Directions Magazine
Hello. Login | Register

Articles

All Articles | Post Comment

Cruising high seas, engineers detect fake GPS signals

Wednesday, September 3rd 2014
Comments
By Anne Ju
Classified Ads:

Summary:

Spoofed GPS signals fool today's recievers into thinking they are real. But researchers at Cornell have a way to tell which are the real McCoys. The work may make GPS hackubg less of a worry.

Cruising the Mediterranean aboard a superyacht, a Cornell professor and grad student took their Global Positioning System (GPS) research to the high seas. For four days in late June, they tested the newest version of their GPS “spoofing” detector, which allows them to differentiate between real or fake GPS signals – a technology that could lead to protection strategies against insidious GPS hackers.

Brady O'Hanlon, foreground, and Mark Psiaki test their GPS spoofing detector aboard the White Rose of Drachs in June.

Brady O'Hanlon, foreground, and Mark Psiaki test their GPS spoofing detector aboard the White Rose of Drachs in June.

Mark Psiaki, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and graduate student Brady O’Hanlon spent a week aboard the White Rose of Drachs, a privately owned luxury superyacht, testing their second-generation detector as the boat set out from Monaco, cruised around Italy, and eventually landed in Venice.

A spoofer, a device that produces false GPS signals that a receiver mistakes for real ones, was invented at Cornell by Todd Humphreys, Ph.D. ’08, now an assistant professor of the University of Texas at Austin. Humphreys tested his latest spoofer aboard the same yacht last year; this year, Psiaki and O’Hanlon joined for a follow-up experiment to see if they could outsmart the spoofer.

Humphreys’ spoofer and Psiaki’s detector have drawn interest from the public as well as federal government officials, who in 2012 allowed a GPS spoofing demonstration involving a “hijacked” mini drone at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Aboard the yacht in international waters, the Cornell and UT Austin teams were free to conduct their research unhindered; on land, it’s very difficult to get permission to hack a GPS signal, even for research purposes, Psiaki said.

Stationed in different areas of the boat, Humphreys’ team initiated a planned “attack” of the boat’s GPS receiver, overlaying a disguised false signal on top of the real one, and attempting to send the boat off-course without generating any obvious warning signs.

Psiaki and O’Hanlon’s job was to detect these false signals, through real-time analysis of their properties, and to provide protection against a would-be attack by issuing a definitive warning whenever false signal characteristics were uncovered.

The experiments proved the functionality of their second-generation detector and allowed them to pinpoint areas in need of improvement.

In one dramatic test, the yacht’s GPS receiver was spoofed into believing that it was veering off course to Venice and heading to Libya at a very high speed. The Cornell detector was able to warn the White Rose’s bridge crew about the attack before the yacht was 20 meters off course.

The Cornell team set up their GPS spoofing detector on the deck of the White Rose of Drachs to intercept false GPS signals being propagated by a team from UT Austin.

The Cornell team set up their GPS spoofing detector on the deck of the White Rose of Drachs to intercept false GPS signals being propagated by a team from UT Austin.

“We want to progress to the point where not only can we tell it’s a false signal, but we can also say, ‘Here is the true signal; here is the true position,’” Psiaki said.

The owner of the White Rose of Drachs, an anonymous businessman with whom Humphreys became connected through a conference in Austin, allows the boat to be used for scientific purposes during off seasons.

Psiaki will share results about the superyacht experiments at the Institute of Navigation’s GNSS+ conference in September in Tampa, Fla.

Reprinted from Cornell News.


Did you enjoy this topic? Check out these Channels:
Education, Energy and Infrastructure, Location-based Services

Bookmark and Share


Stay Connected

Twitter RSS Facebook LinkedIn Delicious Apple Devices Android Blackberry






Recent Comments

Data Mashups can Help Answer the World’s Biggest Questions

As the world wakes up to the power of data, we need to start working out how to join up all this information. We need to turn it into meaningful findings that will help us to make changes to the way we live. A new technique is emerging as part of this quest – the data mashup. This approach to linking data could help us shed light on phenomena such as the health impacts of climate change....

New high-resolution Satellite Image Analysis: 5 of 6 Syrian World Heritage Sites “Exhibit Significant Damage”
Is GIS Splitting?
What Grade Would Your Homepage Get?
Modeling and Simulation: AEgis Technologies Builds Core Capabilities in Era of 3D
Making Location Work for Smart Cities – the Case for Location Standards
Addresses Spark Debate
GIS is NOT a Load of Garbage
The 2014 NSGIC Annual Conference: States are Focusing on Coordination, Actions and Technology Solutions

DirectionsMag.com

About Us | Advertise | Contact Us | Web Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy
© 2014 Directions Media. All Rights Reserved