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

Brooke Clarke brooke at pacific.net
Thu Dec 15 23:11:07 EST 2011

Hi Azelio:

Yes, see:

a first generation single signal GPS generator

and a newer GPS sig gen that can simulate 5 L1 and 5 L2 signals:

Not only is precise timing not required, there's no provision for it on the NT SRT2760 simulator.

The method of capturing the drone  I think I've figured out.

Have Fun,

Brooke Clarke

Azelio Boriani wrote:
> 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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