Cyberattacks on GPS leave ships sailing in dangerous waters

By John E Dunn, Sophos

August 08, 2017

After years of worries about the vulnerability of ship-borne GPS to jamming and spoofing, a handful of governments are suddenly warming up to a backup radio technology called Enhanced Long-Range Navigation (eLoran).

Reuters this week reports that South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries is looking to establish the technology in a test form by 2019.  Elsewhere, it seems likely that the US will invest taxpayers’ money into doing the same thing on a large scale, while even Russia is promoting its own version of eLoran called eChayka, for use in Arctic shipping routes.

And well they might after a recent spate of GPS jamming incidents involving these countries. Last year North Korea was accused of being behind the mass jamming of dozens of South Korean vessels that was serious enough to force them back to port.

Other jamming events included a warning of GPS interference issued by the US Coast Guard in early 2016 and a reported mass-jamming incident in the Black Sea in June this year.

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