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Researchers say GPS jamming is on the rise, raise concern that GPS spoofing may be next

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Tthe results of a recent study show that the use of GPS jammers in the UK is on the rise — likely due to truck drivers who are looking to obfuscate the movement of their vehicles. Other presentations to be heard will raise the possibility of ships getting driven off course and stock trades (which are timed off the GPS clocks) getting manipulated.

GPS Jammer 640
GPS Jammer 640

The "GNSS Vulnerability 2012: Present Danger, Future Threats" conference will be held today at the National Physical Laboratory in England. There, the results of a recent study will show that the use of GPS jammers in the UK is on the rise — mostly due to drivers who are looking to obfuscate the movement of their vehicles. In a test conducted by the "Sentinel project," 20 roadside monitors placed near roadsides over the course of six months detected dozens of jammers on vehicles, with one location detecting 60 such incidences.

The concern, now familiar to anybody who has followed the LightSquared saga, is that interfering with GPS can do worse things than allowing a trucker to skip paying toll fees. GPS jamming is cheap and easy, and if taken to an extreme could inadvertently cause a ship to go off course. Beyond simple jamming, another issue researchers' collective radar is GPS spoofing, which is a bit more difficult but has the potential to wreak more havoc. A GPS spoofer could possibly manipulate stock trades, which are timed off the GPS clocks, though luckily no actual cases have been reported.

Panels at the conference will also address that pesky radio spectrum interference problem surfaced by LightSquared. Solutions for radio interference, jamming, and spoofing are all unfortunately in very early stages.