Feeds

back to article GPS spoofing countermeasures: Your smartphone already has them

There's suddenly a lot of panic about GPS satellite navigation spoofing, and BAE Systems among others would like to sell the military some tech to resist it. But in fact, most modern smartphones already have strong countermeasures against this sort of thing. UK-headquartered but largely US-based BAE's latest grab for government …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Mushroom

Have

Apple filed the patent for it yet?

8
0
FAIL

Re: Have

Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) is a guidance kits, which have been around for about 20 years already are GPS spoofing-proof. JDAM kits contain an integrated inertial guidance system coupled to a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver. Inertial guidance systems cannot be jammed, although they do suffer from integration errors. Other military munition "GPS" systems are also inertial + GPS.

1
0
Silver badge

I use paper maps (AAA is a *good* thing).

My cell-phone is an eleven year old Nokia 5185, sans GPS.

Seems to work quite nicely, at least this side of the Rockies :-)

3
18
Anonymous Coward

Re: I use paper maps (AAA is a *good* thing).

I kill my food with hand-knapped flint blades, I live in a log cabin and I wear only natural fibres.

All this newfangled "technology" and "synthetic fibres" and "agriculture" you modern fools use will avail you not one bit come the end times.

17
0
Bronze badge

Re: I use paper maps (AAA is a *good* thing).

Paper maps work without batteries as well...

3
0
Anonymous Coward

The Rise of the Neo-Luddites

My phone is shitter/older/less feature rich than your phone

11
0
Bronze badge
Stop

Re: I use paper maps (AAA is a *good* thing).

GPS != Mapping

Of course, the output from a GPS module can be fed directly into a mapping application giving the user a real time pointer to their current location on the map.

1
0
Silver badge
Devil

Re: The Rise of the Neo-Luddites

My map is mostly blank, apart from a 'X' and some text at the bottom about 'here be monsters'.

Could be Seattle, could be Cupertino; can't tell.

2
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: The Rise of the Neo-Luddites

> Could be Seattle, could be Cupertino; can't tell.

Slough.

Vic.

2
0
Silver badge
Thumb Up

Re: The Rise of the Neo-Luddites

> Slough.

Nah, Rotherham.

Always in the news, and not in a good way.

2
0
Silver badge
Stop

Re: I use paper maps (AAA is a *good* thing).

I use paper maps, my TomTom GPS, Google maps on my phone, a printout of the Google directions, and a handwritten summary of the important bits from the directions. I intend to not spend hours being lost.

So what's your point?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: I use paper maps

"I use paper maps, my TomTom GPS, Google maps on my phone, a printout of the Google directions, and a handwritten summary of the important bits from the directions..."

...Ands that's just when he goes to the kitchen!

3
0
Silver badge

@AC 10:08 (was: Re: I use paper maps (AAA is a *good* thing).)

Thing is, I *can* and have killed food with hand-knapped obsidian blades. I have a log cabin (built by my Great Grandfather in 1890ish, added onto by me twenty years ago using the same techniques). The wife & I teach a "shearing to socks and shirts" class twice a year.

In reality, I use a humane killer on my livestock, the log cabin is our "get the fuck out of reality" space, and I purchase most of my clothing at Sears. I do grow nearly all the vegetables we use here at the Ranch, though.

The difference between you and me is that I not only know how it's done, but I can, and actually do it ... and teach how, for people interested. There is no "ap" that substitutes for getting your fingers dirty.

2
10
Silver badge

@AC 10:11 Re: The Rise of the Neo-Luddites

The desk phone at my elbow is an early 1950s Western Electric rotary-dial telephone. It was the first telephone my Father ever payed the lease on. It still makes and receives telephone calls, even during power failures, which is all I want a telephone to do. Hopefully $TELCO won't kill pulse-dialing on land-lines any time soon ...

But you seem to have an issue with single-tasking tools, AC. Care to explain why?

0
4
Silver badge

@AceRimmer (was: Re: I use paper maps (AAA is a *good* thing).)

I have a built-in real-time pointer to my location on the map. It's called a brain.

1
4
Silver badge

@hplasm (was: Re: The Rise of the Neo-Luddites)

Get your eyes off the technology & roll down your window to observe reality.

Seattle is dampish & smoggy. Cupertino is dryish & smoggy.

1
5
Silver badge

@Gene Cash (was: Re: I use paper maps (AAA is a *good* thing).)

My point is that you would probably have a boat-load more cash in your jeans if you had ever taken a simple "navigation 101" course.

The only time I use electronics for navigation is in the air, and on open water. On the road, it's hardly useful, much less necessary. I can't remember the last time I was more than a street or two off course.

0
5
Anonymous Coward

Re: @Jake

I'm not sure if you've actually read enough articles on here to realise Jake but The Register is a Tech Publication. That means they write about and attract people interested in technology. It is not an antiquated contraptions and ranching publication. Yet, almost every post you make has to reference one or the other.

Do you go on to the BMW owners forums and tell them how great your bicycle is and how rubbish their cars are?

The article in question isn't even about smart phones, except as a reference to the fact they the already perform a function which BAE is trying to lever into the military market. Yet still you jump on here "bragging" about owning an old nokia. Who cares? Its not even relevant to the discussion.

4
1
Silver badge

@AC 09:07 (was: Re: @Jake)

You don't think that producing food & clothing is technology? The mind boggles.

I'm not bragging about the old Nokia. I'm just pointing out that it does exactly what I expect a telephone to do, which is place and receive telephone calls.

As a side-note, mr/s techno-buff, I'm "jake", not "Jake". Computers tend to be literal.

1
7
Anonymous Coward

Re: @Jake

Food? Clothing? I didn't mention either

Computers are literal, people are not and despite appearances otherwise, I trust you are a person

1
1
Silver badge

@AC 09:50 (was: Re: @Jake)

So, AC 09:50 ... Which AC are you, exactly? Some AC or another mentioned food & clothing ... which are technology, regardless. You're not that AC? OK ... Maybe create a handle that the rest of us can actually get a grasp of who you are and reply to on a one on one basis?

Remember, I'm "jake", not "Jake" ... Might be hard to grok, but think about it.

0
4
Anonymous Coward

Re: "The difference between you and me..."

Is that I am humourous and you are presumptuous.

And often tedious.

4
0
Anonymous Coward

@Jake 09:44

My dining table does exactly what I expect a dining table to do and doesn't convert into a snooker table.

Whoopie doo!

0
0
Silver badge

Re: I use paper maps (AAA is a *good* thing).

Only problem is paper maps have this annoying tendency to grow more inaccurate as time passes. Oh, because roads get built, demolished, resurfaced, restructured. Many a driver has gotten lost because the T-intersection they were supposed to find is now a four-way because the road got extended. Or because the map says take the first on-ramp, not realizing a new onramp was just added in front of that one--going THE OTHER WAY.

0
0
Bronze badge

Not just Google, I have an old Nokia phone which does this sort of secondary location fixing from the radio signals.

The slightly scary thing is that my Android tablet seemed to know where my Wi-Fi router was. Was it Streetview passing by? Or can they get into from my broadband provider?

1
1
Silver badge

They could have easily got it from you.

Have you ever had your wifi and GPS turned on at the same time?

Did you check the option to say you're willing to share the wifi positional data is acquires with google? (You can change your mind by going into location settings and unchecking the "use wireless networks" and then checking it again. It asks for confirmation each time).

Then again, even if you didn't, someone else walking past (doesn't have to be a streetview car) could easily have been.

It's actually a useful feature. It allows the device to locate your initial (vague) position very very quickly. A cold start on GPS can take half a minute or so without it, which is a damn long time when you're sat at the front of a queue of traffic trying to work out where you are.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Read the T&Cs

> my Android tablet seemed to know where my Wi-Fi router was

Yes, you agreed to that somewhere in the 73-page terms & conditions that appear when you first use location on an Android device.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Read the T&Cs

Um, actually it's a really straightforward and obvious option in the settings. Google are certainly evil for many reasons, but this particular item couldn't be more plain as day. You can choose whether you use it or not.

0
0

@Dave Bell

That was a Streetview car passing by, or someone with an Android phone and location services enabled. In fact, it was probably several people doing the latter.

Google probably have some quite precise maps of wifi hotspots throughout most of Europe and the US.

1
0

Re: @Dave Bell

"Google probably have some quite precise maps of wifi hotspots throughout most of Europe and the US"

I wish they'd tell us where they were so we could find free wifi internet easily when abroad.

2
1
Silver badge

Re: @Dave Bell

It doesn't have to be free wifi. It can pick up the location from WPA2 protected hotspots even if you don't know the password.

0
2
TRT
Silver badge

Re: @Dave Bell

It even picks up non-SSID broadcast WiFi, WiFi with ACLs, any encryption standard...

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: @Dave Bell

In the hope of avoiding unnecessary concern, Apple and Google (and probably others) are taking the MAC address and the location details and associating the two. As a WLAN AP will always broadcast it's MAC address, ACL's and setting the "hidden" bit won't stop these details appearing unless you turn off the radio or AP.

They may well be adding SSID information, but I would hope they filtered this to just agreed providers.

1
1
Anonymous Coward

@ the blackhand

It's = IT IS

0
0
Joke

Typically 'Mercans

come in years after it was started and claim it's a new thing.....I can see the SER-FUJ-HP-Atos directors salivating at the prospect of bidding for another ring fenced pork barrel

0
2
Silver badge

Re: Typically 'Mercans

BAe Systems. Formerly British Aerospace, still has its headquarters in the UK. American?

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Typically 'Mercans

There are more BAe Systems employees in the US than in the UK.

There is more BAe Systems revenue in the US than in the UK.

You can check this in any Annual Report for the last few years.

Plus whenever I visited sites like Warton, the "UK employees" always included significant numbers of US citizens "temporarily" working in the UK.

All in all, I think that makes them not very British.

1
0
Happy

Drones

Two flaws in the story

1) Encrypted or not it can be spoofed

2) The US drones where defiantly using just the GPS for navigation.

Both proofs come from the Iranians landing a drone using GPS spoofing.

4
4
Ru
Silver badge

Re: Drones

I wouldn't trust what the Iranians have to say any more than I'd trust what the US says back.

From what the Iranians have said so far, they could have gained the same information from shooting down a drone or waiting for a drone to fail by some other means and salvaging its equivalent of a black box from the wreckage and cobbling together a basic model of its airframe out of plywood and larger bits of debris.

3
1
Silver badge

Re: Drones

'1) Encrypted or not it can be spoofed

2) The US drones where defiantly using just the GPS for navigation.'

These facts were clearly stated in the article.

2
2

Re: Drones

The Iranians displayed a complete, undamaged drone, explained how they brought it down, and revealed other bits of on-board info including mission data, past service history etc to prove their point. And tellingly, the US has not denied that what the Iranians say is plausible/possible.

The simplest conclusion, therefore, is that they did, indeed, bring it down as they say. Any other explanation is currently not as likely. Remember this is a nation on the brink of independently developing nuclear weapons, with a very high level of technological expertise. It's worth taking what they say very seriously.

Two conclusions:

1. Whether or not it's possible to encrypt GPS usage so that it cannot be spoofed, the current US attack drones don't do so.

2. On-board data stored in the drone's computers is obviously not adequately encrypted.

Neither of these conclusions are surprising, since the whole point of drones is that they can be developed and deployed quickly and cheaply. But I'd be very surprised if there wasn't a fast scramble in the US to sort out their encryption.

3
1
Anonymous Coward

@ AC101

The drones were defiant?

The end is nigh, I tell you!

2
0
Black Helicopters

Re: Drones

The simplest conclusion, therefore, is that they did, indeed, bring it down as they say. Any other explanation is currently not as likely

maybe they just bought one....

US defence biz fined for busting China arms embargo

0
0
VV
Thumb Down

Flawed

"uses other transmissions, such as TV and cellular sites, to confirm a location fix"

Except that during a war, those are normally wiped first.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Flawed

Plus even if not, do the US/Europe have well mapped locations of such signals in Iran/North Korea?

0
0
Silver badge
Happy

Jamming rifle

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/22/gps_jammers_rife/

0
1
Silver badge

ok

how about a backup system, celestial guidance? Inertial tracking? Surely the drones know roughly where they are and have inertial equipment onboard? GPS should be a check not a primary solution! If ICBMs could roughly know where they are then surely a drone could.

0
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Having been rear-ended by people texting ...

I bought an accessory for my motorcycle, in HongKong, that set me back the equivalent of 29 pounds whixh jams all cell and GPS frequencies including 3G.

It's small enough to fit in my under-seat storage and the antennae are fairly inconspicuous.

In the city the range is approximately just over a 100 metres (tested against cells and a GPS receiver). In the open country/highways things get much better. As our CGST (highway police) use speed traps with GPS attached and speed checking is far shorter distanced with a plastic bodied motorcycle/motorscooter, than a huge blob of steel in the form of a car or truck (lorry). Without GPS readings the courts will not accept speeding tickets. The GPS reading is on the picture along with the time, date, compass direction and speed.

I suspect BAE's wet dream could be as easily defeated.

4
20
Anonymous Coward

Re: Having been rear-ended by people texting ...

"I bought an accessory for my motorcycle, in HongKong, that set me back the equivalent of 29 pounds whixh jams all cell and GPS frequencies including 3G."

So you're saying that when you have an accident and you - or somebody else - is lying in the road, unconscious and bleeding to death, nobody can call the emergency services? And all so that you can roar through speed cameras above the legal limit, most likely causing the aforementioned accident? Moron. You don't deserve an ambulance.

25
2

Re: Having been rear-ended by people texting ...

Also don't see how this avoids the texting problem anyway - you don't need signal to be reading/writing a text.

7
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.