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    Can GPS be hacked?

    An interesting discussion.
    http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...um+-+Emails%29
    Started boating 1955
    Number of boats owned 32
    Bayliners
    2655
    2755
    2850
    3870 presently owned
    Favorite boat. Toss up. 46' Chris Craft, 3870 Bayliner

    #2
    What's even worse is some guidance systems can be hacked resulting in a car, ship, aircraft or missile being remotely controlled and uninterruptible.
    2003 Bayliner 245
    2007 Sedona F21

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      #3
      There is a difference between GPS being hacked and Guidance System being hacked. In the case of Guidance System, hacker can inject spurious commands to apply the breaks, cut the engine, etc. Doing this is not hugely difficult. The really difficult but doable hack is a fake signal overriding the signal from the satellite so that the on-board system is provided with fake/inaccurate info, such as wrong location coordinates; It is on the basis of the wrong data that the on-board electronics calculates map location, speed, direction, etc. This is difficult but apparently is doable.
      Retired, computer expert / executive
      Bayliner 285 Cruiser / Mercruiser QSD 4.2L 320 HP Diesel
      Live in the Bay Area, CA, USA, boat in Turkey
      D-Marin @ Turgutreis in Bodrum/Turkey
      bdervisoglu8@gmail.com
      bulent@pacbell.net

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        #4
        I'm pretty sure that the difficulty and complexity to hack and take command of a navigation system is greater than spoofing a GPS signal and the ramifications could be much more dangerous.
        2003 Bayliner 245
        2007 Sedona F21

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          #5
          GPS relies on the timing of signals from multiple satellite in orbit. Each satellite is set to broadcast a ping at regular intervals. The time between when the ping was broadcast, and when you receive it determines your distance to that satellite. Each GPS ping contains the satellite's location (or rather, the means for your GPS receiver to calculate the satellite's location) and the precise time the signal was broadcast.
          • If you get a ping from one satellite, that determines your position to a sphere around that satellite's known position (based on time it took for that signal to reach you). Assuming you're on the earth's surface (and not in, say, a plane), that narrows down your position to a circular arc on the earth's surface. You may remember that the search for Malaysian Air flight 370 resulted in search areas that were arcs on the ocean. Those were the intersections of the sphere around the satellite at the time the brief signals were received.
          • If you get a ping from a second satellite, that determines your position to the intersection of the two spheres around the two satellites. That intersection would be a circular arc. Add in the fact that it intersects the earth's surface (again assuming you're on the earth's surface), and that leaves only two possible positions you could be at.
          • If you get a ping from a third satellite, that's an additional sphere which intersects with that circular arc, and you now know which of those two positions is the correct one.
          • Additional satellite pings refine your position by decreasing the probabilistic error of the intersections of their spheres.

          Can GPS be spoofed? Yes. Is it practical to do so? No, not unless you (1) already know the intended target's location, (2) can block the real GPS signals, and (3) can generate fake GPS signals timed so they'll produce the proper intersection of spheres when they reach your target. The last bit is important, as the time it takes for your fake signals to reach the target matters as much as the spoofing you're doing of the satellite signals. If you fail at any of these three, the target's GPS will usually result in nonsense readings, like calculating a position way up in the sky, or underwater, or the spheres from multiple "satellites" do not all intersect around a single point.

          Likewise, if you're not the target of the spoof, the spoofed GPS signals you receive will result in nonsense positions, mostly off the surface of the earth, and more likely multiple "satellites" will yield differing intersection points. If you're not the target of the spoof, the intersection math only works (signal from all satellites results the same calculated position) when the satellites are actually where they claim they are. If the signals aren't actually coming from a satellite in the location its supposed to be at, each sphere you calculate from that satellite will be shifted in location. But since you're not the target, all the spheres will be shifted in different directions, resulting in nonsense position calculations.

          The bigger concern is jamming the GPS signals. This can happen deliberately or accidentally. There was some company trying to buy up bandwidth next to the GPS bands which were reserved for low-intensity satellite broadcasts, and use them for terrestrial cell phone service. The government told them to get lost when they tried to get the bands repurposed. They were reserved for satellite specifically because they had the potential to interfere with GPS if you were broadcasting at those frequencies from a terrestrial antenna.

          But it's still conceivable for a malfunctioning radio to swamp out GPS signals in an area (kinda like someone with an open mic on channel 16). If that happens, you should have a second means of navigation. That can be a compass and charts, dead reckoning, or other satellite navigation like GLONASS (Russian equivalent of GPS) or Galileo (European equivalent, still under construction). The land-based broadcast towers which enable differential GPS (basically GPS positions augmented by known land positions) could also conceivably be used.
          1994 2556, 350 MAG MPI Horizon, Bravo 2

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            #6
            I would think both spoofing GPS signal and hacking a navigation system would be an extremely rare occurrence and most likely only done by state actors.
            2003 Bayliner 245
            2007 Sedona F21

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Douggy View Post
              I'm pretty sure that the difficulty and complexity to hack and take command of a navigation system is greater than spoofing a GPS signal and the ramifications could be much more dangerous.
              Apparently not so! The following articles show what is possible with a self drive car, as well as GPS spoofing.

              https://www.wired.com/2015/07/hacker...-jeep-highway/

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoofing_attack

              Retired, computer expert / executive
              Bayliner 285 Cruiser / Mercruiser QSD 4.2L 320 HP Diesel
              Live in the Bay Area, CA, USA, boat in Turkey
              D-Marin @ Turgutreis in Bodrum/Turkey
              bdervisoglu8@gmail.com
              bulent@pacbell.net

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by MonteVista View Post

                Apparently not so! The following articles show what is possible with a self drive car, as well as GPS spoofing.

                https://www.wired.com/2015/07/hacker...-jeep-highway/

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoofing_attack
                There is a lot more to the Chris Valasek story which include CIA developed and capabilities which was exposed in wilileaks released documents. They did expose vulnerabilities which is good and now the car makers are on the hook to fix it. But unless your a target of the CIA or other state actors I doubt you have to worry about computer nerds hacking into your car.
                2003 Bayliner 245
                2007 Sedona F21

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Douggy View Post

                  There is a lot more to the Chris Valasek story which include CIA developed and capabilities which was exposed in wilileaks released documents. They did expose vulnerabilities which is good and now the car makers are on the hook to fix it. But unless your a target of the CIA or other state actors I doubt you have to worry about computer nerds hacking into your car.
                  That is true! I merely wanted to compare the technical difficulties of doing either. In either case, the chances of the GPS signal that we receive or the on-board electronics on our boats to be hacked to an extent that we would be affected, or even would notice, are somewhere between not at all likely and next to impossible!

                  Enjoy!
                  Retired, computer expert / executive
                  Bayliner 285 Cruiser / Mercruiser QSD 4.2L 320 HP Diesel
                  Live in the Bay Area, CA, USA, boat in Turkey
                  D-Marin @ Turgutreis in Bodrum/Turkey
                  bdervisoglu8@gmail.com
                  bulent@pacbell.net

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by MonteVista View Post

                    That is true! I merely wanted to compare the technical difficulties of doing either. In either case, the chances of the GPS signal that we receive or the on-board electronics on our boats to be hacked to an extent that we would be affected, or even would notice, are somewhere between not at all likely and next to impossible!

                    Enjoy!
                    Yep, no worries for the average pleasure boater but these issues do make one wonder about those unusual breaking news stories like the missing/crashed aircraft or news reporters killed in bizarre car crashes. Good material for a Hollywood movie.
                    2003 Bayliner 245
                    2007 Sedona F21

                    Comment


                      #11
                      In aviation we've taken this very seriously (as you might imagine) and "ownship position" only comes from hardened systems that have unique algorithms that compare course movements and speed via alternative sources to "grade' GPS quality as an effort to prevent spoofing.

                      The greatest fear is an onboard transmitter would spoof the real signal and introduce errors that the crew would not notice, but with machine learning maturing at the rates it is, it's becoming less and less likely.

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                      iBoatNW

                      1980 CHB Europa 42 Trawler- "Honey Badger"

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