New study presents method to stop cyber attacks on GPS-enabled devices

GPS
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A new study by researchers Nikolaos Gatsis, David Akopian and Ahmad F. Taha and their graduate student Ali Khalajmehrabadi from the UTSA Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering describes a computer algorithm that mitigates the effects of spoofed GPS attacks on electrical grids and other GPS-reliant technologies. This new algorithm has the potential to help cybersecurity professionals to better detect and prevent cyber attacks in real time.

"Malicious agents have the ability to disrupt a device's understanding of time and by emitting a signal that is pretending to be a GPS signal," Gatsis said. "This can be very harmful in several different realms of technology."

The U.S. electrical power grid, for example, depends on GPS to give time stamps for its measurements at stations across the country. Although reliable, researchers in laboratories across the world have shown that the system can be vulnerable to spoofing that can disrupt the system's time and location data.

"In broad terms, malicious cyber-attackers can clone the GPS signal and display, for instance, the wrong time or the wrong location," Akopian said. "This can wreak all sorts of havoc. It can send people to the wrong location or render hours of data useless."

The trio's algorithm, which can be applied to cell phones or computers as easily as a new app, has the ability to recognize false GPS signals and counter an attack while it occurs. Their main focus has been preventing attacks on the American electrical power grid, but the algorithm is applicable to several different devices.

"As we move forward with this concept of driverless cars, it becomes much more vital that we secure our GPS signals because the hijacking of the location abilities of a driverless car could be very dangerous," Taha said. "Beyond that, and banks also use GPS signals. Every day, hundreds of thousands of measurements of time and location are made using this information—and it's important to make the data secure."


Explore further

New defenses sought against GPS spoofing attacks

More information: Ali Khalajmehrabadi et al, Real-Time Rejection and Mitigation of Time Synchronization Attacks on the Global Positioning System, IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics (2018). DOI: 10.1109/TIE.2017.2787581
Provided by University of Texas at San Antonio
Citation: New study presents method to stop cyber attacks on GPS-enabled devices (2018, March 19) retrieved 18 December 2018 from https://techxplore.com/news/2018-03-method-cyber-gps-enabled-devices.html
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Mar 19, 2018
Well...that article was strangely devoid of any kind of info.

"Yup, we have an algorithm"

(the linked abstract is only marginally more helpful)

Mar 19, 2018
Evil knows no bounds. That's why the wrath is coming.

Mar 20, 2018
hi there! It's great site. so many topics and opinions. I used to read, basically washingtonpost but now your site one of my favorites. Thank you!

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