Spotlight

MIT Technology Review: Hijacking Satellite Navigation, October 2008

“The Global Positioning System (GPS) lies at the heart of an increasing number of technologies, from vehicle navigation systems to the power grid. And yet, although the military version of GPS includes security features such as encryption, civilian signals are transmitted in the clear. Now, researchers at Cornell University and Virginia Tech have demonstrated a relatively simple way to fool ordinary GPS receivers into accepting bogus signals using a briefcase-size transmitter.”

Continute reading the MIT Technology Review article.

Dr. Humphreys Briefs National PNT EXCOM Advisory Board, October 2010

Washington, D.C. — Dr. Humphreys briefed the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Executive Committee (EXCOM) Advisory Board on civil GPS spoofing. His presentation, “Spoofing the Timing Signal: What Else is Vulnerable? Understanding Potential Impacts to Infrastructure,” highlighted the Radionavigation Lab’s radionavigation security research including the RNL civil GPS spoofer (video) and a proposal for GNSS message authentication.

Civil GNSS Security Spliter Meeting, September 2010


Background: The Global Positioning System has been a marvelous success over the past three decades. One consequence of this success is a deepening dependence of the civil infrastructure on GPS—especially for timing synchronization. As civil dependence on GPS grows, the potential for financial gain or high-profile mischief combine to make denial or manipulation of GPS a clear and present risk. European researchers and officials are as concerned about GNSS security as their U.S. counterparts. The launch of Galileo will not solve the navigation and timing security problem because, like civil GPS, the Galileo open service—projected to be by far the most commonly used—will be susceptible to jamming and spoofing.


Goals: European and U.S. researchers and interested observers met in Portland, Oregon in Sepetember 2010 to discuss civil navigation and timing security threats and strategize about (1) how policymakers and manufacturers can be persuaded to take these threats seriously, (2) how to identify effective countermeasures, and (3) how to promote adoption of effective countermeasures.


MeetingParticipants and Agenda

Opening Remarks: Todd Humphreys, The University of Texas at Austin

Overview of Vulnerability: Terence McGurn, consultant and PNT EXCOM Advisory Board member

Unique challenges involved in practical civil GNSS security: Todd Humphreys, The University of Texas at Austin

VideoSpoofing a Time Reference Receiver and Phasor Measurement Unit

Proposals:

Discussion Notes (provided by Brent Renfro, ARL)

Dr. Humphreys Interviewed on BBC Radio Show “The Naked Scientists,” May 2010

Dr. Humphreys talked with the BBC radio show, “The Naked Scientists,” about potential GNSS vulnerabilities.

Helen: So this sounds to me a little bit like when we had computers and we didn’t yet know anything about computer viruses. Almost that there’s a potential for someone to come along and mess around with the GPS and potentially cause some problems. But so far, we’re okay and the idea is that we should be pre-empting those problems

Todd: That’s right and the analogy with computers is a good one. There was a time, perhaps 20 years ago or more when we didn’t have to worry about computer security. But that time has passed and now we’re realizing that we must also pay attention to navigation and timing security.

Read or listen to the entire interview.