Ships and aircraft affected: Russia apparently hacks the global satellite navigation system

Ships and aircraft affected: Russia apparently hacks the global satellite navigation system

The Kerch Bridge connects Russia with Europe. According to a study, Russia manipulated the navigational data of thousands of ships in the area.Google Maps / VMorozoff - Wikimapia, CC

But when Putin drives over the bend, something strange happens. The satellite navigation systems of 24 nearby vessels suddenly indicate incorrect ship positions. The locating systems tell the captains that they are 65 kilometers away and ashore - at the airport of the southern Russian city of Anapa. & Nbsp;

When Putin drove across the Kerch bridge in May 2018, the navigation signals from numerous ships in the area were said to have been disturbed. Alexander Nemenov / Pool via REUTERS

GNSS is a system of international satellites orbiting the Earth. These include the US Global Positioning System (GPS), China's Beidou, Russia's GLONASS and Europe's Galileo.

Russia's disruption, blocking or manipulation of GNSS signals appears to be "more arbitrary, stubborn, greater in scale and geographically more prevalent than previous reports suggest," according to a report by American IT security firm Digital Shadows. & Nbsp;

According to the C4AD study, so far 1,311 civilian ships have been affected by the Russian hacker attacks, a total of 9,883 cases of GNSS manipulation have been reported or detected. Most of the incidents occurred in Crimea, the Black Sea, Syria and Russia. & Nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp; & nbsp;

Until recently, C4AD argued that Russia would manipulate the GNSS as a matter of priority to complicate the detection of President Putin. This is indicated by a large area north of the Cape Idokopas near the southern Russian town of Gelendzhik.

The GNSS seems to be permanently disturbed there. It is assumed that Putin has his summer residence in the area. According to C4AD there is "a large Italianate-style palace, several helicopter landing pads, an amphitheater and a small harbor. It is the only known location in Russia with the same airspace and GNSS surveillance as the Kremlin.

"The points at which the GNSS was manipulated correlate closely with places where Vladimir Putin has made visits both at home and abroad. This suggests that Russian forces have developed mobile units to disrupt the GNSS signal, "writes Digital Shadows. The incidents also correlated with the whereabouts of Russian forces and authorities. In some areas, the disturbances seem to have served to isolate or hinder foreign military personnel, the report says. & Nbsp;

The threat of hacker attacks on the GNSS system is considerable. Phones, ships, airplanes and power plants are all dependent on time and location information from GPS and can therefore be hacked.

"All critical infrastructures work to a certain extent via GPS. The system is particularly important for emergency services, in telecommunications, as well as in transport and finance, "according to a report from the UK Space Agency. For example, an attack that would collapse the British GNSS system would cost around 1.15 billion euros (one billion British pounds) per day as long as the system was inactive. & Nbsp; & Nbsp; & Nbsp;

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