Email Print Share

"Spoof Proof" -- The Discovery Files

The Discovery Files
Audio Play Audio
The Discovery Files podcast is available through iTunes or you can add the RSS feed to your podcast receiver. You can also access the series via AudioNow® by calling 641-552-8180 on any telephone.


A new study describes a computer algorithm that mitigates the effects of "spoof" GPS attacks malicious GPS signals that provide the wrong time or location -- on electrical grids and other GPS-reliant technologies. Researchers believe this new algorithm has the potential to help cybersecurity professionals to better detect and prevent cyberattacks in real time by recognizing and countering the false signals when they occur.

Credit: NSF/Karson Productions

Audio Transcript:

Grid lock.

I'm Bob Karson with the Discovery Files, from the National Science Foundation.

(Sound effect: GPS navigation voice) "You're going the wrong way -- re-routing. Make a U-turn. Bob, what were you thinking?" GPS. It's not just to help us find a new restaurant or navigate a road trip. Cell towers, banks, industry, the military, driverless cars, and the entire U.S. power grid rely heavily on GPS. As dependable as it is, researchers tell us GPS is also vulnerable to attack. Disrupting systems that rely on GPS is a cyberthreat that's very real.

The ability to "spoof" a GPS signal by pretending to be one to provide the wrong time or location could cause everything from minor inconvenience to major chaos in crucial infrastructure systems. Again, I'm thinking, power grid. And so is a team from the University of Texas at San Antonio who devised an algorithm that can I.D. false GPS signals from the actual ones, and in real time counter such an attack.

The team focused primarily on protecting the power grid, but their algorithm can be applied to cell phones or computers as easily as a new app. They hope to make it available soon in app stores for iPhone and Android users and for computers.

Protecting our "guiding source" -- by making it "spoof-proof."

"The discovery files" covers projects funded by the government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you, by you! Learn more at nsf.gov or on our podcast.

 
General Restrictions:
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

Also Available:
Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image. (66.6 KB)

Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.

MP3 icon
NSF podcasts are in mp3 format for easy download to desktop and laptops, as well as mobile devices capable of playing them.