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Experiments by researchers from ETH Zurich, in Switzerland, and UCI in the United States trying to simulate a Global Positioning System (GPS) attack – similar to the one allegedly used by Iran to capture the RQ-170 warplane – have cast doubt on its feasibility.
The paper called “On the requirements for successful GPS spoofing attacks,” demonstrates that even though it’s perfectly plausible to pull off such a mission, in practice it’s far more difficult.
“According to our experiments, the attacker must ensure that his time offset to the system time is less than 75ns. Any greater offset will cause the GPS receiver to lose lock when the spoofing signal is turned on,” said the researchers.
“A value of 75ns roughly corresponds to a distance of 22.5m, meaning that the attacker must know his distance from the victim with an accuracy of 22.5m (or better)— a higher offset will cause the victim to lose lock due to the signal (chip phase) misalignment.”
Basically, the attacker would have to know precisely, at any given moment, the position of the victim aircraft.
The experts also propose some easy-to-apply countermeasures for which no modifications are necessary to the GPS signal, the satellite infrastructure or the GPS receiver.
India is considering duty time limitations for air traffic controllers to better manage stress and fatigue. The average duty hours for the ATCOs currently range between six to eight hours. The new civil aviation minister […]