Just when all of us Luddites were becoming comfortable with the notion of GPS doing the driving, along comes another reason to worry.
The Houston Chronicle reports that students from the University of Texas school of Engineering worked with their professor to develop a device that allowed them to remotely take control of a megayacht sailing the Mediterranean.
The device broadcast false GPS signals to the yacht, slowly ratcheting up the intensity of the signals so as not to alert the ship’s alarm, before gaining complete control over the ship’s GPS system. Then, the students controlling the device fooled the autopilot into changing course. In effect, the students broadcast a false location and the autopilot adjusted by trying to get back “on course.”
The ship’s owner was cooperating in the experiment, but his crew were never aware anything was amiss. Certainly this student effort points out a security flaw in shipboard systems and any other navigation that relies on GPS satellite signals.