How secure is GPS?

GPS devices have been made accessible to a wider market as technology advances, and the degree to which our daily lives rely on precise location and timing has also increased. For tourists to navigate effectively from one location to another, the use of a global positioning system (GPS) has become standard.

Businesses and people now have access to possibilities that were previously unavailable because of GPS. On the other hand, this is not always a positive thing since spoofing might make GPS systems susceptible to cyber assaults. Let's find out the main things about spoofing and how to keep your GPS safe.

How does GPS spoofing work and what is it?

GPS signal spoofing occurs when an attacker imitates the original GPS signal by substituting a phoney GPS satellite signal. The "false" signal indicates a change in location, navigation, or time to the recipient.

Have you ever driven to the local mall, but your GPS said that you were at the library? If your GPS has ever told you that you are at an incorrect location, you have likely been the victim of GPS signal spoofing.

How does it work?

To understand how spoofing works, we must first understand how global navigation satellite systems operate. The satellites transmit communication signals to our devices while orbiting the Earth in a medium earth orbit at a height of approximately 20,400 kilometres.

Satellite signals are sometimes rather weak as they must travel such a long distance to reach your device. GPS communications are not encrypted and may be read. As a result, they are an apparent target for anybody wishing to record, transmit, or modify them.

The terrestrial radio transmitter imitates GPS signals with a signal strength that exceeds what the genuine system can handle in a GPS spoofing attack. This replaces authentic GPS signals with fake ones.

But how can a GPS signal be tampered with? This usually includes the utilisation of a GPS spoofing device or spoofing technology, such as an app. They change GPS signals; to spoof, the transmitter must be near the GPS-enabled device. It then imitates the signal to fool the GPS receiver into reporting a different location.

Spoofing technology was formerly difficult to get a hold of. It was once a costly technology only accessible to the military. Now, a transmitter of this kind is already widely accessible. GPS jammers can be found online for as little as 100 USD. As a result, nearly anybody can impersonate GPS signals.

Who falsifies GPS signals and why?

Any satellite navigation-based technique is susceptible to spoofing. The technique of spoofing is practically free, readily accessible, and immensely popular. Virtually everyone uses spoofing, from privacy advocates to Uber drivers, and teenagers.

Since GPS is essentially accessible to everyone, its security has become a big problem. There are several reasons to alter the GPS signal. These consist of:

•  Accessibility to country characteristics

Some individuals use spoofing to alter their device's receivers in order to get access to country-restricted material, services, games, applications, and even television programs and movies.

For instance, certain programs on Hulu, Netflix, and other streaming services are only accessible in particular regions. Since it is impossible to fly to another country in order to view programs, spoofing allows you to modify your true location and access country-restricted content. Many individuals utilise VPNs for this reason.

•  For military purposes

Initial plans were for the military to use GPS equipment. Ironically, the military was the first to falsify GPS. The majority of armed forces may utilise GPS to simulate their position and conceal their activity. For tactical navigation, guided weaponry, and command and control operations, the military may also perform GPS spoofing assaults.

•  To avoid motion tracking and conceal locations

Numerous individuals use spoofing to generate a false GPS position, preventing applications from precisely tracking their activities. Most individuals use this to keep some sense of control over their data by instructing their applications to show an incorrect location.

Additionally, teenagers use spoofing to conceal their whereabouts from their parents. This is how easy spoofing has become.

•  To conceal unlawful conduct

Criminals may also employ spoofing to conceal fraudulent acts such as kidnappings, car thefts, and evidence tampering, or to induce public panic by causing accidents by interfering with automobiles. They may even fake a GPS to send victims to online or physical danger zones.

GPS safety suggestions

Here is some advice on how to prevent GPS spoofing attacks:

•  Install phone antennae

Install bogus antennae in a visible location, away from the genuine ones. This guarantees that spoofing attacks do not disrupt real transmissions. A reasonable distance should be at least 300 metres.

•  Carefully consider where to place your antenna

The antenna's optimum placement should offer an unobstructed view of the sky. Signals from the ground or neighbouring public areas are blocked by buildings and other objects.

Install antennas in areas where they are not visible to the general public, or use barriers such as plastic fencing to hide their position while not interfering with GPS signals.

•  Follow internet hygiene guidelines

Individuals and companies should change and update passwords regularly, install security patches and updates, utilise firewalls and virus protection, and consider adopting multi-factor authentication and other cyber defences to avoid spoofing attacks.

•  Turn off any GPS-enabled gadgets that are not in use

Individuals and businesses that utilise GPS-enabled devices should keep them turned off when not in use. This will keep spoofing attempts at bay.

Install two or more antennae at opposite ends of a building or ship to identify faults and switch to backup navigation systems instantly.

GPS monitoring and location sharing offer significant privacy risks. GPS spoofing may be very dangerous for people, corporations, and governments. Regardless, it enables users to safeguard themselves against security risks and dangers. So, a balance must be achieved.