Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Raise Uncomfortable Questions by Showing How GPS Navigation Devices Can be Duped

24.09.2008
Just like flat-screen televisions, cell phones and computers, global positioning system (GPS) technology is becoming something people can't imagine living without. So if such a ubiquitous system were to come under attack, would we be ready?

It's an uncomfortable question, but one that a group of Cornell researchers have considered with their research into "spoofing" GPS receivers.

GPS is a U.S. navigation system of more than 30 satellites circling Earth twice a day in specific orbits, transmitting signals to receivers on land, sea and in air to calculate their exact locations. "Spoofing," a not-quite-technical term first coined in the radar community, is the transmission of fake GPS signals that receivers accept as authentic ones.

The Cornell researchers, after more than a year of building equipment and experimenting in Rhodes Hall, presented a paper on their findings at a meeting of the Institute of Navigation, Sept. 19 in Savannah, Ga.

To demonstrate how a navigation device can be fooled, the researchers, led by Cornell professors Paul Kintner and Mark Psiaki, programmed a briefcase-size GPS receiver, used in ionospheric research, to send out fake signals.

Paper co-authors Brent Ledvina, Cornell Ph.D. '07 and now an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Virginia Tech, and first author Todd Humphreys, Cornell Ph.D. '07, described how the "phony" receiver could be placed in the proximity of a navigation device, where it would track, modify, and retransmit the signals being transmitted from the GPS satellite constellation. Gradually, the "victim" navigation device would take the counterfeit navigation signals for the real thing.

Handheld GPS receivers are popular for their usefulness in navigating unfamiliar highways or backpacking into wilderness areas. But GPS is also embedded in the world's technological fabric. Such large commercial enterprises as utility companies and financial institutions have made GPS an essential part of their operations.

"GPS is woven into our technology infrastructure, just like the power grid or the water system," said Kintner, Cornell professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Cornell GPS Laboratory. "If it were attacked, there would be a serious impact."

By demonstrating the vulnerability of receivers to spoofing, the researchers believe they can help devise methods to guard against such attacks.

"Our goal is to inspire people who design GPS hardware to think about ways to make it so the kinds of things we're showing can be overcome," said Psiaki, Cornell professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

The idea of GPS receiver spoofing isn't new; in fact, the U.S. government addressed the issue in a December 2003 report detailing seven "countermeasures" against such an attack.

But, according to the researchers, such countermeasures would not have successfully guarded against the signals produced by their reprogrammed receiver.

"We're fairly certain we could spoof all of these, and that's the value of our work," Humphreys said.

Anne Ju | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.cornell.edu
http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Sept08/GPSSpoofing.aj.html

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Ultra-precise chip-scale sensor detects unprecedentedly small changes at the nanoscale
18.01.2017 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

nachricht Data analysis optimizes cyber-physical systems in telecommunications and building automation
18.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Algorithmen und Wissenschaftliches Rechnen SCAI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika

23.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>