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College Students Hijack $80 Million Yacht With GPS Signal Spoofing

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the made-a-wrong-turn-in-albuquerque dept.

Security 140

colinneagle writes "A team of students at the University of Texas at Austin built and successfully tested a custom GPS spoofing device to remotely redirect an $80 million yacht onto a different route. The project was completed with the permission of the yacht's owners in the Mediterranean Sea this past June. Because the yacht's crew relies entirely on GPS signal for direction, the students were able to lead the yacht onto a different course without the knowledge of anyone on-board. The GPS spoofing device essentially over-powered all other GPS signals using until the spoofed signal was the only one that the yacht followed. The team then used the GPS spoofing device to convince the ship's crew to redirect onto a different route voluntarily. By changing the signal on the spoofing device, the students led the crew to believe that the ship was drifting off-course to the left. In response, the crew steered the ship to the right, thinking that it would get the ship back on course, when it actually brought the ship off the course entirely."

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No... (-1)

Flozzin (626330) | about a year ago | (#44416777)

Can't really say you directed it on a different route when the owner agrees to let you.

Re:No... (3, Informative)

maliqua (1316471) | about a year ago | (#44416931)

sure you can they clearly state the crew was unaware that its course was being altered by them, by that logic no controlled experiment can ever be considered a success

also this is a re-post from last week c'mon /. pay attention

Re:No... (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44416953)

I'd imagine there's a difference between the owner and the crew when it's an 80 million dollar yacht...

under maritime law the crew can have power (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44416983)

They have the power to due stuff with out the owner saying so.

also this gps hack may of been braking some maritime laws as well.

Re:under maritime law the crew can have power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417933)

They have the power to due stuff with out the owner saying so.

You're the first person I've ever met that can't spell a two letter word. Congratulations.

Re:under maritime law the crew can have power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44418015)

You're the first person I've ever met that can't spell a two letter word. Congratulations.

You're not the first pedant who corrects someone's spelling and does not properly hyphenate a compound adjective.

(Hint: two-letter)

Re:under maritime law the crew can have power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44418361)

Since you want to be pedantic, I'm fairly positive that you've never met him before.

Re:No... (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about a year ago | (#44417643)

Why is that? If the crew were under orders to stay on a course, and this test was able to cause the crew to change course while attempting to stay on their intended course, and even to believe they were following that course.... then I would say they were redirected. Consensually redirected but, its clear, they were not in control.

Re:No... (0)

Flozzin (626330) | about a year ago | (#44417945)

Nor were they intended to be in control. If I'm driving a car and no one told you, and let you believe you were driving the car, that isn't me misdirecting the vehicle, It's you being ignorant of who is in control. The yacht was going on its intended course controled by the people who were given control. The crew were just patsies pressing
buttons and turning wheels.

If you have control of the vehicle, you can't misdirect it is my point. Just because their control was obfuscated doesn't mean misdirection.

Probably would have been clearer if I decided to make my stand on the word 'hijack' instead.

Dupe (4, Informative)

phizi0n (1237812) | about a year ago | (#44416781)

Re:Dupe (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44416959)

I was about to post that myself. A duplicate from Friday. Come on folks, if a couple of casual readers can immediately spot a duplicate post, can't the editors? This has gotten ridiculous.

Re:Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417019)

This has gotten ridiculous

New in town sailor?

Re:Dupe (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44417127)

Editors?

Are you new here?

slashdot has never had any editors, they have people that click on things randomly. Think million monkeys on a million keyboards.

Re:Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417247)

HAHAHA

theres like 3 monkeys and a ferret and 2 keyboards they have to fight for. your lucky when these articles even use language.

Re:Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44418665)

theres like 3 monkeys and a ferret and 2 leopards they have to fight for

Monroe was right, it is 100% better.

Re:Dupe (4, Interesting)

RedBear (207369) | about a year ago | (#44417069)

It may be a dupe, but I distinctly remember reading post after post on that article from apparently knowledgeable people explaining in great detail how this whole "GPS spoofing" thing was supposedly nearly impossible or at least highly impractical. I am very much interested in having someone explain how these people have managed to accomplish something that is supposedly not doable.

Seems to me this represents a valid threat to the safety of using civil GPS navigation systems, on land or at sea. Most of the posts on the previous article seemed to indicate that GPS is NOT threatened at all. I am unable to rectify these two opposing points of view without further input from knowledgeable people.

Re:Dupe (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44417145)

It is taking advantage of a poor GPS antenna design. IF the GPS antenna was shielded from ground signals (it would also create a smaller circle of sky to see, but that is not a problem with the number of birds up there) this spoof would have failed unless they were in an aircraft above the yacht.

Re:Dupe (4, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#44417333)

It may be a dupe, but I distinctly remember reading post after post on that article from apparently knowledgeable people explaining in great detail how this whole "GPS spoofing" thing was supposedly nearly impossible or at least highly impractical. I am very much interested in having someone explain how these people have managed to accomplish something that is supposedly not doable.

Seems to me this represents a valid threat to the safety of using civil GPS navigation systems, on land or at sea. Most of the posts on the previous article seemed to indicate that GPS is NOT threatened at all. I am unable to rectify these two opposing points of view without further input from knowledgeable people.

Except well, you have to override the receiver of all satellites it can see. Like here, they had to overpower the GPS satellites (it's not hard), but they also had to maintain the lock.

It's a lot more difficult If you want to misdirect a whole fleet of vehicles because the satellite signal has to follow everyone and in a sensible fashion. If you really wanted to take down GPS, it's far easier to just do a blanket jamming of it than to try to follow each and every vehicle you want to misdirect and aim the antenna at them.

GPS works by sending a timing pulse from the satellite to the ground - the receiver gets 3 or 4 of these timing pulses, correlates them to figure out how far each satellite is and then uses the spheres to find its location. Each receiver should generally come to a unique solution for position (because well, no two objects can occupy the same space).

If you broadcast this fake signal out, eventually someone will notice when their GPS suddenly gets a fix hundreds of meters away from them (each unit gets a slightly different signal from the satellite - when they all get the same signal, they all show the same location,). So it works great if you're in a fleet of trucks following some route, but if you're a bit further spaced out, the solution doesn't work so well and each will need its own antenna and transmitter to come up with plausible location information.

And that's the problem - it doesn't scale. The technique works if you want to misdirect a ship, a drone, a plane, or whatever, but to misdirect multiple requires multiple transmitters in order to send plausible yet fake data to each individual unit. It still is far easier to simply broadcast garbage on the GPS band so no GPS receiver can get a lock.

Re:Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417535)

The technique works if you want to misdirect a ship, a drone, a plane, or whatever, but to misdirect multiple requires multiple transmitters in order to send plausible yet fake data to each individual unit. It still is far easier to simply broadcast garbage on the GPS band so no GPS receiver can get a lock.

Simply jamming the GPS means the crew or drone operators will have to switch to an alternate navigational method. This allows you to direct them into a trap or ambush without them knowing it.These are two different things, it does not matter which is easier.

Re:Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417709)

"...when they all get the same signal, they all show the same location..."

Except that it would be impossible for them to all get the same signal unless they WERE in the same location. The GPS signal carries the time of transmission. Each receiver calculates distance by comparing that to the time of reception. The only way multiple receivers can derive the same position is if they are in the same location.

Re:Dupe (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417373)

The story was that a single vanilla GPS receiver could be spoofed by providing it with a louder signal which overrides the real signal from the satellite constellation.
    Such a signal can be provided by GPS test equipment which is designed to create such a signal for use in a lab.

There is probably no reason the change the GPS system to 'fix' this.
Instead, when it matters, there are ways to harden the GPS receiver to prevent this from causing harm.
        Use directional antennas to make sure the signals are coming from the correct direction.
        Watch for unexpected jumps in signal strength.
        Use other inputs to cross check the results. (Compass, log, and a lookout come to mind.)
        Use multiple receivers spread in space and correlate their results.
        Doing combinations of the above (defense in depth.) should frustrate most spoofers.
                  But nothing is perfect, a loud enough jamber will always be able to deny access to the signal.
                    But at least the receiver should know there is no valid signal.

The lesson from the story is an old one.
      When navigating, trust but verify your information sources.
            GPS works so well that we tend to forget this.
                  The nice guy from Texas reminds us that this is unwise.

Re:Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417381)

well this "article" doesn't exactly explain that either. it just says that the students did vs. claim it can be done. but the video is some fucking rendering? seriously, could we have some actual fucking footage of the feat ? the video in the article is useless, displaying the theory of how it might happen.

were they really running a transmitter transferring simulated feed from 3-4 satellites and knew where the actual position was at beginning of the run for the boat? were they running it from the boat, from airborne? had a gps simulator hooked up direct to the gps antenna? does it work on all gps receivers - no probs with time? did receiver show any anomalies, ie. "seeing" less sats than usual?

this particular article though gets extra points for mixing spoofing with jamming, the other instances in the case are jamming rather than spoofing incidents, which itself isn't much of a feat.

Re:Dupe (1)

Natales (182136) | about a year ago | (#44418065)

Particularly bad timing since just today the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that foreign airlines are now asked to use GPS for landings at SFO [sfgate.com] . What could possibly go wrong?

dangerous and illegal (-1)

cstacy (534252) | about a year ago | (#44416793)

Difficult to believe they committed so many dangerous crimes and are bragging about it; "permission from the owner" (who apparently was not even aboard) does nothing to mitigate this. Therefore difficult to believe the story is true. Even though people are idiots....

Re:dangerous and illegal (1)

pipatron (966506) | about a year ago | (#44416895)

Care to cite some of these crimes, or are you just venting?

Re:dangerous and illegal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44416947)

Dangerous? It is not dangerous to redirect a yacht, provided you don't trick it into dangerous waters. Which they did not. The owner's permission means there were no problems with wasted time/fuel either.

And what crime? They disturbed only one ship - with the owner's permission. The gps frequencies may be protected in many jurisdictions - but not all. And then there are international waters where you can do such things anyway.

Re:dangerous and illegal (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year ago | (#44417805)

And then there are international waters where you can do such things anyway.

Um, if the ship was flagged in the US, I believe that the FCC still has a say about what goes on even in international waters. At the very least the ITU might think it has some jurisdiction over the jamming/changing of GPS frequencies. Nobody may care, but they could legally do something if they did.

Re:dangerous and illegal (1)

Stephenmg (265369) | about a year ago | (#44416997)

Illegal? How do you figure? What country has jurisdiction? Dangerous only if they guided the yacht into unsafe waters. Completely relying on GPS is very unsafe.

Re:dangerous and illegal (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year ago | (#44417857)

I'd call it something else. Reliance on GPS alone is more than just unsafe, it's foolish and stupid.

I thought that ships "captains" where licensed, and as part of that was a demonstration of basic navigation techniques using maps, a watch, sextant and some charts. Consider even your EYES as a navigation tool if you are following a series of markers out of port.

Hooking up the auto pilot to the GPS and hitting "go" while you head off to the aft deck for a party is just plain dumb.... Trusting your GPS to get you someplace and not having any other way to figure out where you are is going to get you shipwrecked eventually.

Re:dangerous and illegal (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#44418811)

Regarding the sextant; it's not really used any longer. It's like a slide rule, it's a niche thing that a small group still make use of, but most just don't bother to learn let alone make use of.

Re:dangerous and illegal (2)

pla (258480) | about a year ago | (#44417027)

Difficult to believe they committed so many dangerous crimes and are bragging about it

Care to name a few? Specifically?

Keep in mind they didn't physically disable the ship's controls, they just lied to it about its current location. The crew on board still had every possible means available to them to maneuver the ship away from any threats that may have appeared.


"permission from the owner" (who apparently was not even aboard) does nothing to mitigate this.

Of course it does! He, and only he, gets to decide where his boat should go next. And the very fact of his involvement mitigates most of your mythical "dangerous" argument, since presumably the owner wouldn't have let them redirect it over, say, a giant rock just below the surface. Or into pirate-filled Somalian waters. Or across national boundaries that might get them into a pissing contest with various countries over imaginary lines on the map.


Perhaps more to the point - You can't trust GPS to get you to your destination. Period. This story demonstrates an active attack on that, but the crew of any vehicle always needs to have a backup plan available at a moment's notice. If you really want to point fingers here, try the ship's navigator who somehow failed to notice that reality didn't match his charts.

Re:dangerous and illegal (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44417171)

"He, and only he, gets to decide where his boat should go next. "

Wrong. 100% wrong. The owner has no say in it at all. the CAPTAIN of the boat does. In international waters the owner of that ship has no say what so ever. The captain has 100% say.

Re:dangerous and illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417267)

The captain has 100% say.

And what the captain says usually agrees with what the owner wants, if the captain wants to keep his job.

In fact there are limits on what the captain can do with the ship without the owner's authorization.

Re:dangerous and illegal (1)

pla (258480) | about a year ago | (#44418071)

Wrong. 100% wrong. The owner has no say in it at all. the CAPTAIN of the boat does. In international waters the owner of that ship has no say what so ever. The captain has 100% say.

You've seen a few too many cheesy movies.

In theory, that sounds great - Only the captain knows the real conditions affecting his vessel at any given moment; and it romantically hearkens back to an era when they didn't have things like "global weather reports" at least reasonably accurate for the next few hours.

In practice, try it today (in the absence of a life-threatening emergency) and see how long you remain a free man. Or since that won't happen (since we both count as arm-chair braggarts, ARRR!), show me case law where a captain, with no good reason, decided to go somewhere else, the owner pressed charges, and the court found the captain not guilty by reason of the-captain-can-do-whatever-the-hell-he-wants.

Re:dangerous and illegal (4, Insightful)

shipofgold (911683) | about a year ago | (#44417199)

Perhaps more to the point - You can't trust GPS to get you to your destination. Period. This story demonstrates an active attack on that, but the crew of any vehicle always needs to have a backup plan available at a moment's notice. If you really want to point fingers here, try the ship's navigator who somehow failed to notice that reality didn't match his charts.

The scary bit is whether the navigator even knows how to read charts any more. Or do dead reckoning or celestial navigation.

The transportation industry is relying more and more on technology and less on human knowlege to get from point A to point B. GPS, Airline Autopilots and Instrument Landing Systems, train automation are all making significant in-roads to the point that the humans on board are just blindly trusting it.

I foresee the auto industry going in the same direction. I tease my kids that their kids will not know how to drive a car. Indeed my kids have never looked at a paper map.

Re:dangerous and illegal (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year ago | (#44417891)

I tease my kids that their kids will not know how to drive a car. .

Yep, bet they have never seen a manual transmission too.

You know the best theft protection these days is a clutch..

Re:dangerous and illegal (1)

quacking duck (607555) | about a year ago | (#44418923)

I tease my kids that their kids will not know how to drive a car. .

Yep, bet they have never seen a manual transmission too.

You know the best theft protection these days is a clutch..

That's pretty region-specific... mainly North America, where manuals made up only 7% of sales in early 2012 [cnn.com] . And anyone targeting cars specifically would know how to drive stick, unlike say robbers trying to commandeer a running car as part of their escape (happened locally a few years ago).

Re:dangerous and illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417131)

I am sure the illegality of this would deter Somalian pirates from using it.

Re:dangerous and illegal (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44417151)

Please tell me what crimes were committed in INTERNATIONAL WATERS.

What earth laws? because no country has any jurisdiction at all so what laws you are thinking of are silly ramblings of an uneducated person.

Re:dangerous and illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417393)

Please tell me what crimes were committed in INTERNATIONAL WATERS.

I don't know exactly how this spoofing was carried out so none of this may be applicable. From what I understand if you were broadcasting a harmful radio signal in international waters then a ship from a nation harmed by your signal does have jurisdiction according to what I remember of the UN law of the seas convention.

Re:dangerous and illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417513)

Please tell me what crimes were committed in INTERNATIONAL WATERS.

FTA:

That is, the students created a device that sent false GPS signals to a ship, overrode the existing GPS signals, and essentially gained control of the navigation of an $80 million yacht in the Mediterranean Sea.

There is no portion of the Mediterranean Sea that is consider "high seas" or outside of a national jurisdiction. Pollution policy is dictated by the Barcelona Convention. The GPS spoof may violate the laws covering wireless communications of the nation that claims the region in which the vessel was operating.

The fact that the owner of the vessel gave permission is immaterial since the master of the vessel is legally responsible for the operations of the vessel.

Re:dangerous and illegal (1)

Kjella (173770) | about a year ago | (#44417517)

What earth laws? because no country has any jurisdiction at all so what laws you are thinking of are silly ramblings of an uneducated person.

Pot, meet kettle. The waters are international, the ships are the territory of the flag they're sailing under and the flag state laws apply. This is for example true for all crimes committed on board, but also the usual rules of "What if you stand on the Canadian/Mexican border and shoot someone in the US?", short answer they'll need to extradite you but you'll be trialed under US law. Same thing if you shoot at a vessel under US flag in international waters and kill someone, you just committed a crime under US jurisdiction. If disrupting the GPS signal is illegal in the US mainland it's probably illegal to do the same to a vessel under US flag, unless the regulations specifically limit themselves to US territorial waters or restricts itself to regulating broadcasters in US territory, not signals received - a small but crucial distinction in such "border" disputes.

They did this in tomorrow never dies (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44416811)

and that was a step up to the military ones.

Re:They did this in tomorrow never dies (2)

Anubis_Ascended (937960) | about a year ago | (#44416865)

Was just about to post this *shakes tiny fist*

Re:They did this in tomorrow never dies (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417111)

Inventor: "I've invented a teleporter capable of sending living humans thousands of miles at the speed of light!"
Slashdot: "phht, Star Trek did that in the 60's"

reality != fiction.

Well, Duh! (5, Funny)

zmollusc (763634) | about a year ago | (#44416829)

Of course you can spoof wireless signals, that is why I ran cat6 to my GPS sats. Even if a solar EMP thing destroys the circuitry I can get a pretty good approximation from the slack in the cable.

Re:Well, Duh! (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about a year ago | (#44418639)

As an added bonus, you can use the cable as a space elevator.

Moral: learn basic seamanship (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#44416837)

kinda like how the Asiana pilots should've learned basic flying skills and not rely on auto-throttle all the time.

Or like how our school districts want to buy an iPad for every student even though they can't read or memorize a basic multiplication table.

Re:Moral: learn basic seamanship (0)

maudface (1313935) | about a year ago | (#44416941)

Pfft, I can barely handwrite and have never bothered memorising a multiplication table, I also have a Masters degree in CS and a well paying job. It's just a shift to a more relevant platform to teach with, certainly more relevant than pen and paper.

I've little doubt that your school district is indeed profoundly unwise with their policies, but adopting new tech isn't to blame there, the issues are more fundamental than that.

Re:Moral: learn basic seamanship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417041)

If you've never "bothered" memorizing a multiplication table, the how the fuck do you know the answer when someone asks what the answer of two numbers multiplied together is? Anything more than 3x3 gives you a 2 digit answer, so you what, think "um, 3 + 3 + 3 + 3" makes, um "6 + 6" makes, um "12" yeah.

What about 11x11? How the heck can you call yourself a Computer Scientist and yet be oblivious about the fact you HAD to have memorized the damn thing just to pass math classes?

Re:Moral: learn basic seamanship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417123)

You don't have to memorize it, it's quite easy to do the multiplication on paper if you can't in your mind.

Arithmetic and mathematics are different (1, Offtopic)

lisaparratt (752068) | about a year ago | (#44417147)

Not really, you can get quite far by learning to multiply by 2 and 10, divide by 2, and add and subtract. Learning the squares is quite useful, too. Not quite as quick as rote memorisation, but not everyone's suited to being a conformist drone. I got the highest grade going in my mathematics exams right up until college with such basic techniques.

I don't know about you, but I don't get many people stopping me on the street to demand I perform simple multiplication. Even if I did, I'd tell them to JFGI.

Being a computer scientist was probably half the problem - when you've been programming from age 5, it becomes abundantly clear that the how and why of mathematics are important, and not the mere implementation detail of arithmetic.

Re:Moral: learn basic seamanship (1, Insightful)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year ago | (#44417185)

Easy, just visualize it as an area. If you play with numbers enough you realize there are certain properties that can be exploited to get answers quickly to math problems that are intuitive.

Here's a hint. The usa does not have a good education system. They don't teach you how to learn because they don't understand learning. Memorization is always a symptom of not understanding the why of anything. Another hint, other cultures have developed answers to life that are better than what the west has come up with.

Re:Moral: learn basic seamanship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417305)

They don't teach you how to learn because they don't understand learning.

Close. They don't teach you how to learn because they (different values of "they" have different reasons, but it all amounts to the same thing) don't want you thinking for yourself; they want you to swallow the current party line/advertising slogan/popular sales trend.

Re:Moral: learn basic seamanship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417683)

They don't teach you how to learn because they don't understand learning.

Close. They don't teach you how to learn because they (different values of "they" have different reasons, but it all amounts to the same thing) don't want you thinking for yourself; they want you to swallow the current party line/advertising slogan/popular sales trend.

That's not entirely true. They want you to develop useful skills, which is a subset of learning. The main problem is they're using methods that were largely designed around a manufacturing economy, where "being on time", "following directions", and "attention to detail" were the most relevant skills for the majority of the population.

So all lessons are formatted around going to a place at a specific time, being given directions which you then follow on your own and are graded based on how closely your results adhere to the desired results, even when the subject matter is poorly suited to that format.

Re:Moral: learn basic seamanship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417577)

Just curious, where was USA ever brought up? Because as an American, and product of the public school system, I was never taught to memorize multiplication tables. I was taught to understand how multiplication was done. As a result, I have difficulty doing any multiplication more than single digit in my head, but give me a piece of paper and a pencil and I'll multiply till the day is done.

I hope autodrive cars can be messed with like this (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44416841)

Right turn ahead to an dead end.

Tomorrow's News Today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44416851)

Now all we need is a stealth boat [wikipedia.org] and we're all set to re-enact a Bond movie. [wikipedia.org]

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44416853)

I saw a documentary about this involving the British Navy and a media tycoon.

It's okay, this is illegal (1)

watermark (913726) | about a year ago | (#44416887)

I think we're going to be okay because this is illegal. It doesn't matter that it was done far away from Texas, US laws apply everywhere.

yacht, yach (1)

Werrismys (764601) | about a year ago | (#44416943)

It seems that it is basically the same technology to be used on a 700€ rowboat.

$80 million (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#44416991)

So the value of the yacht is a critical value in this experiment, If I only buy an $8 million dollar yacht I will be immune?

We have seen that over reliance on GPS is a problem. I have lead astray following Google maps using GPS. Although I can imagine some applications in hijacking oil tankers and the like, I would hope that such vessels would have secondary systems.

I can see this as a countermeasure against drones.

Re:$80 million (1)

jodosh (1260096) | about a year ago | (#44417099)

Normally GPS issues that people face aren't problems with the GPS but rather with the mapping data used. The GPS is giving good data, but the maps are out of date or incorrect and lead you the wrong way. Notable exceptions to this would be in places like New York, where the large buildings cause multipath issues and the GPS module doesn't have good data.

Re:$80 million (1)

PRMan (959735) | about a year ago | (#44419137)

As a person who corrects GPS data all day long I can assure you that the GPS does NOT always give good data. There are many zeroes and astronomical values to ignore.

Re:$80 million (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44417183)

Yes, this only works against high dollar boats because their GPS gear is diamond encrusted and plated in gold.

The gold plating is the key to the whole thing.

Good thing you can't fool a compass! (1)

cnaumann (466328) | about a year ago | (#44417045)

Oh wait.

If you spend $80M, buy a sextant. (1)

Apuleius (6901) | about a year ago | (#44417047)

And spend the money on it BEFORE you install the jacuzzi.

Re:If you spend $80M, buy a sextant. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417321)

Just the basic compass. So you may see the "real" heading.

Always use multiple sources of information (2)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | about a year ago | (#44417057)

Not a skipper, but I do fly. If I was on the bridge, at some point I would have noticed that the Magnetic compass heading was not matching the GPS heading.

There are many different GPS-like systems available now. Glonass is the Russian version and has been available for a long time. Also the EU has Galileo coming on line real soon now. Also heard about both China and India developing their own. Units that can rely on multiple sources would definitely be harder to spoof.

If you feared that you were under GPS spoof attack while using the GPS on your phone, you could fairly easily detect this by writing an app that compares the GPS heading with your magnetic heading.

Re:Always use multiple sources of information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417197)

If you have malicious intent on sea or in air, you can make the deviation small enough to just drift some extra instead of N to E direction..
Also even if you have GPS+GLONASS they are still just signals, and are easily spoofed with higher signal effect etc...
Unless they start with some form of verification, but i bet they only use that in the military specs and will never release those to public..
Until someone creates an disaster and force the goverments to release better signal position systems that are atlease harder to spoof...

Re:Always use multiple sources of information (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about a year ago | (#44417337)

Not a skipper, but I do fly. If I was on the bridge, at some point I would have noticed that the Magnetic compass heading was not matching the GPS heading.
 

With currents and winds pushing yer ship around it rarely does. If done subtly enough it may well have been difficult to catch even if someone had been paying attention.

Re:Always use multiple sources of information (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about a year ago | (#44417723)

Speaking as a long time sailor, you can average a heading when the seas are rough. Basically I know I want to be on a 20 heading, but waves are tossing me around between 260 and 280, but I keep a general course in mind. Even a GPS system (non-spoofed) will move a bit in rougher seas. Bear in mind this relates to smaller boats. Yachts, large vessels tend to not swing so much so matching compass heading to GPS as a cross check works.

I commented on the other post a similar thought, that spoofing a GPS for a ship is not a danger because the time frame to effect change is too long to have an impact on the high seas. A good navigator will cross check positions (compass or even celestial) to ensure they are on course. Once they get close to land then they can navigate by dead reckoning off land marks and/or navigation buoys. Spoof a GPS near land and most captains will just turn it off and go back to what worked for centuries.

Airplanes could be much mroe effected in short time frames, but I also feel they have redundant systems to cross check. Bottom line, spoofing a GPS may be acool trick, but not a danger to people in general.

Re:Always use multiple sources of information (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#44418119)

Back in the before times, I was on a flight to England. I asked if I could visit the cockpit. While there (they have a fabulous view, by the way), they showed me the navigation console. It showed three positions: Inertial guidance, GPS, and VOR? If one was seriously out of whack with the others, it would have been readily apparent. Ships too have multiple nav systems.

Re:Always use multiple sources of information (1)

Bucc5062 (856482) | about a year ago | (#44418421)

And while they did not point it out, they still had a compass somewhere on the panel. Lucky to get that view. Just once I had a chance to sit up front in a DC-8 and it was amazing.

Re:Always use multiple sources of information (1)

complete loony (663508) | about a year ago | (#44418479)

On a phone, I doubt the magnetic heading is accurate enough.

Niantic@Google is screwed (1)

Krojack (575051) | about a year ago | (#44417077)

Not only are (some) rooted people spoofing in the Ingress game, now you can do it with overriding the GPS signals.

I'm safe from this type of attack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417153)

Luckily, I don't have an $80 million yacht...

FAA orders pilots on SFO approach to use GPS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417163)

On unrelated not,e FAA just orders pilots on SFO approach to use GPS for landing,

Re:FAA orders pilots on SFO approach to use GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417227)

http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/FAA-Tells-Foreign-Pilots-to-Use-GPS-When-Landing-at-SFO-217338431.html

wouldn't the spoofer be piloting blind? (1)

TerraFrost (611855) | about a year ago | (#44417209)

Presumably the person doing the spoofing would be piloting blind since their GPS would be effected just as much as the target's GPS?

If so then it seems like GPS spoofing would be of limited usefulness unless you just wanted a ship or plane or whatever to get lost and expend all it's fuel in the process.

Re:wouldn't the spoofer be piloting blind? (1)

Calydor (739835) | about a year ago | (#44417287)

GPS is not the only way of navigating at sea. Compass, for instance, would be a quick and easy way of making sure you are on course yourself.

There is also a difference between GPS blocking and GPS spoofing. If you are spoofing, and you know that you are shifting the signal by, say 30 degrees west, then you can make corrections to your own course based on that knowledge.

Time for a revision to L2C, L1C & L5 messages (2)

tibit (1762298) | about a year ago | (#44417213)

I think it's time for a revision to the L2C, L1C and L5 civilian GPS specifications. Right now all signals, if/when present (some are at demo stage only), transmit a default message with no navigational data. It seems to me that messages on those signals should use public cryptography techniques to verify the authenticity and integrity of navigational data. It is feasible to do so, since L2C, L5 and L1C all use a packetized format and to-spec receivers must ignore unknown packets. Thus a cryptographic signature packet can be added in a fully backwards-compatible fashion. Properly done, this prevents spoofing of the navigational data, including preventing replay attacks. It should be sufficient to pretty much end spoofing once and for all.

Re:Time for a revision to L2C, L1C & L5 messag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417439)

Not a GPS expert, but I do know a little bit about crypto. :-) I assume GPS is broadcast, not a unicast / synchronous protocol.

I am not sure if this is a solution, unless you can be sure that the receiver doesn't receive the original signals. A spoof attack is really just replying the signals with different timing or direction, right? The signal *would* be authentic, just would be delayed or or from a different angle. (Think single time replay.) The problem here is that the element you care about -- the timing data of the signal itself -- wouldn't actually be protected by the key itself, since the data is based on local observation.

(This all assumes the attack relies on replying identical signals with offset timing, not modifying timestamp data in the signals themselves.)

I think if I were designing a system for use by the military, I'd reverse the direction -- i.e. have the groundstation send up an inquiry, and have the response come back *with* the timing data for the requester. Combine this with public key crypto, and its fairly unbreakable. Unfortunately, it would require strong transmitters, and wouldn't scale terribly well, since every such unit would require a satellite uplink. But, if you're designing for the military -- or perhaps even civil aviation, its the way to go.

Btw, for civil uses, the use of ground stations (lots of them -- perhaps at each cell tower) would do a long way to address the scalability considerations for a request/response system.

Re:Time for a revision to L2C, L1C & L5 messag (2)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about a year ago | (#44417469)

I think it's time for a revision to the L2C, L1C and L5 civilian GPS specifications.
It seems to me that messages on those signals should use public cryptography techniques to verify the authenticity and integrity of navigational data. ...
It should be sufficient to pretty much end spoofing once and for all.

You don't need to be able to generate false signals to defeat GPS. Fixes are based on time of flight of signals. Simply altering propogation delay is sufficient.

Re:Time for a revision to L2C, L1C & L5 messag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44418701)

>I think it's time for a revision to the L2C, L1C and L5 civilian GPS specifications.

Sure, all that will take is replacing the entire GPS satellite constellation. Hope you have a few hundred billion dollars of money just laying around..

Fuck you slashdot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417237)

The price of the yacht has nothing to do with this! Fuck you slashdot and your stupid god damn headlines!

Also, fuck you yacht owners for only having GPS navigation. Something of that kind of money could run what Ethanol-Fueled (tm) was talking about on that other story about dead reckoning with sonar or something. Or a fucking sextant.

Spoofing stars with fake satellites (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417259)

Is there any technical details on the yachts gear? Were they using RAIM?

Piracy (1)

Stargoat (658863) | about a year ago | (#44417297)

Lends a whole new meaning to the term computer piracy. Yarr.

Aren't cruise missiles guided by GPS? (1)

Streetlight (1102081) | about a year ago | (#44417397)

If the answer is yes then the students' device may be a useful countermeasure. Other munitions and military airplanes may also be guided by GPS. I would guess there's some kind of encryption in military applications, but not sure. Imagine a shooting war using GPS guided military things and the opposition had one of these countermeasure devices and sent the munitions back to where they came from. So much for high tech guidance of military equipment.

Re:Aren't cruise missiles guided by GPS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417609)

GPS is but one of several systems used by most cruise missiles.

Military has and does use GPS, but there are very, very few people - let alone systems - that would rely on it.

Re:Aren't cruise missiles guided by GPS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417823)

Answer : No.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPS_signals#Military_.28M-code.29

BTW : In case of a blown out war, no civilian has access to GPS any longer. That's one of the reasons the Europeans (Galileo) and the Russians (GLONASS) are building their own systems. Precision is another one. GPS is less precise for civilians.

Poor seamanship (2)

n0w0rries (832057) | about a year ago | (#44417421)

Any helmsman worth his salt would have noticed a change in the direction of the swell, the sun, moon, stars, compass, so I would say the crew was not standing a good watch if they weren't properly observing their environment.

Re:Poor seamanship (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44417737)

Not everyone has CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow's compass.

Or, to put it less excitingly... (1)

perceptual.cyclotron (2561509) | about a year ago | (#44417461)

Man given wrong map goes to wrong place. Full story at 11.

GPS spoofing is interesting, sure. But it ain't new, and the application here isn't exactly a mind-blowing revelation of the technique's potential...

Mecca (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year ago | (#44417515)

So that's how they get all those pilgrims to Mecca... they have a network of massively powered GPS transmitters around the world that try to redirect everyone to Saudi Arabia.

Explains why you hear those stories about people getting directed to drive into bodies of water.

Wow.. (1)

GigaBurglar (2465952) | about a year ago | (#44417879)

Ground breaking..

Shiver me timbers... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44418333)

Fat chance trying such a trick with Long John Silver aboard!

Avast Ye!! Come to me Horn!! (1)

Robert Novak (2967705) | about a year ago | (#44418949)

I come fer yer booty!! And if ye be trying to steer clear of me piratey waters, Aye'll call the GPS sirens on ye!!

This has been done before... (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | about a year ago | (#44419433)

Iran hijacked a US drone [wikipedia.org] back in 2011 doing this

LORAN? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44419563)

kinda off topic but...does any one still use LOng RAnge Navigation? http://www.loran.org/

Just asking.

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