Proceedings Winter 2014 – 2015
This type of attack is insidious, since Global Positioning
System data is used to direct traffc through busy water-
ways to reduce accidents and avoid hazards. It also helps
manage shipping and port facility operations. For example,
Global Positioning System information facilitates automated
container shipment and tracking from one port to another.
At the Coast Guard, GPS is the primary mode of naviga-
tion for its cutters and other assets. So, it is critical that loca-
tion and positional data from a Global Positioning System-
enabled device is accurate, to ensure vessels safely and
effciently carry out missions and reach their destinations.
Picture yourself driving and following directions from your
Global Positioning System (GPS)-enabled device to a place
you have never visited. Along the way, you realize that you
have reached a totally different destination. Now, imagine
this same scenario, but instead involving a vessel sailing off
course, while at sea. How could this possibly happen? Two
words: GPS spoofng.
GPS spoofng is an electronic attack involving signals being
sent to a receiver to control navigation. This act could force
any mode of transportation to deviate from its intended
GPS Spoofng and Jamming
A global concern for all vessels.
by Ms. BRiTTany M. ThOMPsOn
Former Detailee at U.S. Coast Guard Cyber Command
Cybersecurity of Maritime Critical Infrastructure
The Disruption at Newark Airport
A truck driver for an engineering company allegedly used
a jammer in a company-owned vehicle to hide his where-
abouts from his employer. Since his driving route took him
past the airport, the jammer not only blocked reception of the
company-installed Global Positioning System signal, but also
the airport's GPS signal used by air trafc control.
The FCC's Enforcement Bureau investigated the incident and
used radio monitoring equipment to detect the suspect's
jammer in use near the airport. As a result, the suspect surren-
dered the jammer and the FCC fned him nearly $32,000 for
disrupting Newark airport's GPS signals.
North Korean Jamming Attacks
Interfering with GPS signals is a capability used against other
nations by its adversaries. For example, North Korea perpe-
trated three GPS jamming attacks against South Korea from
2010 to 2012.
Each jamming attack increased in duration. The frst attack
in August 2010 lasted for four days. The last attack in 2012
lasted for 16 days, causing 1,016 aircraft and 254 vessels to
Overall, the jamming attacks resulted in major issues associ-
ated with navigation and timing in the areas near the North
Korean border. Additionally, an attack necessitated an emer-
gency landing of a U.S. military reconnaissance aircraft,
during an annual exercise in South Korea.
Strunsky, S. N.J. Man Fined $32K for Illegal GPS Device That Disrupted Newark
Airport System. NJ.com. N.p., 8 Aug. 2013.
Available at www.economist.com/news/international/21582288-satellite-posi-
Available at www.insidegnss.com/node/3982.