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Jamming and spoofing of GNSS signals - an underestimated risk?!

: Rügamer, Alexander

Univ. Erlangen-Nürnberg:
German Microwave Conference, GeMiC 2015. Conference Programme : 16-18 March 2015, Nürnberg
Nürnberg, 2015
German Microwave Conference (GeMiC) <9, 2015, Nuremberg>
Fraunhofer IIS ()

GNSS technology is used for many applications: The surveying industry uses GNSS for monitoring the continental drift, stakeout fixed-points, measuring maps of areas and many other location based services. The construction industry uses GNSS for machine control and logistics, agriculture for precise farming, power steering assists and other tasks like bringing out manure, harvesting and plowing. Over the last 10 years GNSS has also entered many daily life applications like car navigation and location based services (Google Maps, Facebook). But GNSS is also used as a sensor for many safety-critical applications: the example of guided lading approach of airplanes is well known,but it is less known that GNSS –and here specifially the Open Service of the US NAVSTAR GPS – is used as a crucial sensor for timing and synchronization of reference stations for telecommunication, electrical power supplies, exchange markets and banks. For many years, the availability and faultless function of GNSS has been taken for granted. Jamming (intentional interference targeting the unavailability of the system) as well as spoofing (faking of a false position/time towards a target GNSS receiver) was no concern for nearly all users except the military. But recent events started a gradual paradigm shift: the unintentional jamming of Newark Airport, NY, USA by an UPS driver with a US $ 100 device available on eBay; the capturing of a US drone using a GPS spoofer by Iran; the demonstration of students from the University of Austin, Texas, US, to hijack a US$ 80 million dollar Yacht with a self-made spoofer as well as their laboratory demonstration to use this spoofer to tamper the phase measurement units used for energy network synchronization and control. In this paper we review these events and show how our currently used GNSS technology was attacked and affected. Then we discuss different measures to detect and even mitigate these threats on the algorithmic, receiver, antenna and system level. Finally, we conclude with providing solutions and recommendations for hardening and protecting GNSS receivers by e.g. using array antennas and/or services like the Galileo Public Regulated Service (PRS) with civilian anti-spoofing guaranteed by the strong encryption used there.