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The Russians are screwing with the GPS system to send bogus navigation data to thousands of ships, think tank claims

On May 15, 2018, under a sunny sky, Russian President Vladimir Putin drove a bright orange truck in a convoy of construction vehicles for the opening of the Kerch Bridge from Russia to Crimea. At 11 miles long, it is now the longest bridge in either Europe or Russia.

As Putin drove across the bridge, something weird happened. The satellite navigation systems in the control rooms of more than 24 ships anchored nearby suddenly started displaying false information about their location. Their GPS systems told their captains they were anchored more than 65 kilometers away — on land, at the Anapa Airport.

This was not a random glitch, according to the Centre for Advanced Defense, a security think tank. It was a deliberate plan to make it difficult for anyone nearby to track or navigate around the presence of Putin, C4AD says.


Putin drives a Kamaz truck at the opening of the Kerch Bridge in 2018. Hackers partially disabled nearby ships’ navigation systems during the event(Reuters/ Alexander Nemenov)

“All critical national infrastructures rely on GNSS to some extent” — and the Russians have started hacking it

The Russians have started hacking into the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) on a mass scale in order to confuse thousands of ships and airplanes about where they are, according to a study of false GNSS signals by C4AD.

GNSS comprises the constellation of international satellites that orbit the earth. The US’s Global Positioning System (GPS), China’s Beidou, Russia’s GLONASS, and Europe’s Galileo program are all part of GNSS.

Your phone, law enforcement, shipping, airlines, and power stations — anything dependent on GPS time and location synchronization — are all vulnerable to GNSS hacking. “All critical national infrastructures rely on GNSS to some extent, with Communications, Emergency Services, Finance, and Transport identified …read more

Read more here:: Task & Purpose

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