GPS ‘hack’ throws $80M superyacht off course.
A University of Texas team has shown how a relatively low cost small software radio device can be used to trick GPS receivers into believing false signals. Because all GPS signals are sent to Earth without any authentication or encryption, the team was able to send a false signal which was perfectly aligned with what the receiving unit would have been expecting.
In this case the signal was sent from on board the yacht with permission from the captain, however the team says it could easily be used maliciously:
What we did was out in the open, it was against a live vehicle, a vessel—an $80 million superyacht, controlling it with a $2,000 box,” he told Ars. “This is unprecedented. This has never been shown in this kind of demonstration. That’s what so sinister about the attack that we did. There were no alarms on the bridge. The GPS receiver showed a strong signal the whole time. You just need to have approximate line of sight visibility. Let’s say you had an unmanned drone, you could do it from 20 to 30 kilometers away or on the ocean you could do two to three kilometers.”