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GPS Spoofing

October 22, 2008

Researchers demonstrate how GPS receivers can be led astray.


Giving a GPS a bum steer…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The GPS receivers found in cars, cell phones, and all kinds of devices could be vulnerable to a new type of attack. That’s according to Paul Kintner, director of Cornell University’s GPS Laboratory. He and colleagues recently demonstrated how a GPS receiver could be programmed to send out fake signals, in order to spoof a navigational device nearby.

Spoofing is making a GPS receiver think it’s somewhere else or moving at a different velocity or having a different time than it actually is. And it’s doing it in such a way that the receiver does not know it’s being spoofed or attacked.

Kintner says fortunately, there’s no evidence that spoofing is being done now. But he hopes the study will encourage manufacturers to put security measures into their GPS receivers before the spoofers catch up. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.