A new experiment exploiting flaws in the world’s Global Positioning System (GPS) has revealed a massive potential national security problem. GPS expert Todd Humphreys and a research team from the University of Texas managed to steer a ship off course using a laptop, a small antenna and an electronic GPS “spoofer” that was built for $3,000.
The results illustrated how terrorists and hackers could hijack ships and planes, causing untold damage. The UT team conducted the test aboard a 210ft super-yacht in the Mediterranean Sea.
By feeding counterfeit radio signals to the yacht, the researchers managed to steer the ship way off course. They could turn it to the left and right and even send it on a collision course with another vessel. The ship’s GPS system, meanwhile, indicated that it was calmly moving along its intended course in a straight line. There was no suggestion of any problem or deviation.