireless Systems Innovation Laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Robert Heath.

 

Boston, MA — MIT Professor Dr. Kerri Cahoy, cahoyan expert in radio occultation, invited Dr. Todd Humphreys to present on development of the FOTON GPS radio occultation receiver. The presentation was an Invited Enrichment Lecture for her graduate-level Satellite Engineering class and other students and faculty of the MIT AeroAstro department.

Coincident with Dr. Humphreys's visit, students Ingrid Beerer, Clayton Crail, Jason Herrera, Robert Legge, Whitney Lohmeyer, and Annie Marinan from Dr. Cahoy's Satellite Engineering course presented the final report of their semester-long feasibility study for the GeoScan Project. The students gave an excellent overview of all the sensors that they hope to pack into the hosted payload bay of the 66 IridiumNext satellites, which will begin to be launched in 2015. A GPS-based occultation sensor is one of the primary system sensor instruments proposed for GeoScan. Lars Dyrud, who has been the primary organizer of GeoScan project, was in attendance. Program directors from NSF attended the students' presentation virtually.

 

spoofingIcon

Portland, OR — Dr. Todd Humphreys chaired an ION GNSS 2011 panel session on "Improving Security of GNSS Receivers." Dr. Humphreys began the panel with introductory remarks [pptx] noting the increasing trend of spoofing research over the past few years and also presented on practical cryptographic civil GPS signal authentication [pptx]. The panel consisted of five members from industry and academia:

Austin, TX — Outside of the four papers contributed solely by RNL to ION GNSS, RNL members were co-authors on four other papers:

RNL at ION GNSS 2011

Portland, OR — Six members of RNL attended ION GNSS 2011 in Portland, Oregon to present research. Four papers were presented:

The last paper, which Kyle Wesson presented, won the best presentation award in Session E4: Next Generation GNSS Integrity 1.

At right: Members of RNL are about to enjoy a sushi dinner following the conference. Left to right: Zak Kassas, Daniel Shepard, Todd Humphreys, Jahshan Bhatti, Kyle Wesson, Ken Pesyna, and Ryan Mitch (Cornell). 

Whether it's investigating ways to preserve the security of GPS signals or developing new types of receivers, the field of radionavigation is ripe with possibility—and Dr. Todd Humphreys does not hesitate for a moment in defining how his research team fits into the mix. "What's the next big thing in GPS?" he asks. "That's what we're trying to pursue. In fact, that's what we're trying to create."

Continue reading the Aerospace Engineering Feature.

humphreys_uspto

Austin, TX — Dr. Todd Humphreys briefed the United States Patent and Trademark Office via webcast on the state of the art and future trends in radionavigation on Thursday, 14 April 2011. Examiners were present from the main USPTO site as well as satellite locations. Dr. Humphreys talked about:

  • Overview of Radionavigation/GPS
  • Advances in Weak-Signal GNSS Tracking and Indoor Navigation + Network-aided Navigation
  • Vector Tracking for Improved Navigation Accuracy and Robustness
  • Multipath Mitigation

You can download and view the presentation here [pptx].

You can read more about the presentation here.

psiakia Austin, TX — Dr. Mark Psiaki visited RNL on 31 March and 1 April and gave two presentations:

  1. Nonlinear Model-Based Estimation Algorithms: Tutorial and Recent Developments [ppt] (BSEKF journal paper) at the Aerospace Department seminar series
  2. Civilian GPS Spoofing Detection based on Dual-Receiver Correlation of Military Signals [pptx] at the WNCG seminar series

UPDATE: Dr. Psiaki has written a paper on the Blind Tricyclist non-linear estimation problem available here [pdf]. Simulation functions and data are also available online.

 

Austin, TX — Members of the Radionavigation Laboratory briefed visitors from the DHS, USCG, NSWC, JNWC, and USSTRATCOM on several aspects of GPS security and integrity including: effects of GPS spoofing on power grid monitoring, anti-spoofing techniques for civil GPS, and GPS interference detection and localization techniques.

Meeting Agenda and Participants 

"Signals from GPS satellites now help you to call your mother, power your home, and even land your plane—but a cheap plastic box can jam it all."

Continue reading the NewScientist article, which features a discussion with Dr. Humphreys on GPS spoofing in the "Faking It" section. 

Austin, TX — Members of the Radionavigation Laboratory launched a memorial page for Dr. Paul M. Kintner, Jr. along with Paul's receiver, a continuously operating receiver in the spirit of an eternal flame. We started Paul's receiver running this month. We intend to keep it going as long as we can.

More tributes to Paul are welcome; please submit them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Austin, TX — Members of the Radionavigation Laboratory went on a full day excursion to capture simultaneous GPS and Cellular CDMA spectrum via the lab's powerful National Instruments radio frequency signal analyzers. Over 1.5 TB of spectral data were recorded at 37.5 MSps with the goal of characterizing dynamic GPS multipath, exploring tightly-coupled opportunistic navigation, and evaluating GPS jamming mitigation techniques. The data log files are available here for download. Interested parties can request this data for their own post processing needs.

For a visual representation of the multipath encounterd, the data can be plotted in Google maps/earth. To see the visuals:
1) go to the test listing.
2) copy the "http:.// ... .kml?rand=99" URL of the test to map
3) open Google maps and paste the URL in the search bar

 

wardriving2 wardriving

"GPS timing signals that control the base stations in some cellular networks and other gadgets the size of small refrigerators that power the smart electric grid can fall prey to sophisticated spoofing attacks, according to a University of Texas researcher. Todd Humphreys, an assistant professor at the University of Texas Radionavigation Laboratory, said he successfully spoofed a type of laboratory time reference receiver of the code division multiple access network technology Sprint and Verizon use that relies on GPS time—with a transmitter he built for about $1,000."

Continue reading the Nextgov article.

"Here's a story to send a shiver down the spine of anyone who relies on their GPS sat nav or mobile. Scientists at Cornell University have managed to trick a GPS receiver into accepting signals from rogue transmitters instead of the genuine orbiting satellites."

Continue reading the TechRadar article.