back to article How do you sing 'We're jamming and we hope you like jamming, too' in Russian? Kremlin's sat-nav spoofing revealed

Misinformation coming from Russia isn't merely an internet phenomenon; it also affects navigation systems. In a report [PDF] issued last week, the Center for Advanced Defense (C4ADS), a data analyzing non-profit, documents a series of attacks, attributed to Russia, designed to block or interfere with signals from the Global …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure its not a problem for the military, the GPS system actually has 2 systems, 1 encrypted one that the military originally used with very high precision, and the public unencrypted version that had "Selective Availability" to smear the exact location for a long time.

    The military could use the encrypted version anytime, and any interference would just be ignored as its signals would not be validly encrypted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      AFAIK

      Most interference systems overwhelm the signal, so the original is not detected. So harder to protect against.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        @AC Re: AFAIK

        Most interference systems overwhelm the signal, so the original is not detected. So harder to protect against.

        Uhm not really.

        The spoof requires that you feed in fake data. If the signal is encrypted and you don't know the key, you can't really spoof the signal, only jam it.

        And jamming the signal isn't enough.

        There are other ways to ascertain your position in the event of a loss of GPS.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: @AC AFAIK

          Jam both the encrypted, and non-encrypted parts of the signal, and then broadcast your spoofed (unencrypted) signal. I'll bet that most receivers will fall back to using the unencrypted signal if that's all they can receive, and most probably won't even alert the user. Even if the special military GPS goes down, your average squaddie will just pull out their mobile and use the GPS on that.

          And sure, people can always fall back to a map and compass, but if their GPS looks like it's working they'll probably follow that, or at best, spend some time trying to work out which navigation methods they can rely on. Being able to delay and confuse an enemy is useful.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Jam and spoof

            Pretty hard to Jam and spoof but there are those that manage to suck and blow so who's to say.

            When it comes to water navigation GPS is only one tool in constant use. GPS has to match readings from Depth Sounders and other instruments.

            Most interesting is when these various readings do not agree which happens often enough that the lost of GPS or GPS errors do not cause accidents. Well not for those ships who actually have a navigator.

            1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

              Re: Jam and spoof

              When it comes to water navigation GPS is only one tool in constant use. GPS has to match readings from Depth Sounders and other instruments.

              That seems unlikely since there is very few detailed maps of ocean floors, sea floor depth changes all the time due to tide and shifting sea floor ,depth sounders are inherently inaccurate and it is hard to correlate a depth point onto a accurate position

              Even if that was the case, if there was a choice between GPS inaccuracy and depth data, most navigators would believe their GPS over other data

              Of course there used to be the LORAN chain for navigation close to coasts, but that was dismantled many moons ago.

              Deep ocean navigation has always been an issue. For example for dynamic positioning system where

              a ship is expected to hold station at a fixed point, you could hope to close to say an oil rig and use a laser to measure the range, drop a long wire to the sea bed and measure the deflection angle, or position sounders around the boat at set intervals. However none of these work in really deep ocean meaning GPS is basically your only method of accurate position measurement

              For navigation in deep ocean you have two choices GPS or the old sextent and sun method, however talking to a friend who is a tanker captain he says that most new cadets are so used to GPS, that most of them can hardly hold a sextent.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: Jam and spoof

                >When it comes to water navigation GPS is only one tool in constant use.

                Which is why competent navies require their crews to be able to navigate anywhere with only charts and sightings/soundings.

                One interview with a captain, we don't rely on markers either, if the enemy is blocking GPS we assume he has the good sense to move the channel bouys as well.

              2. Killing Time

                Re: Jam and spoof

                'if there was a choice between GPS inaccuracy and depth data, most navigators would believe their GPS over other data'

                Really?? So they would ignore the data they couldn't verify by the mark one eyeball in favour of blindly following GPS data they potentially could roughly and quickly validate?

                Done much marine navigation have you?

                1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

                  Re: Jam and spoof

                  Really?? So they would ignore the data they couldn't verify by the mark one eyeball in favour of blindly following GPS data they potentially could roughly and quickly validate?

                  Done much marine navigation have you?

                  No but I do work for a company that makes marine navigation systems. Does that count?

                  a) There are no markers in the deep ocean

                  b) Human nature being what it is, they will take the word of a computer rather than common sense. This is why you hear of lorry drivers getting stuck under bridges when following there sat nav

                  1. Killing Time

                    Re: Jam and spoof

                    @hammarbtyp

                    Yeah but it's not all about deep ocean is it? You have to come into port and that is where depth and position is critical. I would posit there is a higher amount of traffic in coastal waters.

                    Your lorry driver analogy is pretty derisory of professional navigators in terms of ability and capability. Day sailors and Gin Palace drivers maybe and if they wish to ignore depth data then more fool them.

                    1. hammarbtyp Silver badge

                      Re: Jam and spoof

                      Yeah but it's not all about deep ocean is it? You have to come into port and that is where depth and position is critical. I would posit there is a higher amount of traffic in coastal waters.

                      No doubt, but coastal waters make up a very small part of the worlds oceans and you don't have to be very far from land to not see it at all. Most of the world trade follows the shortest route across oceans, which generally involves being out of site of land for days. So apart from pleasure boats, most ships require to navigate without any land reference. GPS is not greatly used in port because there is a plethora of other navigation aids and the need to see and avoid other craft is a priority. Also most ships are piloted by a local expert when coming into port

                      Your lorry driver analogy is pretty derisory of professional navigators in terms of ability and capability. Day sailors and Gin Palace drivers maybe and if they wish to ignore depth data then more fool them.

                      Its not an insult, just a statement on human behavior that we are more likely to believe technology than our own sensors. I can point to airline pilots, who also are well trained, who have crashed because they refused to believe their own senses over what their instruments are showing them. There is a tendency to always doubt yourself over the supposedly inhuman precision of the electronic overseer. Most of the time that is a good thing, however the danger if someone deliberately jams or falsifies the data, then it becomes an issue.

          2. johnfbw

            Re: @AC AFAIK

            Have you ever tried navigating with GPS when not on a road? It is often easier just to go back to old fashioned map reading

            1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

              Re: @AC AFAIK

              "

              Have you ever tried navigating with GPS when not on a road?

              "

              Yes, both in fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. Also when trekking in Nepal. No problem navigating whatsoever. Perhaps you were using a vehicle GPS which will try to "correct" its GPS position to put you on the nearest road?

    2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Facepalm

      It's not necessarily about understanding the signals you receive, but about being able to receive them at all. Hence jamming rather than spoofing. No amount of encryption will enable you to receive a signal that's below the noise floor.

      1. Frank Rysanek

        Re: A signal that's below the noise floor

        Actually if you try to look with a basic spectrum analyzer and a passive antenna, the GPS RX *is* below your noise floor. The RX level from a passive GPS antenna reaches like -130 dBmW at its best, if memory serves. Miraculously, actual GPS receivers tend to have a sensitivity of about -160 dBmW. And I believe quite some noise is actually present in the reception, but above some SNR level the correlator is able to find a plausible match between the noise and the expected "bitstreams" - from a handful of satellites transmitting at the same carrier frequency, only with minor Dopller shifts... (low units of kHz, inside a channel bandwidth of about 2 or 10 MHz if memory serves).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You could probably spoof it by recording the encrypted signals and the rebroadcasting them - you don't have to be accurate, just confusing.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Since within the encrypted data packet from the GPS satellite will be the time the signal was sent, I'd hope on decrypting the replayed old data packet that the receiving device would notice that it was minutes or 10's of minutes or longer out from its own internal current time keeper.

      2. Frank Rysanek

        Re: rebroadcasting

        Actually if you read the details in the original report, it would almost seem that a simple re-broadcasting was exactly what the Russians were using :-) Having an RX station typically at an airport, use some licensed frequency for a relay, and re-broadcast with a minimal delay a couple dozen km away to confuse GPS reception in the desired place.

        In doing that, the Russians would directly disclose the location of the RX site, and as others have pointed out, detecting position of the terrestrial spoofing transmitter is also pretty simple. It almost sounds too ridiculous for them to be this careless. It sounds more like kicking your opponent's ankles for the sheer cheeky joy, rather than being actually useful if the opponent was a serious threat (e.g. in a combat scenario). Funny tactical ideas may follow, as to whether to let them transmit their spoofed signal or use it to aim your weapons etc.

        BTW, among the last pictures in the original report, there are a few spectrograms featuring tall nail-shaped spikes (carriers) in the middle of the GPS "noisy hilltop". If this was genuine, the GPS receivers would be clearly jammed, they wouldn't be able to see useful data (the noisy hilltop). They'd report "0 satellites good". I've seen this happen in practice. So the description in the original report saying that "the receivers could see the satellites but did not obtain any navigational data" sounds odd.

  2. Xenobyte

    The 'smearing' of location the US used on GPS in the beginning was more or less the same thing except it was encoded in the system itself. It was 'defeated' by installing antennas in known locations and broadcast the real time offset they saw, which then could be used to calculate the correct GSP position despite the smear. This rendered the smearing useless and as it also complicated all military devices that was able to de-smear the location, they decided to turn it off.

    The same de-smearing can be used against the Russian jamming if it causes incorrect positioning. If it drowns out the proper GPS signals... that's a different story.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don’t point out the obvious, you will derail a very expensive marketing campaign. Essentially this report is a pitch to get more expensive government contracts to produce half-arsed reports like this one.

    2. cornetman

      IIRC this was called Differential GPS and was probably one of the reasons that the smearing was switched off for US GPS systems allowing accurate use by civilians.

    3. Gene Cash Silver badge

      > This rendered the smearing useless and as it also complicated all military devices that was able to de-smear the location, they decided to turn it off

      No, they turned it off because President Regan said so, when KAL-007 was shot down after it got lost.

    4. Grinning Bandicoot

      Differential GPS

      You have basically described Differential GPS. It has alarms to announce when it is out of tolerance but most of the receivers available in the US do not receive the supplemental frequency and at best use WAAS for an improved fix. What I would like is a receiver that would use multiple sat systems that are affordable, about the size of a transceiver and provide an output to my laptop loaded map ware.

      Multiple sat systems would provide enough redundancy that errors introduced by the spoofing should be apparent by the relative changes of positions as each sat system would suffer a slightly different error.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    I've talked a lot about safety-critical systems before and I'll give you one guess what one of my specialties happened to be. Navigation systems of all sorts. Tack on, while not directly describing what we did to a carrier battle-group's encrypted system, you do not have to know the keys or the content to totally mess up the dependent system. One, simulated, smoking hole in the ocean where the carrier used to be was the result.

    One very pissed-off Admiral. Our Captain was quite pleased with our (spontaneous) team effort. Fun!

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Yes, I was taught, never trust GPS, always check it against your own calculations, and if they don't match, recalculate your position again.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      @Jack

      There are ways to defeat your attack if you know about them.

      Riddle me this... why would it make sense to put a very expensive CS clock onboard a ship?

      There's more, but if you understand why the clock, you can figure out the rest.

      1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: @Jack

        "

        There's more, but if you understand why the clock, you can figure out the rest.

        "

        I assume you are referring to using celestial navigation, which requires an accurate time to determine longitude. However firstly there are a multitude of radio time signals, it being unlikely that ALL are jammed, so a super-accurate clock is desirable but usually unnecessary. Celestial navigation is not very satisfactory. You cannot get an instant position during the day (because the only visible celestial object will only give you a one-dimensional LOP at any given time), and you cannot get a position fix if the weather is overcast - which could last for days.

        It is possible to get a reasonably good position fix using any polar orbiting satellite if you have the frequency and orbital data for that satellite by measuring change in doppler shift during its pass. Also requires an accurate time and works in all weathers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Jack

          CS Clock should have been written by that poster as Cs-clock, shorthand for a Cesium clock. That was part and parcel for the laser ring gyros I keep mentioning that had no reason to exist because GPS. It was there to keep the Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM) happy. Side benefit of give us a hard inertial navigation system with built-in redundancy you could, and did given the kind of warhead a TLAM carried, hang your career on. WE had GPS courtesy of an US Army backpack before that installation.

          Aside from the sewage plant, and I did keep track of its quirks as well, there wasn't a system on the ship, e.g. sonar, gas turbines, all the weapons, ... yes every system, that I didn't have hands on and hands in during my over-lengthy sea tour. Life-long learning carried to a certain extreme.

          First, I get bored easy. Second, I love engineering. Ergo, learn by doing. I'm almost certainly, outside one of the Naval Engineering commands, one of a rare few qualified as helmsman, quartermaster, and navigator of the watch including underway replenishment despite being just a techie ('Twidget')." If you're an adrenaline junkie, there's one hell of a fix right there!

  4. David Shaw

    "Misinformation coming from Russia"

    shouldn't that just be "Misinformation coming from" "any military/anywhere"

    after all, that is their job, (there's a vaguely related joke here) https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/russiagate-catoon.jpg

    (about half of America will not find it funny, sorry resistance or orange-fruitcake, whichever)

    answering (literally) your rhetorical question - my attempt goes "Мы набиваемся битком, и мы надеемся, что тебе нравится набиваться битком, также'"

    the good news, however, is that with compass, glonass, egnos, a-gps and galileo, there is no longer a single point of failure! Phew'

    1. druck Silver badge

      Re: "Misinformation coming from Russia"

      No, but there will be multiple points of uncertainty.

    2. sitta_europea

      Re: "Misinformation coming from Russia"

      [quote]the good news, however, is that with compass, glonass, egnos, a-gps and galileo, there is no longer a single point of failure! Phew'[/quote]

      Confucius he say, "Man with one GPS know where he is; man with five GPSes got no clue!"

    3. Stone Fox

      Re: "Misinformation coming from Russia"

      Craig Murray? Really? Tin foil hat on standby. A failed politician turned failed poet who now uses that blog to peddle pro-#terrorussia anti western conspiracy theory rubbish.

      If you read anything on Craig Murrays blog, assume the opposite is true. Like that cartoon attempting to pretend all #terrorussia did was leak some emails. Disingenuous at best, deliberate propaganda bs realistically.

      Much like comments in poor English using intellectually worthless whataboutery to imply everyone else is somehow as bad as #terrorussia.

      1. Crucial Decimal

        Re: "Misinformation coming from Russia"

        "Craig Murray? Really? Tin foil hat on standby. A failed politician turned failed poet"

        Actually a senior Civil Service (FCO) man, and high-ranking UK diplomat. Also, Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010

        1986 Second Secretary, Commercial, British High Commission, Lagos

        1989 Head of Maritime Section, FCO, London

        1992 Head of Cyprus Section, FCO London

        1994 First Secretary (Political and Economic), British Embassy, Warsaw

        1997 Deputy Head, Africa Department (Equatorial), Foreign and Commonwealth Office

        1998 Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission, West Africa Branch

        2002 British Ambassador, Uzbekistan

        2004 Sacked for opposing British complicity in torture

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Misinformation coming from Russia"

          A career in the FCO.... everything and everyone in the FCO are so utterly 100% committed to hating Russia that if you cut it/them in half it reads "I HATE RUSSIA!".

          For some bizarre reason they are totally trapped in replaying The Great Game and no doubt w@nk themselves off every five minutes over fantasies of controlling Afghanistan and denying Russia an approach to The Raj.

          Most Civil Service departments are slow to change and hang onto their "glorious" past but none so damned retarded as the FCO.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: "Misinformation coming from Russia"

            >For some bizarre reason they are totally trapped in replaying The Great Game

            That's better than Parliament who are still on the 100 year war.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Misinformation coming from Russia"

            Welcome to our FCO employees and thanks for the down votes!

            I'm just surprised they even have IT literate staff. I guess its a start.

    4. crayon

      Re: "Misinformation coming from Russia"

      Craig Murray, bless him. Now that he no longer draws a government paycheck is free to speak his mind. He writes more sense than the whole of the British so called "news" media put together.

  5. big_D Silver badge

    Navigation

    when I did my sea navigation courses, the first thing they taught you was not to rely on GPS. Always plot your course and use GPS as a guide, but never trust it, if your course tells you one thing and GPS another, always assume GPS is wrong and double check your charts.

    I guess my teacher knew what he was talking about.

    1. Mr Benny

      Re: Navigation

      There used to be LORAN C. Worked very well but decommissioned now in most places because the genius politicians thought GPS didnt need an electronic backup.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Navigation

        LORAN is basically just a ground based GPS (or since LORAN was first, it might be more correct to say that GPS is an orbital LORAN) , that is, it sends out radio waves which are received by the ones using the system, just like GPS does. Therefore jamming/spoofing is the same as with GPS. The one saving grace may be that since it is ground based, its transmission power could be more easily increased to get through jamming, rather than the extremely weak GPS signal received down here. Of course, the jamming signal strength could also then be boosted. In the end it could come down to who is closer, the LORAN broadcast stations or the jamming broadcaster.

        1. Mr Benny

          Re: Navigation

          Its somewhat easier to jam a satellite in orbit than a few hundred kilowatt ground based transmitter.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Navigation

          Omega was far better and damned hard to do anything to due to its extremely low frequency, short of bombing the antennae around the world.

  6. Chris G Silver badge

    Seems obvious

    That any military who uses or has used against them, any system, whether weapons, navigation aids or latrine equipment, will investigate the weaknesses and determine how those can be exploited to advantage or mitigated.

    I suspect that militaries who haven't at least considered disruption of GPS either in use or to the disadvantage of enemies are in the minority.

    1. A.P. Veening

      Re: Seems obvious

      Make that a vanishingly small minority. Within the Nato, I expect that minority to consist of Iceland (which doesn't have a military).

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Seems obvious

      There's a bit of a difference though between NATO military excercises off Scotland, where they publicly announce they're going to jam GPS signals, and Russia actively interfering with them on a regular basis and not announcing it. Hence the report.

      1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Seems obvious

        What Russia did sounds like a good way to show up any weaknesses. In a real war situation the enemy are not going to give any advance warning.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Seems obvious

          If Russia really wanted be naughty they would make sure that GPS worked perfectly - in peace time and during exercises

  7. wolfetone Silver badge

    I love these reports

    A few years ago I was in a rugby team, and I was in the 2nds/3rds along with other chaps who were either too old to play in the 1sts or too fat. One of the guys used to work on the submarines, and I was talking to him about it one day and I asked what's it been like for the UK and Russia since the Cold War ended. He looked at me as if I farted on his kids, and he said every time a Russian sub goes under a UK and US one do too. They all do it at the same time, there is no trust between them really.

    Taking that as indicative of how each country treats the other, do we really think it's just Russia that's up to this sort of thing? Of course not, it's just for whatever reason the scientists haven't studied the US equivalent.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I love these reports

      Unlike Russia, the West has an economy to speak of, economy that would be disturbed if GNSS was jammed.

      1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: I love these reports

        "

        ... economy that would be disturbed if GNSS was jammed.

        "

        Depends over what area it is being jammed.

  8. Dave 126 Silver badge

    The Register has previously reported on a countermeasure to GPS spoofing developed by BAE. Basically a missile or aircraft is fitted with a device that takes in all GNSS signals but also signals from many terrestrial transmitters such as FM, VHF and mobile phone masts. Whilst it might have a preloaded map of such transmitters, it can also compile a map on the fly. Should someone spoof the GNSS signals, the BAE device will detect a discrepancy with the terrestrial signals. The terrestrial signals are of such variety of distance, strength and frequency that it would be impossible to spoof them all. I can't remember if the article said the system also used inertial navigation to detect GNSS spoofing, but it seems more than likely in some applications.

    1. 's water music Silver badge
      Coat

      spoofing counter-measures

      Sounds expensive. Also a bit woolly impossible to really verify in practice. The best kind of defence procurement project.

      Defence contractor checks out taxpayer's coat---->

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      over a decade ago I was talking with a friend in the military about radio systems and monitoring, from the conversation I gathered that the aircraft he worked with were monitoring massive slices of radio spectrum and fingerprinting any transmitter that fired up while they were monitoring, by fingerprinting I mean noting any unusual characteristics of the transmitter like frequency instability / offset, interference or noise etc etc, given variations in power supplies and aerials even seemingly identical transmitters will fingerprint differently.

      1 aircraft in the air would give a picture of active transmitters, a 2nd would fairly accurately pinpoint the source

      combined with other sources this gave (over time) a very good picture of what was being moved / used and where.

      obviously this was being used in an active combat zone but I would think that a transmitter spoofing or attempting to jam gps would have a very short lifespan (both for the equipment and the operators if they stayed near it)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yep

        RF spectrum awareness, can be done with an Software Defined Radio from a tenner upwards

        Yep, just checked, piss-poor quality for £11, nice SDR for £25 https://www.amazon.co.uk/NooElec-NESDR-Smart-Aluminium-R820T2-based/dp/B01HA642SW

        in fact, any large organisation with any RF dependency, including even simply an active Wi-Fi hotspot, should be routinely monitoring their RF baselines for any new 'hostiles' including spoofed Wi-Fi BTS, 2G/3G/4G/6G cell towers, stingrays(US) agatas(CZ) IMSI-catchers(UK),

        the combat in "combat zones" has now descended to combat in/at civilian street, there is a full-blown information war on, since around a decade, and it is not getting safer out there! Plus, I think with a few SDRs , a Mac Pro and enough 6TB drives, I can now do all that .mil ELINT total information awareness RF hoovering at home, but I don't. no need. It WILL be being done in Wall Street, outside UK Parliament, in Salisbury, near anywhere even remotely sensitive, by both the red team and the oppos.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Inertial navigation is more common. Its proven technology (ie old!). However, it wasnt fitted to the RQ-170, for example. Though I believe that it is/was fitted to older tomahawk criuse missiles. Without accurate topo, however, we saw how useful that was for the criuse missiles in Syria. either 23 or 44 of the missiles (60 launched, 1 dud) hit a target, depending on who (if anyone) is believed).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Dave 128

      Yup.

      I happen to know one of the Patent holders who retired from BAE.

  9. TRT Silver badge

    Who would do such a thing?

    Apart from a global media mogul dead set on escalating tensions between nations whilst their reporters are in a prime position to get an exclusive scoop.

    1. A.P. Veening

      Re: Who would do such a thing?

      How about an ex-spy[0] with delusions of becoming a world leader?

      [0] Does such a critter really exist or do they remain spies at heart?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Who would do such a thing?

      Methinks it's time for someone to put away the 007 dvd box set and go outside for a bit.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Who would do such a thing?

        In real life it was the media mogul who bought the company that developed the encryption for their competitor's television service. A few months later Canal+ keys could be easily downloaded from the internet and copied to cards, enabling their encrypted satellite TV stations to be watched for free.

        Source: Private Eye. I didn't read that there was proof that News International was naughty, only that the timing conveniently suited them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Who would do such a thing?

          Whatever happened to the Information Technology Director of News International?

  10. sitta_europea

    Beats me why interfering with GPS is such a big deal anyway. There's lots of other ways of finding out where you are.

    1. A.P. Veening

      other ways of finding out where you are.

      When was the last time you saw a road sign somewhere near the middle of the Atlantic? Or the Sahara for that matter?

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Beats me why interfering with GPS is such a big deal anyway. There's lots of other ways of finding out where you are.

      Meat sacks will eventually figure out where they are. It's the autonomous nukes who mistake your gaff for the Kremlin or Pentagon you have to worry about.

      But have no fear; DevOps, coupled with AI and Blockchain, will save us.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        >Beats me why interfering with GPS is such a big deal anyway. There's lots of other ways of finding out where you are

        Especially now that there are women in the forces - they will stop and ask for directions

  11. Death_Ninja

    Just the Russians...

    Yes, only the "bad guys" have the kit to jam/offset satellite location systems... just the same as only the Russians sail ships in international waters near other countries or fly bombers near others.

    Yes of course, nobody else does any of that...

    1. A.P. Veening

      Re: Just the Russians...

      "Yes, only the "bad guys" have the kit to jam/offset satellite location systems"

      I completely agree with this part.

      As for it being only the Russians, I strongly disagree. Just look at what the Chinese (PRC, not RoC) are doing in the South China Sea around the Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands. And please don't get me started on those bad guys from the USA.

    2. Simon B-52

      Re: Just the Russians...

      Sure, US / UK / NATO will be developing jamming.

      Are they field testing it against Russian or Chinese military exercises though?

      And are their navigators being made to work with GPS OFF, so they learn to work without it?

      1. Death_Ninja

        Re: Just the Russians...

        "Are they field testing it against Russian or Chinese military exercises though?"

        I'd say very likely but "they" aren't releasing press statements about it and the Russians and Chinese won't be talking about it either.... so its impossible to say.

        TBH testing jamming by jamming your potential opponents during peacetime is counter-productive. All you are doing is showing your hand and giving them a chance to measure your systems and develop counter-measures.

      2. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Just the Russians...

        "Are they field testing it against Russian or Chinese military exercises though?"

        Almost certainly.

        "And are their navigators being made to work with GPS OFF, so they learn to work without it?"

        Yes, standard training, as it should be with anyone who wishes to understand navigation.

    3. phuzz Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Just the Russians...

      "Yes, only the "bad guys" have the kit to jam/offset satellite location systems"

      You're totally right, they should have had a paragraph in the article talking about the US doing it.

      Oh wait, they did.

      RTFA in future.

  12. Simon B-52

    Navigation? People used to do that.

    It doesn't matter how much navigation is taught, if it's not in frequent use by those responsible for navigation, the skills will be fragile and likely to crumble under pressure and / or less than optimum conditions.

    'Magic GPS' also causes navigation to be taken less seriously, to the point where systematic cheating by certain groups is being tolerated in exams set by at least one UK marine school.

    I'd be very interested to know which countries are still requiring rigorous training and examination of their navigators. The will have a very significant advantage in future wars.

  13. John Jennings

    Old news

    Have we have forgotten the Iranians sucessfully intercepted GPS and land signals - in 2011....

    this was a 'mini-stealth' -high tech military drone, operated 100 miles inside iran.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93U.S._RQ-170_incident

    Our own fair paper swallowed initial claims it was implausable - https://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/12/21/spy_drone_hijack_gps_spoofing_implausible/

    however, later reported that a texan uni had done the same with a super yacht, in 2013....

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07/29/texas_students_hijack_superyacht_with_gpsspoofing_luggage/

  14. Christoph Silver badge

    "the US Global Positioning System (GPS), Russia's GLONASS, the EU's Galileo, China's BeiDou, Japan's QZSS and India's NavIC."

    But will it block our wonderful (and wonderfully expensive) BrexitNav?

    1. A.P. Veening

      Re: BrexitNav

      Of course it will block BrexitNav, once they get around to it after it becomes functional, which will be some odd 50 years after you have finally sorted out Brexit.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: BrexitNav

        It certainly won't block brexnav.

        With its revolutionary 'over the counter" technology you can present yourself in person at the counter at the brexnav offices and be told exactly where you are.

  15. msknight Silver badge
    Joke

    I'll probably get flamed for this...

    ...but in a war situation, why don't they simply tune in to Glosnass? The Russians are unlikley to crew over their own sat nav system, are they? ;-)

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: I'll probably get flamed for this...

      Because the Russian GLONASS system will be reporting deliberately erroneous data, while the Russians will be using GPS for their own kit...

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: I'll probably get flamed for this...

      "why don't they simply tune in to Glosnass?"

      Is that the Glasnost-based version of GLONASS...?

    3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: I'll probably get flamed for this...

      "

      The Russians are unlikley to crew over their own sat nav system, are they?

      "

      Of course they will. The jamming signal is effective over a limited area - if that area includes enemy troops but not your own ... Plus there is the possibility that they have an encrypted channel just like the US does that will not be jammed.

    4. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: I'll probably get flamed for this...

      Jamming can be directed at specific targets or various size regions. So you could, for example, jam all satnav signals in, for example, the North Atlantic, while not jamming any signals in the Bering Sea of White Sea etc. Which wouldn't help the Russians if they were also trying to navigate in the North Atlantic, but if they were positioning forces outside there to enter it, which jamming the other sides attempt to position their forces in (e.g. travelling from US to Europe) or to reinforce it.

      However, in this case, while 'manual' navigation methods aren't that accurate, they are definitely good enough to get you across an Ocean to within shouting distance of your final specific destination, close enough that you can then navigate by land marks.

  16. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Shirley...

    ...any sensible shipboard navigation system (particularly military) would have several layers of redundant backup. Start with GPS (well perhaps 3 GPS, using different systems), but then have some sort of computerised dead-reckoning calculated from last known good fix and known speed, direction etc, and then it's dig out the sextant time. And if they come up with different answers the red light starts flashing.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Shirley...

      Submarines use expensive inertial navigation systems, because GPS is no use to them unless they're at antenna depth with an aerial up.

      I don't know if they put that sort of kit on surface ships or not. Or if it's still kept on planes for a backup. That Korean flight 007 that was shot down by the Soviets strayed into Russian airspace because of an INS failure (or at least not setting it up properly).

      1. A.P. Veening

        Re: Shirley...

        Korean flight 007 didn't set up the automatic course correctly, it didn't make a shallow left turn after leaving Alaskan air space. And even that wouldn't have been a problem by itself, but it also coincided with a U.S. aerial reconnaissance mission, causing it to be identified as an intruding U.S. spy plane.

      2. jtaylor

        Re: Shirley...

        Aircraft use independent data sources to determine position. Commercial traffic mostly uses GPS and self-contained Inertial Navigation System as inputs to their Air Data Inertial Reference Systems. INS could be considered "dead reckoning" because it uses accelerometers and a compass.

        GPS is very efficient, but it's not safety critical for flight.

      3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Shirley...

        "

        ... because GPS is no use to them unless they're at antenna depth with an aerial up.

        "

        I have read that many submarines are equipped to send up a floating aerial on a very long wire, so "antenna depth" can be very deep indeed.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shirley...

        They do. We had to have a laser ring gyroscope for our Tomahawk missiles.

  17. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

    My understanding is that the US Navy has re-instituted the use of sextants. Shame. I had a movie plot involving spoofed computer systems vs a crusty captain that still personally shot his star.

    1. vir

      Was it a reverse-Final Countdown where the HMS Surprise gets transported forward in time by 200 years and Jack Aubrey saves the day by getting a perfect fix on Achernar and the moons of Jupiter?

  18. Thicko

    Would it be possible to use electronically steerable antennas that can check that satellites are in the approximate direction that they say they are in? That way you might detect whether one or two sources are in disagreement with the others? I'm guessing it will be harder to accurately spoof signals from several different directions.

    1. An nonymous Cowerd

      think you just need to evaluate relative measured vs expected signal strength from all the minority signals,

      and you can do this with a fixed antenna as all the constellations are busy rising and setting, all over the place, all the time

      I'd like to verify around just thirteen, non-essential for maths , birds, as many extant chips, last time I looked were very satisfied with one single large "gps" signal, sigh

  19. Mike 16 Silver badge

    Blast from the past

    I recall seeing an article in the 1980s or so about a naval historian looking at logs from the 19th or early 20th century. Captains continue to do daily position checks even in port. There was reasonable agreement on the latitude and longitude of ships docked in Moscow (A river port). That consensus did not reflect the actual location of Moscow. I assume this was not some prescient countermeasure against tactical nuke drones, but an attempt to at least confuse and delay attackers by land or water.

  20. KBeee
    Joke

    Easy Peasy - Just check the height of the Sun at local mid day, and use a pretty accurate watch to check how far you are in front or behind Greenwich, then you can guess you're probably within 1000 km of where you thought you was

  21. Gene Cash Silver badge

    US does it too, especially in the midwest

    Look for the NOTAMs (notices to airmen) regularly warning of GPS outages in California, Nevada, New Mexico, etc. due to "DoD/military action"

  22. js.lanshark

    So we know the orbital parameters of the sats. If you can, use a directional antenna to receive sat signals. Depending on antenna parameters (beamwidth), you can cut down on jamming signals by aiming for a cluster of sats. Lower flying jammers would have to be in the beam of the antenna to be effective. It isn't perfect, but with enough money, a defense contractor should be able to develop a beam steerable planar array that could track several sats at a time, and pick the signals that agree best with what is to be expected from the orbital parameters of the sats. Use that expensive CS clock on the ship to know the time, then pick the signals that match the expected time.

    Let it be known that this is the first time that I know of that the use of a beam steerable antenna can be used to track multiple navsats for the determination of position during jamming was proposed. License fee is 10 million dollars for a perpetual, irrevocable license to the idea. You know where you can find me. I'm not greedy and I don't want to have to deal with license renewals.

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