US Drone Networks Disrupted by Electronic GPS Jamming

By: | November 8th, 2016

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Image Courtesy HighTechDad GPS on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/9Bz3Fv

You may think that GPS tracking systems for fleet management are a great technology whose time has come. But what if someone hacks into that fleet management system and messes with the GPS coordinates during rush hour? It may not have happened yet, but it is sure to soon.

If your neighbor’s son gets his hands on a drone and tries to “peek” into your windows or regularly disturbs the peace, you can get a “drone jammer” that will cause his drone to fall out of the sky. Drone jammers hack into drones that are within short range of your home and mess with their GPS systems.

But buyers beware, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently issued a fine of $34.9 million against a Chinese manufacturer of signal jammers. According to the FCC, “Jamming devices pose tangible threats to the integrity of US communications infrastructure, endangering life and property….” I’d like to know what jamming an obnoxious teenager from harassing me has to do with national security.

With the drone industry set to reach $127 billion in sales by 2020,┬áit’s highly likely all the teenagers in your neighborhood will soon have drones. But you can fight back. After all, the US Secret Service is currently using a similar system to jam signals of drones that travel too close to the White House or other sensitive government buildings. And the Russian government is using signal jammers to disarm drone networks that might be used to gain intelligence during a nuclear or conventional attack.

But the whole jamming issue is a big can of worms: the US GPS network has not been upgraded in years and relies on aging infrastructure that cannot withstand sophisticated jamming and attacks. Time for the politicians in Washington to do some real work!

The following video explains how ships and planes can be hijacked just by GPS hacking.

David Russell Schilling

David enjoys writing about high technology and its potential to make life better for all who inhabit planet earth.

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