FocalPoint at Jammertest 2023
This year, FocalPoint participated at Jammertest in Norway and in this blog, Product Manager Jez Ellis-Gray shares some concerning facts about spoofing and jamming and why FocalPoint attended.
GNSS Jamming, spoofing and meaconing (briefly) explained
While all three aim to disrupt the process of using the satellites to provide position, navigation and timing (PNT), they go about it in very different ways. Jamming involves broadcasting very loud ‘noise’ in the GNSS spectrum that prevents any useful measurement of the true (and very weak) satellite signals; like shining a very bright light at a camera, while trying to photograph the stars at night. Spoofing is more complex and involves sending false signals to impersonate the true signals to deceive the receiver into generating false measurements. Meaconing (technically a subset of spoofing) works by receiving and re-broadcasting out true GNSS signals. The effect of the additional delay from meaconing is to give a false position, but with little control over the position.
The impact of Jamming and Spoofing
With so much reliance on GNSS in everything from consumer devices to banking, jamming and spoofing really is a threat and a significant concern that is only increasing. In fact, a London Economics report suggested the cost of a full GNSS outage to the UK alone, could be £1 billion a day.
Jamming is worryingly commonplace, including among dishonest delivery drivers who want to prevent their employers from tracking them. Spoofing however is less common, but on the rise. Some examples of spoofing include mobile gamers spoofing their location to access in-game items to vehicle theft, using spoofing to avoid triggering alarms until the vehicle is far away and the alarm can be physically disabled. With the rise of vehicle automation (to which GNSS is a critical component), spoofing presents new opportunities for malicious actors to disrupt and endanger unprotected users.
For all of the above reasons, jamming and spoofing is of course highly illegal without government approval. Set up by TestNor with military and governmental involvement, Jammertest brought together more than 200 participants from 80 companies and 19 countries worldwide. Over the course of the week location based devices in cars, drones, aeroplanes, clocks and ships were exposed to jamming, spoofing and meaconing attacks.
The interesting observations
Jammertest operates within a controlled environment. The team had the opportunity to see the potential impact of such spoofing and jamming attacks on end-users from the comfort of JammerTest HQ, whilst their smartphones and car navigation systems travelled away down the road and across the ocean!
The main focus of our attendance at Jammertest was to collect data to develop, test and demonstrate our Supercorrelation technology’s ability to reject, detect and locate spoofing attacks. With support from the European Space Agency (ESA) ESTEC Navigation Lab team, we mounted equipment in their telecommunications and navigation testbed vehicle to collect the raw radio and IMU data required to run Supercorrelation and ground truth.
ESA has funded FocalPoint’s development of a test and demonstration unit (EVK) via its Navigation Innovation and Support Programme (NAVISP) and were happy to collaborate with us:
“Jammertest allowed us to perform lots of testing, also of devices supported by NAVISP. It is always exciting to test innovative PNT equipment such as FocalPoint’s, especially if we have helped to develop it,” said ESA Radio Navigation Engineer Xurxo Otero Villamide.
We will use the data collected to prove our technology back in the UK, and we will demonstrate it live at the Jammertest 2024!
As threats keep evolving it is important that our teams keep abreast of the latest research developments so that any potential countermeasures can be demonstrated.
“Our grant by ESA’s NAVISP will help to accelerate the design and build of a real-time Supercorrelation - S-GNSS® receiver. This will allow us to effectively demonstrate in real-time our anti-spoofing capability” - Jez Ellis-Gray, FocalPoint, Product Manager.
Spoofing: a growing threat
GNSS spoofing is a distinct cybersecurity threat that poses a very real risk to the unprepared. Those involved in safety of life applications such as GNSS enabled ADAS systems have a responsibility to actively test their vulnerability and resilience to spoofing. Due to its illegality in normal areas, events such as Jammertest allow industry relevant organisations and regulatory bodies to consider best practices on mitigating GNSS spoofing.
Between the busy testing, the team had the amazing opportunity to see the northern lights and some Norwegian wildlife, including Reindeer, Moose and many local sheep (fondly christened the ‘Woolly Jammers’)…who occasionally invaded our test routes!
If you would like to learn more about FocalPoint’s anti spoofing capabilities for GNSS location based devices please contact us.