What is GPS Spoofing | How to prevent GPS Spoofing

This page describes GPS spoofing basics and GPS spoofing types.It mentions various ways to prevent GPS spoofing of your GPS receiver device on ships, cars, smartphones, drones etc.

What is GPS Spoofing?

As we are aware GPS and GNSS technologies provide RF signals to the GPS/GNSS receivers with the help of satellite constellations. These satellites transmit positioning and timing informations to the receivers on the earth from various directions. The GPS/GNSS receivers use this satellite signals to determine their location in terms of latitude and longitude.

The GPS/GNSS helps in navigation through sea, land and air which is used by ships, vehicles and aeroplanes. It is easy to track the GPS/GNSS receivers with the help of mobile/web apps. The other technologies include Russian GLONASS, European Galileo, Chinese BeiDou, Japanese QZSS, Indian NAVIC system etc. Refer GPS tutorial >> for more information.

Spoofers transmit signal with more power compare to weak GNSS/GPS signals received by receivers. Moreover they carry false positioning information to make GPS receivers believe that they are at false location.

Following are the two types of GPS spoofing.
• Re-broadcast of GNSS/GPS signals recorded at some other place or time
• Hacker generates and transmits modified satellite signals to the target

GPS Spoofing-Ship on normal path

Radio interference overpowers weak GNSS signals and causes signal loss and consecutively positioning loss. During spoofing attack, hacker's radio transmitter located in near vicinity transmits fake GPS signals to the target receiver.

GPS Spoofing-Ship on attacker's path

Example #1: If a smartphone is spoofed by hacker, smartphone user can be made to believe that it's on Mount Everest even if it is not.
Example #2: A ship can be hijacked by GPS spoofing by diverting its path of travel.
Example #3: Drones can be hijacked and it can be redirected towards their army itself.

How to prevent GPS Spoofing

Following are the various techniques and methods used to prevent GPS spoofing of GPS receivers.
➨GPS/GNSS receiver should detect spoofed signal from mix of authentic and spoofed signals. Once presence of spoofed signal is determined, it should be excluded from making any positioning calculation. Interference detection and mitigation devices are available for this purpose.
➨One can also use signals designed to provide protection from spoofing attacks such as Galileo OS-NMA and E6 or GPS military code. This way security is directly incorporated in the GPS/GNSS satellite itself. This makes signals spoofing resilient. Galileo is first such satellite which incorporates anti-spoofing service in the GNSS signal.
➨Other interference mitigation techniques such as Septentrio AIM+ are used to detect anomalies in the received signal to differentiate authentic GNSS/GPS signal from the fake one.
➨Dual polarized antenna vased anti-spoofing technique is under research.
➨The best way to protect smartphone from GPS spoofing is to disable GPS on your phone. To do this, enable "battery saving" location mode as follows which keeps WiFi and cellular mode ON to determine location of your device.
• Go to Settings → Security & Location → Location → Mode → Battery saving.

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