Jamming and Spoofing GPS – New Scientist Magazine – David Hambling – 12th March 2011

There’s an interesting article on GPS in the New Scientist this week – issue 12th March 2011, page 44.

The crux of the article is this: while we’re all using GPS in Smartphones & TomToms to find out where we are, it’s also being used in lots of mission-critical infrastructure hardware these days to get accurate atomic clock time & date stamps. Some of these other uses: GSM cell towers to synchronise clocks, signing stock market financial transactions, bank ATM timestamps, the United States power grid to sync 5000 suppliers, some airports use GPS-based landing systems to assist in poor visibility. In the future the US Federal Railroad Administration plans to rely on GPS for smart management of rail traffic. GPS is also used to locate cars, boats & cargo.

Jammers for GPS are now being manufactured in large numbers in Chinese factories, and can be bought over the internet using Paypal direct from the Far East – along with jammers for every other radio system you can imagine – just Google it. Like all these other jammers they are illegal to use. So who uses them? They are used by truckers to hide from their snooping bosses, criminals who steal cars with trackers fitted and people who want to avoid some GPS enabled road toll systems.

The problem is that GPS signals are derived from satellites in space that only transmit on low power. If you turn on a GPS jammer you not only block your own device, but also all GPS devices for hundreds of metres around you. The article mentions a trucker who used to drive past Newark Liberty International Airport, and his jammer shut down their new GPS assisted landing system, sometimes twice a day. It took them several months to discover the trucker in question.

Potentially far worse though, it’s also possible to spoof a GPS system, making it think it’s somewhere it isn’t. It’s also theoretically possibly to spoof the atomic clock timings that Stockbrokers and ATMs depend upon. If you could manipulate the time-stamp on stock market buy & sell orders you could make millions. Professor Todd Humphreys at the University of Texas has done a lot of research into GPS spoofing.

GPS is one of the few systems that security researchers armed with USRP software radios have yet to turn their attention to. The USRP radio peripheral can be made to mimic almost any radio system. So far they’ve gone after Bluetooth, WiFi, Dect & GSM. This year they’ve started a project to build a fully functioning Tetra radio (albeit without the encryption the Police use). GPS is a next logical target for man-in-the-middle spoofing attacks using USRP & other custom transceivers.

The article goes on to mention the development of eLORAN, which is a ground based GPS type navigation system, which can use higher power transmitters to overcome some of GPS’s limitations. Also, as Atomic Clocks become cheaper, any appliance will be able to figure out where it is (relative to a known starting point) using just digital compasses, accelerometers & gyroscopes. In fact, some of these sensors are already in iPhone & Android smartphones.

Another possible way of knowing if your GPS is being spoofed is to cross-reference using a 2nd technology. This could be the WiFi router MAC address database that Google compiled while mapping our roads for Streetview – useful on smartphones that have GPS & WiFi built in. Or you could make a database of all the cellphone sites in the UK using a laptop running OsmocomBB Cell_Log, a £10 Motorola C115 phone & a GPS receiver – accuracy is good to 100 metres, and any cellphone that can issue a RACH request can use the answers to locate itself from the Timing Advance value returned from multiple cell sites – this would be useful on a laptop only. I think Holland may have produced a similar map already.

Ettus Research, the maker of the USRP, announced on February 14th their own GPSDO add-on board ($750 each) for the USRP N200/N210. This will allow USRP radios at different sites to sync with each other accurately, just like the aforementioned cell towers do.

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Allergy to modern gadgets is ‘posing health risk to millions’

Taken from an article by Lisa Adams of the Scottish Daily Record about Electrosensitivity – published 08/09/2008 :

IT’S called an allergy to modern life and half of Scots in the next 10 years could be at risk from this crippling illness, according to scientific research.

Victims of the condition, which is triggered by electromagnetic waves from mobile phones, power lines, microwaves and computers, suffer headaches, crushing chest pains, nose bleeds and a loss of feeling in arms and legs.

Experts report that up to 1.5million people in the UK already have their lives blighted by electro-sensitivity, with symptoms that also include heart palpitations, tiredness, fainting, light sensitivity and skin problems.

Mike Bell, chairman of the Radiation Research Trust, said: “We are seeing a significant increase in enquiries from individuals suffering from these symptoms.

“We’re concerned that many people could be living with health-related electro-sensitivity symptoms without realising the cause.

“Doctors in the UK are not trained to recognise this condition. They could be misdiagnosing patients and treating them with drugs rather than investigating the cause.”

One victim has compared the condition with life as a human aerial – their body overreacting to electrical waves in the environment. Today, as a scientific conference opens in London, public health expert Dr Gerd Oberfeld will predict that if current trends continue, up to 50 per cent of people could suffer from electro sensitivity symptoms in the next 10 years.

The World Health Organisation is also backing research, stating that: “Electrical hypersensitivity is a real and sometimes disabling condition.”

Sufferers are particularly vulnerable to the £2.5billion police communication system Tetra – Terrestrial Trunked Radio – which has been introduced throughout the UK. In the past three years, more than 1000 masts have been erected in Scotland. They pulse at 17.6hertz – above the 16Hz frequency the Government’s Independent Expert Group on Mobile Phones warns might affect brain activity.

Experts say radio waves at this frequency can cause calcium to leak from the brain, causing damage to the nervous and immune systems. If the masts are less than 15 metres high, they don’t need planning permission.

Former Norwegian Prime Minister Harlem Brundtland suffers from electro-sensitivity.

She said: “I felt a local warmth around my ear. But the agony got worse. It turned to discomfort and headaches every time I used a mobile phone.

“Some people develop sensitivity to electricity and radiation from equipment such as mobile phones or PCs.

“If this can lead to adverse health effects such as cancer or other diseases, we do not know yet. But I think we should follow the precautionary principle.”


Larry King Live 29th July 2008

An interesting episode of Larry King live featuring: Dr Paul Song, Dr Keith Black & Devra Davis.

They debate the damage cell phone radiation may cause over 20 or 30 years. Remember we’ve only had pulsing GSM phones for 10 years.

Personally, I’m not totally convinced they will give you cancer.

However, I am still totally convinced that, for maybe 1 in 100 people (that must be 400,000+ UK voters, Gordon), being to close to the main beam of a mast, or having DECT cordless phone & WiFi router in your home can cause you to feel fuzzy-minded, not quite yourself & maybe end up at your doctors office asking for anti-depressants ( Paxil / Seroxat / Valium…)

If that one in 100 people happens to be one of your kids, then you better expect them to be getting prescribed Ritalin or other similar concoctions… Remember Ritalin has a similar effect on the brain to slow-release Cocaine. Before you start pumping your kids full of needless medications: try two weeks of no WiFi & no Dect phone in your home – during the night. Just turn the WiFi Router & Dect phone base-staion off at the mains. Get them out in the fresh air, riding bicycles & having fun. Keep them away from all that electronic crap that now passes for a childhood. Buy them a trampoline and make them bounce for 30 minutes a day, even in the rain! That way they’ll sleep soundly without drugs.

If one thing makes me feel sad about our childrens’ potential future it’s that Orwell’s & Huxley’s novels are being treated like a blueprint for the One-World-Order future. If you put arseholes in charge of decision making you can expect nothing better! Encourage your kids to read books, maybe 1984 & Brave New World 😉

Just because computers do become capable of surveying everybody – always – it doesn’t mean they should!

Written by admin in: GSM,Masts |

Mobile Phone Use Wrecks Sleep

Originally published in The Independent newspaper back in January 2008.

Using up all those free minutes before bedtime can seriously disrupt your sleep pattern. This is the conclusion of researchers in Sweden & the USA, in a properly controlled trial.

Critics from the mobile industry were quick to dismiss the effect as ‘no worse than having a coffee at bedtime’. But, up until very recently they insisted that no non-thermal effects existed with mobiles – now it seems that they’ve changed their tune…

Full original article from The Independent.

Written by admin in: 3G,General,GSM,Masts |

Mobile Phones Safe For Planes

Micro Mart magazine reports this week that OFCOM have given British airlines the go-ahead to install phone masts (picocells) on planes. The picocells will be switched off for take-off & landing, and will only be activated above 10,000 feet. The report states that BMI & Ryanair plan to install the technology soon. Great. Recycled air & electrosmog.

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Emirates to allow mobile calls

Dubai based airline Emirates has become the first airline to allow in-flight mobile calls. The specially converted A340 has shielding to prevent interference to the sensitive in-flight systems. This could be a really good money earner for Emirates. Good luck guys…

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Another non-heating effect found with mobiles

A New Scientist article this week reports.

Researchers in Helsinki have shown that 10 female volunteers exposed to 900MHz signals for 1 hour all showed altered protein expression in their skin cells. Interestingly, 580 different proteins were tested, and all ten women showed raised levels of one protein and suppressed levels of a second.

While similar results have been previously observed in cultured cells, this is the first study to show this effect on humans. While this doesn’t show any harm being caused it does rather overturn ICNIRP’s constantly repeated assertion that no non-heating effects exist with mobiles.

The author of the report now plans a larger study to identify the actual proteins involved and any ramifications for human health.

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