Cybersecurity audit specialists from multiple firms say Russia is altering GPS signals to work to spy on government agencies in strategic areas, such as Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. The Kremlin has denied such claims.
According to Israeli intelligence reports, the signal from GPS systems at that airport has shown failures resulting in affectations for pilots and aircraft using this location system. “Data alterations significantly impact operations at the airport,” the Israeli authorities say.
On the other hand, Russia’s ambassador in Israel claims that these allegations are the product of fake news and there is no way they will be taken seriously.
So far the interruption in GPS signals has not caused any accidents, Israel’s airport reports. Cybersecurity audit experts add that by failing the GPS signal, pilots can resort to the use of the instrument landing system for take-off and landing. “These faults only affect aircraft in the sky, not ground sensors,” the experts said
Flaws in this system have been linked to cyber warfare systems used by the Russian government to protect their aircraft at Hmeimim airbase in Syria. These facilities are located more than 300km away from Ben Gurion Airport. Syria is the Russian government’s main ally in that part of the world, which explains the presence of Soviet aircraft relatively close to Israel, one of the most prominent United States allies.
Cybersecurity audit specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) believe that the Russian intervention hypothesis should not be ruled out. On previous occasions, Russia has demonstrated the ability to block, modify and falsify GPS signals for various purposes, mainly defense tactics.
U.S. intelligence agencies have documented at least 10,000 incidents of GPS signal jamming, claiming that the Russian militia is a pioneer in this field. The main purpose of these operations is to keep potential intruders away from Russian military bases.