[time-nuts] "The GPS navigation is the weakest point,"

Azelio Boriani azelio.boriani at screen.it
Thu Dec 15 17:24:04 EST 2011


There are GPS simulators for lab use (never seen live or in a picture), I
suppose they have one connector to feed the GPS receiver antenna.
Generating in one equipment all the signals you don't need many but only
one precise timing source.

On Thu, Dec 15, 2011 at 11:06 PM, Jim Palfreyman <jim77742 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Fascinating.
>
> I can picture setting up a bunch of transmitters in the hills to send out
> strong GPS-like signals to mimic the real thing. I suppose you could
> control those signals to fool the device it is somewhere else. That bit is
> very clever - you'd have to adjust the signals taking into account current
> positions of all current satellites. Smart bit of work there.
>
> But it would also need incredible timing. Even a few ns out and it wouldn't
> work. So how do you set up fantastic timing at different locations of
> transmitters throughout a country. Well you've blocked the GPS - so that's
> no good.
>
> It would require local atomic clocks (good ones) at each location.
>
> Do they have access to such things? Maybe I'm being naive.
>
> Jim
>
>
> On 16 December 2011 08:10, J. Forster <jfor at quikus.com> wrote:
>
> > Iran hijacked US drone, claims Iranian engineer  Tells Christian Science
> > Monitor that CIA's spy aircraft was 'spoofed' into landing in enemy
> > territory instead of its home base in Afghanistan
> > Iran guided the CIA's "lost" stealth drone to an intact landing inside
> > hostile territory by exploiting a navigational weakness long-known to the
> > US military, according to an Iranian engineer now working on the captured
> > drone's systems inside Iran.
> >
> > Iranian electronic warfare specialists were able to cut off
> communications
> > links of the American bat-wing RQ-170 Sentinel, says the engineer, who
> > works for one of many Iranian military and civilian teams currently
> trying
> > to unravel the drone’s stealth and intelligence secrets, and who could
> not
> > be named for his safety.
> >
> > Using knowledge gleaned from previous downed American drones and a
> > technique proudly claimed by Iranian commanders in September, the Iranian
> > specialists then reconfigured the drone's GPS coordinates to make it land
> > in Iran at what the drone thought was its actual home base in
> Afghanistan.
> >
> > "The GPS navigation is the weakest point," the Iranian engineer told the
> > Monitor, giving the most detailed description yet published of Iran's
> > "electronic ambush" of the highly classified US drone. "By putting noise
> > [jamming] on the communications, you force the bird into autopilot. This
> is
> > where the bird loses its brain."
> >
> > The “spoofing” technique that the Iranians used – which took into account
> > precise landing altitudes, as well as latitudinal and longitudinal data –
> > made the drone “land on its own where we wanted it to, without having to
> > crack the remote-control signals and communications” from the US control
> > center, says the engineer.
> >
> > The revelations about Iran's apparent electronic prowess come as the US,
> > Israel, and some European nations appear to be engaged in an
> ever-widening
> > covert war with Iran, which has seen assassinations of Iranian nuclear
> > scientists, explosions at Iran's missile and industrial facilities, and
> the
> > Stuxnet computer virus that set back Iran’s nuclear program.
> >
> > Now this engineer’s account of how Iran took over one of America’s most
> > sophisticated drones suggests Tehran has found a way to hit back. The
> > techniques were developed from reverse-engineering several less
> > sophisticated American drones captured or shot down in recent years, the
> > engineer says, and by taking advantage of weak, easily manipulated GPS
> > signals, which calculate location and speed from multiple satellites.
> > Rock Center: Iran's growing influence in
> > Iraq<
> >
> http://rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/12/13/9398341-a-growing-iranian-threat-in-wake-of-us-military-withdrawal-from-iraq-this-month
> > >
> >
> > Western military experts and a number of published papers on GPS spoofing
> > indicate that the scenario described by the Iranian engineer is
> plausible.
> >
> > "Even modern combat-grade GPS [is] very susceptible” to manipulation,
> says
> > former US Navy electronic warfare specialist Robert Densmore, adding that
> > it is “certainly possible” to recalibrate the GPS on a drone so that it
> > flies on a different course. “I wouldn't say it's easy, but the
> technology
> > is there.”
> >
> > In 2009, Iran-backed Shiite militants in Iraq were found to have
> downloaded
> > live, unencrypted video streams from American Predator drones with
> > inexpensive, off-the-shelf software. But Iran’s apparent ability now to
> > actually take control of a drone is far more significant.
> >
> > Iran asserted its ability to do this in September, as pressure mounted
> over
> > its nuclear program.
> >
> > Gen. Moharam Gholizadeh, the deputy for electronic warfare at the air
> > defense headquarters of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC),
> > described to Fars News how Iran could alter the path of a GPS-guided
> > missile – a tactic more easily applied to a slower-moving drone.
> >
> > *Downed US drone: How Iran caught the
> > 'beast'*<
> >
> http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/1209/Downed-US-drone-How-Iran-caught-the-beast
> > >
> >
> > “We have a project on hand that is one step ahead of jamming, meaning
> > ‘deception’ of the aggressive systems,” said Gholizadeh, such that “we
> can
> > define our own desired information for it so the path of the missile
> would
> > change to our desired destination.”
> >
> > Gholizadeh said that “all the movements of these [enemy drones]” were
> being
> > watched, and “obstructing” their work was “always on our agenda.”
> >
> > That interview has since been pulled from Fars’ Persian-language website.
> > And last month, the relatively young Gholizadeh died of a heart attack,
> > which some Iranian news sites called suspicious – suggesting the
> electronic
> > warfare expert may have been a casualty in the covert war against Iran.
> >
> > *Iran's growing electronic capabilities
> > *Iranian lawmakers say the drone capture is a "great epic" and claim to
> be
> > "in the final steps of breaking into the aircraft's secret code."
> >
> > Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told Fox News on Dec. 13 that the US
> will
> > "absolutely" continue the drone campaign over Iran, looking for evidence
> of
> > any nuclear weapons work. But the stakes are higher for such
> surveillance,
> > now that Iran can apparently disrupt the work of US drones.
> >
> > US officials skeptical of Iran’s capabilities blame a malfunction, but so
> > far can't explain how Iran acquired the drone intact. One American
> analyst
> > ridiculed Iran’s capability, telling Defense News that the loss was “like
> > dropping a Ferrari into an ox-cart technology culture.”
> >
> > A former senior Iranian official who asked not to be named said: "There
> are
> > a lot of human resources in Iran.... Iran is not like Pakistan."
> >
> > “Technologically, our distance from the Americans, the Zionists, and
> other
> > advanced countries is not so far to make the downing of this plane seem
> > like a dream for us … but it could be amazing for others,” deputy IRGC
> > commander Gen. Hossein Salami said this week.
> > Iran: Obama should apologize for drone
> > 'spying'<
> >
> http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/12/13/9417003-iran-obama-should-apologize-for-drone-spying-operation
> > >
> >
> > According to a European intelligence source, Iran shocked Western
> > intelligence agencies in a previously unreported incident that took place
> > sometime in the past two years, when it managed to “blind” a CIA spy
> > satellite by “aiming a laser burst quite accurately.”
> >
> > More recently, Iran was able to hack Google security certificates, says
> the
> > engineer. In September, the Google accounts of 300,000 Iranians were made
> > accessible by hackers. The targeted company said "circumstantial
> evidence"
> > pointed to a "state-driven attack" coming from Iran, meant to snoop on
> > users.
> >
> > Cracking the protected GPS coordinates on the Sentinel drone was no more
> > difficult, asserts the engineer.
> >
> > *US knew of GPS systems' vulnerability
> > *Use of drones has become more risky as adversaries like Iran hone
> > countermeasures. The US military has reportedly been aware of
> > vulnerabilities with pirating unencrypted drone data streams since the
> > Bosnia campaign in the mid-1990s.
> > Top US officials said in 2009 that they were working to encrypt all drone
> > data streams in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan – after finding militant
> > laptops loaded with days' worth of data in Iraq – and acknowledged that
> > they were "subject to listening and exploitation."Perhaps as easily
> > exploited are the GPS navigational systems upon which so much of the
> modern
> > military depends.
> > "GPS signals are weak and can be easily outpunched [overridden] by poorly
> > controlled signals from television towers, devices such as laptops and
> MP3
> > players, or even mobile satellite services," Andrew Dempster, a professor
> > from the University of New South Wales School of Surveying and Spatial
> > Information Systems, told a March conference on GPS vulnerability in
> > Australia.
> >
> > "This is not only a significant hazard for military, industrial, and
> > civilian transport and communication systems, but criminals have worked
> out
> > how they can jam GPS," he says.
> >
> > *Unmanned drone attacks and shape-shifting robots: War's remote-control
> > future*<
> >
> http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2011/1022/Unmanned-drone-attacks-and-shape-shifting-robots-War-s-remote-control-future
> > >
> >
> > The US military has sought for years to fortify or find alternatives to
> the
> > GPS system of satellites, which are used for both military and civilian
> > purposes. In 2003, a “Vulnerability Assessment Team” at Los Alamos
> National
> > Laboratory published research explaining how weak GPS signals were easily
> > overwhelmed with a stronger local signal.
> >
> > “A more pernicious attack involves feeding the GPS receiver fake GPS
> > signals so that it believes it is located somewhere in space and time
> that
> > it is not,” reads the Los Alamos report. “In a sophisticated spoofing
> > attack, the adversary would send a false signal reporting the moving
> > target’s true position and then gradually walk the target to a false
> > position.”
> >
> > The vulnerability remains unresolved, and a paper presented at a Chicago
> > communications security conference in October laid out parameters for
> > successful spoofing of both civilian and military GPS units to allow a
> > "seamless takeover" of drones or other targets.
> >
> > To “better cope with hostile electronic attacks,” the US Air Force in
> late
> > September awarded two $47 million contracts to develop a "navigation
> > warfare" system to replace GPS on aircraft and missiles, according to the
> > Defense Update website.
> >
> > Official US data on GPS describes "the ongoing GPS modernization program"
> > for the Air Force, which "will enhance the jam resistance of the military
> > GPS service, making it more robust."
> >
> > *Why the drone's underbelly was damaged
> > *Iran's drone-watching project began in 2007, says the Iranian engineer,
> > and then was stepped up and became public in 2009 – the same year that
> the
> > RQ-170 was first deployed in Afghanistan with what were then
> > state-of-the-art surveillance systems.
> > In January, Iran said it had shot down two conventional (nonstealth)
> > drones, and in July, Iran showed Russian experts several US drones –
> > including one that had been watching over the underground uranium
> > enrichment facility at Fordo, near the holy city of Qom.
> >
> > In capturing the stealth drone this month at Kashmar, 140 miles inside
> > northeast Iran, the Islamic Republic appears to have learned from two
> years
> > of close observation.
> >
> > Iran displayed the drone on state-run TV last week, with a dent in the
> left
> > wing and the undercarriage and landing gear hidden by anti-American
> > banners.
> >
> > The Iranian engineer explains why: "If you look at the location where we
> > made it land and the bird's home base, they both have [almost] the same
> > altitude," says the Iranian engineer. "There was a problem [of a few
> > meters] with the exact altitude so the bird's underbelly was damaged in
> > landing; that's why it was covered in the broadcast footage."
> >
> > Prior to the disappearance of the stealth drone earlier this month,
> Iran’s
> > electronic warfare capabilities were largely unknown – and often
> dismissed.
> >
> > "We all feel drunk [with happiness] now," says the Iranian engineer.
> "Have
> > you ever had a new laptop? Imagine that excitement multiplied many-fold."
> > When the Revolutionary Guard first recovered the drone, they were aware
> it
> > might be rigged to self-destruct, but they "were so excited they could
> not
> > stay away."
> >
> > ** **Scott Peterson* <http://www.csmonitor.com/tags/topic/Scott+Peterson
> > >*,
> > the Monitor's Middle East correspondent, wrote this story with an Iranian
> > journalist who publishes under the pen name Payam Faramarzi and cannot be
> > further identified for security reasons.
> > *
> >
> > *© 2011 The Christian Science Monitor*
> >
> > <
> >
> http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45685870/ns/world_news-christian_science_monitor/#
> > >
> >
> >
> > Best,
> >
> > -John
> > ===============
> >
> >
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