Russia is spoofing its regional GPS to hide military bases

According to the authors of the book ‘Learn ethical hacking’, a massive analysis of global positioning data discovered suspicious behavior in Russian territory. Experts point to the discovery of a widespread falsification of the global satellite navigation system over the last three years.

The research, conducted by a non-profit organization, found that at least 9800 cases of counterfeiting occurred in sensitive areas for Russia and Crimea; the specialists also showed that counterfeiting occurred regularly near a Russian military base in Syria.

According to the authors of ‘Learn ethical hacking’, these findings indicate how risky it can be to rely on global positioning data, because sometimes we rely too much on them and, as has been seen, this technology can be compromised, interrupted or hijacked with different purposes.

This research has noted how vulnerable satellite navigation systems are, and this is not even a new thing. For at least ten years, various specialized media and the authors of ‘Learn ethical hacking’ have been following up on the security problems present in the navigation systems.

In 2011, Iran reportedly used GPS counterfeiting to capture an American drone. In addition, in 2013, a group of researchers in cybersecurity could build (with just a thousand dollars) a device to falsify the position in the GPS of a boat, even making it change its course:  “The ship really turned around, and we all could feel it, but the navigation screen showed that the boat was moving in a straight line”, the specialists said.

Analysts identified a number of trends in the ways in which GNSS, which covers all satellite positioning systems, was being attacked. Many of the victims of counterfeiting near Russia found their locations to be a single Russian airport; in other cases, especially near Crimea, two or more airports were used as destinations.

The investigators found a significant activity of GPS counterfeit incidents in the military and security areas. In general, this falsification seems indiscriminate because it does not seem to be directed against ships, drones or GPS receivers, but to any device in a specific area.