GPS-Dependent Systems: Vulnerabilities to Electromagnetic Attacks

Lester de Abreu Faria, Caio Augusto de Melo Silvestre, Marcelino Aparecido Feitosa Correia


The GPS is a satellite navigation system that provides location and time information. Such a system currently supports critical applications for military, civil and commercial users worldwide and is accessible to any operator by using a single GPS receiver. However, although being too dependent on GPS signals, just a few of these applications present some kind of countermeasure to electromagnetic attacks, showing a high level of vulnerability to intentional attacks. In this paper, we pose questions and situations related to security and vulnerability of different kinds of platforms/vectors and systems which directly afflict the situational awareness of operators. Experiments were made with different general GPS receivers as a function of distance and incidence angle,showing that they fail to work even at low jamming powers (−25 and 0 dBm at 10 m). More complex GPS systems, such as aeronautical receivers, were also tested, losing completely the tracking at −30 dBm, when a 0° (levelled) and 10 m far electromagnetic jamming signal is incident on its antenna. A specific open source, free software (JammPy) allows extending these experimental results, providing a roadmap and estimating how much jamming power is necessary to cause damage to these systems.


Aerospace; Electronic Warfare; GPS; Jammer; GPS-dependent Systems

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