Growing number of GPS jammers a threat to infrastructure


The growing use of GPS jamming devices and the availability of low-cost ones are a serious concern, says Bob Cockshott, director of position, navigation and timing technology for the ICT Knowledge Transfer Network. Beyond its use for positional assistance, GPS signals are used by mobile phone towers and some electrical grid systems for time-keeping. As such, the interference created by these jammers could result in disruption of mobile service as well as electrical outages.

Ars Technica published an article on the topic following a new study that reveals the use of GPS jammers in the United Kingdom--which is illegal. Speaking to Ars Technica, Cockshott talked about "a large number" of low-power jammers designed to work with power sockets in cars. Moreover, more sophisticated attacks designed to prevent calls from being handed from one cell tower to another are also possible, though there is no evidence at the moment that hackers have achieved this level of sophistication.

Vehicle rental companies use GPS to ensure that rental terms specifying geographical regions or speed limits are adhered to. It's also heavily used by trucking companies to monitor the locations of their fleet.

The Register also pointed out a more sophisticated threat that entails the spoofing of GPS signals. Hackers could convince a tracking device in an armored security van that everything is proceeding normally to mask a robbery, or they could falsify the timestamp of a financial transaction in order to pull off some shenanigans in the markets.

For more:
- check out this article at Ars Technica
- check out this article at BBC
- check out this article at The Register

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