[ntp:questions] Don't toss that WWVB receiver?

Rick Jones rick.jones2 at hp.com
Mon Mar 1 18:44:29 UTC 2010

I suspect that the latest issue of the Risks Digest will appear in
comp.risks failry soon, meanwhile, from that issue, something that
starts to make one wonder if "Tomorrow Never Dies" was prescient. (Or,
perhaps less directly the second "Die Hard" move or...)

I have to wonder - is NTP, or more generally, time synchronization,
part of the affected set, or might it be part of the cure by helping
detect the spoofing?

rick jones

RISKS-LIST: Risks-Forum Digest  Sunday 28 February 2010  Volume 25 : Issue 95

Peter G. Neumann, moderator, chmn ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy

***** See last item for further information, disclaimers, caveats, etc. *****
This issue is archived at <http://www.risks.org> as
The current issue can be found at

  Contents: [Backlogged]
Growing Threat to GPS Systems From Jammers (Jerry Leichter)
Sat-nav systems under growing threat from 'jammers' (Amos Shapir)



Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2010 20:44:03 -0500
From: Jerry Leichter <leichter at lrw.com>
Subject: Growing Threat to GPS Systems From Jammers

The BBC reports
(http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8533157.stm) on the growing
threat of jamming to satellite navigation systems.  The fundamental
vulnerability of all the systems - GPS, the Russian Glonass, and the
European Galileo - is the very low power of the transmissions.  (Nice
analogy: A satellite puts out less power than a car headlight,
illuminating more than a third of the Earth's surface from 20,000
kilometers.)  Jammers - which simply overwhelm the satellite signal -
are increasingly available on-line.  According to the article,
low-powered hand-held versions cost less than È100, run for hours on a
battery, and can confuse receivers tens of kilometers away.

The newer threat is from spoofers, which can project a false location.
This still costs "thousands", but the price will inevitably come down.

A test done in 2008 showed that it was easy to badly spoof ships of
the English coast, causing them to read locations anywhere from
Ireland to Scandinavia.

Beyond simple hacking - someone is quoted saying "You can consider GPS
a little like computers before the first virus - if I had stood here
before then and cried about the risks, you would've asked 'why would
anyone bother?'." - among the possible vulnerabilities are to high-
value cargo, armored cars, and rental cars tracked by GPS.  As we
build more and more "location-aware" services, we are inherently
building more "false-location-vulnerable" services at the same time.
-- Jerry


Date: Wed, 24 Feb 2010 17:54:47 +0200
From: Amos Shapir <amos083 at hotmail.com>
Subject:  Sat-nav systems under growing threat from 'jammers'

"While "jamming" sat-nav equipment with noise signals is on the rise,
more sophisticated methods allow hackers even to program what
receivers display. At risk are not only sat-nav users, but also
critical national infrastructure."

Full story at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8533157.stm

  [This risk noted by several others as well.]

oxymoron n, Hummer H2 with California Save Our Coasts and Oceans plates
these opinions are mine, all mine; HP might not want them anyway... :)
feel free to post, OR email to rick.jones2 in hp.com but NOT BOTH...

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