GPS “spoof” could let terrorists hijack ships, planes

GPS “spoof” could let terrorists hijack ships, planes

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Texas: A team of GPS experts at the University of Texas used a laptop, a small antenna and an electronic GPS “spoofer” built for $3,000 to take control of the sophisticated navigation system aboard an $80 million, 210-foot super-yacht in the Mediterranean Sea. The team was out to prove that GPS flaw could let terrorists hack ships and planes.

By feeding counterfeit radio signals to the yacht, GPS expert Todd Humphreys and his team at the University of Texas was able to drive the ship far off course, steer it left and right, potentially take it into treacherous waters, even put it on a collision course with another ship. All the time, the ship’s GPS system reported the vessel was calmly moving in a straight line, along its intended course. No alarms, no indication that anything was amiss. “We injected our spoofing signals into its GPS antennas and we’re basically able to control its navigation system with our spoofing signals,” Humphreys told the media. Captain Andrew Schofield, who invited Humphreys and his team aboard to conduct the experiment told the media that he and his crew were stunned by the results. Humphreys told the media that the easiest “spoof” is to slowly slide a vessel onto a parallel course. Over time, the compass might read the same heading, but the ship could be far from where the crew thinks it is. “You’re actually moving about a kilometre off of your intended track in a parallel line and you could be running aground instead of going through the proper channel,” Humphreys said. And because aircrafts have a similar navigation system, Humphreys says a commercial airliner could be “spoofed” as well. Last year, Humphreys was able to feed “spoofing” signals into the drone’s GPS, causing it to nearly fall out of the sky. As a result, Humphreys was called before Congress to testify, and also spoke with officials from the CIA and Pentagon. This latest experiment takes Humphreys’ research to a whole new level.

Source: Fox News