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back to article Seoul plans anti-GPS jamming system to thwart NORKS

South Korea is finalising plans to track down and block GPS jamming signals emitted by its increasingly belligerent northern neighbour. Unnamed official government sources told Yonyap news agency that the GPS surveillance system would be co-ordinated by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning. However, relevant …

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Anonymous Coward

You can buy one to upset the tracker in your van ;-)

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Bob Marley

If the South start jamming the GPS jamming, then the North may begin jamming the jamming jamming.

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Happy

Re: Bob Marley

Jam-ception

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Norks - Serious or not

Does anyone on El Reg have any "valid" knowledge of whether or not the Norks are really serious or if this is just a world media stunt.

Do they really possess firepower or are they just throwing their dummies out of the pram in order to gain attention ?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Norks - Serious or not

Does anyone on El Reg have any "valid" knowledge of whether or not the Norks are really serious or if this is just a world media stunt.

Not sure anyone but the Norks know that one for certain.

They possess enough firepower to make things unpleasant for South Korea and some of the local neighbourhood. Anything they do have that could strike at a longer range is pretty much untested, so might or might not work.

David Cameron recently made a speech in which he alluded that the UK might be at risk of attack, though I think he must either have been confusing NK for someone else (they don't have the range) or referring to British troops overseas (some of whom almost certainly will be in range)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Norks - Serious or not

I was thinking yesterday, what if the North Koreans fired one towards Europe and it fell short, into Iran!

Some Americans seem to be getting excited at the prospect of a massive nuclear attack if the North Koreans fire a single nuclear missile but I think it is more likely that the Americans will just destroy most of their weapons and military infrastructure with conventional weapons - I don't think the 'bunker busters' have been used in anger yet so need testing.

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Re: Norks - Serious or not

Khaptain,

If anyone really knows anything, they're not saying. There have been enough defectors, and the stalemate has gone on long enough that I'd be surprised if the South don't have at least some decent intelligence sources up North by now (and by that I don't mean Barnsley...).

All the publicly available analyst types are busy writing pieces for the paper. Some of them being very definite as to what the correct policy is. But almost all of them admitting that they don't really know what the Norks' strategy is (or if they even have one). Publicly it's the usual mix of what they've done in the past, and doubts as to whether Kim Jong Un is actually in charge, just a puppet for others, or is struggling to fight off internal rivals. But then they were saying that about Kim Il Sung as late as the middle of the last decade, and now everyone seems to think he was in total charge, and his Dad had snuffed it in the early 90s - and Kim Jong Il got at least a decade of being named successor.

In the past they've made lots of threats, and done the nuclear or missile tests, then taken concessions in the talks/negotiations that followed (mostly food and fuel aid), then broken the deals but kept the goodies. Lots of the analysts seem to agree that they want direct talks with the US, and security guarantees and a treaty from them. Presumably on the grounds that they don't recognise the South as a legitimate government. But for diplomatic reasons it would be difficult for the US to do that, and upset the South. So I don't know if that's what they really want, or they're just setting a condition to get the US to humiliate the South, just so they can break the deals anyway.

They've got a huge army, but it's probably not too well trained. They spend most of their time doing manual labour. According to one defector they used to love the annual tension around the joint South-US military exercises. They went on full alert, so no digging ditches or working in the fields, and they got full rations too. So will the army be well motivated? Most of the Iraqi army didn't fight, for example. Doesn't matter how much propaganda you go in for, eventually most people are going to realise their country is horrible - and become cynical. Maybe that's already happened, in which case it might not be that awful. Or maybe the propaganda works, and most people do believe that the rest of the world is even worse than NK? Depressing thought if true. But as even their horrible standard of living has dropped since the 80s, I find that hard to believe. The South spend more on defence than the entire DPRK economy, and that's well under 3% of the South's GDP.

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Re: Norks - Serious or not

I think they are just pissing in the same water they are standing in.

Interestingly, if they wanted aid, and weren't being apish simpletons, any number of countries would be likely to help them into the modern era.

But no, no one here has any valid knowledge, because we aren't upper-echelon NK military types.

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Re: Norks - Serious or not

But they don't want to be brought into the modern era. That would mean giving people some freedom, and probably revolution. The Chinese Communist Party has managed to keep in charge, despite modernising the country, but no-one else have managed it so far. And it's probably a different dynamic for North Korea, because of South Korea. They're much richer, and the more contact there is, the more attractive just re-joining the South is going to look.

Anyway, their current choice is nukes or aid. And they seem obsessed with keeping their nukes. They don't seem to have realised that having 1-10 nukes that you can't actually use doesn't make you a nuclear power, it makes you a target. Do they even have their nukes small enough for air-dropping yet? Which will depend on what planes they have available.

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Re: Norks - Serious or not

it is unlikely china will let anything happen. China will not want a US "peacekeeping" base setup in their back yard. Whilst NORK has plenty of boots it has very little else. If NORK start anything then all of a sudden the US will launch many many tomahawks at pretty much every strategic item they have. Then they will invade and set up a nice base to monitor everything. SOK will want to make sure the NORK government comply and all will be well again.

china wont want this at all.

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Re: Norks - Serious or not

Do they even have their nukes small enough for air-dropping yet?

Irrelevant. Even the most bang[1] up to date stealthy bombers are deer in the headlamps of the detection kit, missiles and fighters of the more modern armed forces. I doubt Kimland has anything that advanced, so unless they've not only got 'em but also got an absolute shitload of 'em, I doubt any would get anywhere near their intended targets.

[1] Oops. Sorry.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Norks - Serious or not

"Do they really possess firepower or are they just throwing their dummies out of the pram in order to gain attention?"

They have some missiles but it is unclear how reliable they are, particularly the longer range ones. Nobody believes they have integrated viable nuclear weapons with any delivery technologies, such as missiles. They could probably do the same as the Iraqis and launch some rockets at South Korea and Japan, potentially with some unpleasant payload (radioactive, chemical or biological).

The Norks are reckoned to have about 7000 conventional artillery pieces dug into positions just their side of the DMZ. Although South Korean and US forces could probably eliminate these in a matter of days, this artillery would be able to make a nasty mess of Seoul in the meantime.

The snag is. nobody really knows what the NK leadership are thinking. Maybe they believe their own propaganda (that their military is the most powerful in the world). Maybe all this is mostly for domestic consumption, to justify ongoing hardship to North Korean citizens and/or maybe they hope to win concessions from South Korea and the USA. The defectors are likely to tell stories that will impress their new friends but unless they are from the ranks of the NK leadership, they probably have no more idea about the NK leadership's intentions than the rest of us.

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Re: Norks - Serious or not

" I don't think the 'bunker busters' have been used in anger yet so need testing."

Rest assured the bunkers which NORK brass hide in are located well underneath the ones full of starving NORK civilian humand shields.

We know what happened last time the USA dropped something on one of those.

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Anonymous Coward

Meh..

If the NK's keep playing themo-nuclear chicken, Pyongyang is going to become a smoldering radioactive wasteland... probably wiser to invest the money in NBC suits! ;)

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'The Mouse That Roared' (film 1955)

"The tiny (three miles by five miles) European Duchy of Grand Fenwick, supposedly located in the Alps between Switzerland and France, proudly retains a pre-industrial economy, dependent almost entirely on making Pinot Grand Fenwick wine. However, an American winery makes a knockoff version, "Pinot Grand Enwick", putting the country on the verge of bankruptcy.

The prime minister decides that their only course of action is to declare war on the United States. Expecting a quick and total defeat (since their standing army is tiny and equipped with bows and arrows), the country confidently expects to rebuild itself through the generous largesse that the United States bestows on all its vanquished enemies (as it did for Germany through the Marshall Plan at the end of World War II)."

Source: Wikipedia

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Re: 'The Mouse That Roared' (film 1955)

Didn't Fenwick come out on top in the end?

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FAIL

Re: 'The Mouse That Roared' (film 1955)

Yes - they inadvertently stole the prototype Q-bomb, and being the most powerful bomb in existence, the American surrendered.

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@ Soruk Re: 'The Mouse That Roared' (film 1955)

Don't give away the ending !

If cunning plan succeed, half of the US not already owned by Samsung will soon belong Beloved Leader.

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Mushroom

No way to stop NK being a serious threat.

NK may not have a missile that can carry an atom bomb, but they could take the bomb by ship to an isolated part of the coast, put it in a hired lorry and drive to the capital. You might have radiation detectors around the capital that would give the government time to take shelter, but it'd probably be too late for the population.

Alternatively, they could raise an awful lot of hard currency by selling a bomb to someone wealthy in the middle east. Those bombs really need to be tracked constantly. This really is the stuff of nightmares.

I bet there's an awful lot going on behind the scenes, including offensive actions by the US and allies. All we can tell is that NK are mad as hell for a reason or just mad. Either way, don't underestimate the damage that they can do.

As for the GPS, thinking aloud, you can't suddenly replace all the commercial receivers on vehicles in service, and I guess any active jamming cancellation for their benefit would require the jamming signal to be predictable in nature and make things worse non-locally.

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Flame

Re: No way to stop NK being a serious threat.

At a time where the meltdown of finance in various locations seems to be an imminent threat, it could be useful to play a diversionary theater somewhere else.

I assume the Norkies are paid some way or the other to play the "dangerous bogeyman". In reality, they would commit self-murder if they did anything remotely serious. Their threats are 100% useless.

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Stop

Re: No way to stop NK being a serious threat.

"NK may not have a missile that can carry an atom bomb, but they could take the bomb by ship to an isolated part of the coast, put it in a hired lorry and drive to the capital. You might have radiation detectors around the capital that would give the government time to take shelter, but it'd probably be too late for the population.!

You're missing context. What exactly would terrorist-style bombing someone's harbour achieve for the North Koreans, apart from giving the entire planet a Casus Belli?

Additionally, NK nukes are currently smaller than the Hiroshima one. Setting it off in a ship's hull, in a harbour isn't going to be as dramatic and as devastating as you probably imagine.

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Is There Proof Of Nork Nuke At All ?

Has anyone except the Norks any proof of them actually having detonated a nuke ? You can easily stuff 500 tons of TNT into a mine, attach a proper detonation system to that and let it go off.

Then issue a press release "we, the mightiest of the might and our allmighty leader have just detonated a nuclear bomb".

So far I have not heard of any real proof that still holds.

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Mushroom

Re: Is There Proof Of Nork Nuke At All ?

Read this: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/nuke/RL34256.pdf

So far no irrefutable proof of a nuclear device detonated. It could be all bluff and some wasting of TNT.

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Re: Is There Proof Of Nork Nuke At All ?

The last even that was a possible underground nuclear test was somewhere between 6 and 14kt yield... that's an awful lot of conventional explosives, but it isn't totally implausible that somewhere like NK might attempt to fake a nuclear explosion this way.

Normally you get all sorts of interesting fission byproducts lofted into the air after a test... the recent Xenon-133 scare suggested that the Norks had the real thing, but that claim was retracted pretty sharpish.

The Norks can almost certainly produce their own plutonium from spent fuel rods, though they might not be able to do Uranium enrichment themselves. Chances are that they can make a nuclear bomb, but that's not the same as being able to create a useful nuclear weapon (the Tsar Bomba for example, had more in common with a building than a warhead).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No way to stop NK being a serious threat.

War generates research, industry and growth, look what happened in the US after the invasion of Iraq, beforehand the global economy was on the cusp of recession. Personally I hate this trail of thought, but the results between 2003-2008 are undeniable, of course there was the hangover after (credit crunch and the US deficit).

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WTF?

Re: Is There Proof Of Nork Nuke At All ?

(the Tsar Bomba for example, had more in common with a building than a warhead)

I'd be interested to hear how you airdrop a building from a Tupolev 95V.....

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Mushroom

Re: Is There Proof Of Nork Nuke At All ?

Building = Portaloo or Shed. Now if the norks could make a cloaked shed shaped bomb.......

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How Exactly Is This Going To WORK ???

Methinks this piece is Very Shoddy Journalism Indeed. Because:

A) GPS satellites are very far away from the receiver (20000 kilometers)

B) GPS satellites transmit a weak signal, as satellites cannot have arbitrarily strong transmitters for several reasons, the most important being that they need an energy source to supply that power.

C) A rather simple and unsophsiticated Jammer of about 10W can overpower the genuine Signal on a rather large area of land quite easily. Attach the jammer to a physical noise source and place it on a hill to make it especially nasty.

Just copying the assertion that you can "defend against jamming" is hilarious in the face of the points above and in the face of the fact this is a tech journal. You could at least have taken time to discuss this with the local ham radio folks.

The only feasible "defence" I can think of would be

I) hit the GPS jammer with something like a HARM missle. Not good if you don't want to risk serious deadly exchanges.

II) Attach the highest-gain antenna you can get hold of to the GPS device. Ie. a parabolic antenna. Then, develop a computerized device to point that antenna towards the GPS sats. Not exactly a nice solution and it won't work for these 10 million GPS devices consumers have bought. Finally, the jamming party can always increase the power level of their jammers to something like 1kW and then they will overpower the legitimat signal via the sidelobes of the high-gain directional antenna.

GPS is very much a brittle piece of of crap that can be disabled by every electrical engineer and the dog in the bedroom of the engineer's mom. Let's just stop our self-delusion.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How Exactly Is This Going To WORK ???

Simple:

1: Use some direction finding techniques (google ARDF if you're curious).

2: Repeat from another location.

3: Triangulate to find out where the jamming is coming.

4: Send in a ton of strawberry preserve to smother the source. (hence jamming the jammer).

5: Resume normal service.

OR

4: Use the newly identified source as a point of reference for further triangulation of your own locations.

OR

Don't rely on GPS anyway - as the article mentioned, there are other techniques and technologies for finding your position. These range from using any and all detectable radio signals for triangulation through to sinply looking at the stars.

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Re: How Exactly Is This Going To WORK ???

the strawberry preserve needs to be hot though. Nothing is more lethal than hot jam. Hot jam in a toasty is the stuff of nightmares.

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Thumb Up

Re: How Exactly Is This Going To WORK ???

It's like napalm, but smells nicer.

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NORK: Latest news exclusive

Reports are coming in that masses of North Koreans have been ordered to get their dogs to poo on the ground near the border and then flip the waste over the border fence.

Is there no end in sight to these provocations from the short, fat one?

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Re: NORK: Latest news exclusive

I think the NORKs ate most of their dogs already.

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Re: NORK: Latest news exclusive

They ate the dogs already.

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Joke

LightSpeed

"GPS-jamming detection, meanwhile, is offered by a range of firms including the UK’s Chronos Technology."

And LightSpeed Communications.....

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