GPS satellite networks are easy targets for hackers

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

A pivotal network of GPS satellites doesn’t properly guard its communication, making devices back on Earth susceptible to hacking, according to new research. Lots of companies — everything ranging from overseas shipping containers to oil drilling rigs — use location data beamed from GPS trackers to ensure that equipment never goes off course. But Colby Moore, a researcher with cybersecurity firm Synack, has found that it’s easy to crack Globalstar’s GPS satellite network. This is a company that bills itself as “the world’s most modern satellite network.” GPS trackers beam data to satellites, which send them back to base stations on Earth. Using cheap hardware and small planes, Colby successfully intercepted and decoded data — none of which was encrypted. He also found that there are no safeguards to check that data is shared only between real trackers and base stations. With that access, Moore was able to decode the transmissions and create fake GPS data. The result? High-tech thieves could steal a freight truck full of precious cargo without setting off alarms. Rescuers responding to a sinking cruise ship could be redirected far away from the actual wreckage. Aviation is especially at risk. Lots of planes transmit their location […]

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