Newsletters
News & Information for Technology Purchasers NewsFactor Sites:       NewsFactor.com     Enterprise Security Today     CRM Daily     Business Report     Sci-Tech Today  
   
This ad will display for the next 20 seconds. Click for more information, or
Home Enterprise I.T. Cloud Computing Applications Hardware More Topics...
Neustar, Inc.
Protect your website & network
using real-time information & analysis

www.neustar.biz
GPS & Maps
24/7/365 Network Uptime!
Average Rating:
Rate this article:  
Researchers Hijack Yacht
Researchers Hijack Yacht's GPS, Alter Its Course

By Barry Levine
July 30, 2013 2:14PM

    Bookmark and Share
The research team's efforts suggest that hacking could pose a bigger threat than previously recognized for GPS systems of various kinds of vehicles. For instance, in 2012 Humphreys and a team of students were able to similarly capture a GPS-guided unmanned aerial vehicle or drone. The team has also raised the question of whether large aircraft are similarly vulnerable.
 

Related Topics

GPS
Hackers
Security



To the list of vulnerable technologies, it's time to add shipboard GPS. A research team from the University of Texas at Austin has demonstrated for the first time that a ship's GPS can be tricked.

Todd Humphreys, team leader and assistant professor at UT, told news media that ship captains have "come to trust their electronic chart displays." The onboard chart display tracks unencrypted, civilian GPS signals, but, as this experiment demonstrates, the system is defenseless against counterfeit signals.

Humphreys said that the concept of spoofing a shipboard GPS "has been known for maybe 20 years." The team's briefcase-sized spoofing device, the first publicly acknowledged one of its kind, generates fake GPS signals, which eventually replaced genuine GPS signals received by the custom-built shipboard navigational system on the White Rose of Drachs, a 213-foot, $80 million yacht.

Drones, Airplanes

The purpose of the experiment was to see if such a spoofing attack could be carried out at sea and to determine if the ship could detect the fake signals and the altered path. The experiment indicated that the ship's command system, which will generate an alarm if the GPS signal is blocked or jammed, could not differentiate between a fake GPS and an actual GPS signal.

The research team's efforts suggest that hacking could pose a bigger threat than previously recognized for GPS systems of various kinds of vehicles. For instance, in 2012 Humphreys and a team of students were able to similarly capture a GPS-guided unmanned aerial vehicle or drone. The team has also raised the question of whether aircraft, which are commonly operated via autopilot systems, are similarly vulnerable.

Humphreys said in a statement that, "with 90 percent of the world's freight moving across the seas and a great deal of the world's human transportation going across the skies, we have to gain a better understanding of the broader implications of GPS spoofing." He added that it wasn't clear, until the experiment was performed, how feasible it was to "spoof a marine vessel and how difficult it is to detect this attack."

Turning the Ship

The experiment took place last month on the White Rose of Drachs on its voyage from Monaco to Greece in the Mediterranean Sea. The GPS capture occurred while the yacht was 30 miles off the coast of Italy in international waters.

The team broadcast the spoofed GPS signals from the upper deck of the yacht, and were able to slowly overpower the authentic signals as they took control of the vehicle's navigational system. It's not clear from the team's experiment how feasible it would be to similarly hijack a ship's GPS system from a remote location.

When the team gained control of the navigational system, they were able to subtly steer the ship several degrees from its original course. Each time a location discrepancy was reported by the navigational system, the crew undertook a course correction, but the overall result after many course corrections was a somewhat different path than had originally been planned -- hundreds of meters from its intended route.

Humphreys said that "the ship actually turned and we could all feel it, but the chart display and the crew saw only a straight line."
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

Name:



Neustar, Inc. (NYSE: NSR) is a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information and analysis to the Internet, telecommunications, information services, financial services, retail, media and advertising sectors. Neustar applies its advanced, secure technologies in location, identification, and evaluation to help its customers promote and protect their businesses. More information is available at www.neustar.biz.


 GPS & Maps
1.   Google Starts Street View in Greece
2.   Meet Swarm: Foursquare's New App
3.   Beware: Facebook Shares Your Locale
4.   Street View Exposes CAPTCHAs
5.   Working To Secure Payments Abroad


advertisement
Product Information and Resources for Technology You Can Use To Boost Your Business

Network Security Spotlight
Report: Chinese Hackers Hit U.S. Personnel Networks
Hackers from China broke into the computer networks of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management earlier this year with the intention of accessing the files of tens of thousands of federal employees.
 
Charges: Russian Stole Data from U.S. Restaurants, Zoo
A Russian man arrested on bank fraud and other charges hacked into computers at restaurants in Washington, hundreds of other retail businesses, and even the Phoenix Zoo, authorities say.
 
Another Month, Another IE-Focused Patch Tuesday
Microsoft rolled out 59 vulnerabilities for Internet Explorer in June. But the IE-patching party is not over yet. Redmond published six new security bulletins on Tuesday; two, critical; three, important.
 

Enterprise Hardware Spotlight
Another Day, Another Internet of Things Consortium Is Born
In the emerging Internet of Things, zillions of devices will be talking to each other. Samsung, Intel and Dell just formed a consortium to ensure each thing can understand what others are saying.
 
Gartner Sales Study Sees Tablets Up, PCs Down but Recovering
Are PCs on the comeback trail? That depends on how you define "comeback." While tablet sales remain strong, Gartner's latest study found PC shipments aren't dropping as fast as they did last year.
 
Review: Warming Up to Tablets with Keyboard Covers
If you've ever thought tablets with keyboard covers were just a poor excuse for a laptop, think again. Nokia's Lumia 2520 comes with an optional keyboard cover that just may change your mind.
 

Navigation
NewsFactor Network
Home/Top News | Enterprise I.T. | Cloud Computing | Applications | Hardware | Mobile Tech | Big Data | Communications
World Wide Web | Network Security | Data Storage | Small Business | Microsoft/Windows | Apple/Mac | Linux/Open Source | Personal Tech
Press Releases
NewsFactor Network Enterprise I.T. Sites
NewsFactor Technology News | Enterprise Security Today | CRM Daily

NewsFactor Business and Innovation Sites
Sci-Tech Today | NewsFactor Business Report

NewsFactor Services
FreeNewsFeed | Free Newsletters | XML/RSS Feed

About NewsFactor Network | How To Contact Us | Article Reprints | Careers @ NewsFactor | Services for PR Pros | Top Tech Wire | How To Advertise

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
© Copyright 2000-2014 NewsFactor Network. All rights reserved. Article rating technology by Blogowogo. Member of Accuserve Ad Network.