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09/08/22 (WIWT News) DHS/CISA | Even before the press briefing ended, addressing the debit/credit card processing attacks was over, social media was abuzz with rumors of GPS and other navigation technology was being targeted as well.

Back on the phone with founder and Chief Executive of Cyber Security-R-US, Snuffy Nerdsmith, WIWT Journalist Skip Columbo worked to get the most up-to-date information available.

Nerdsmith stated that satellite GPS systems seemed to be targeted most recently by jamming, creating erroneous readings for several minutes, and even up to an hour at a time.  “This falls beyond the scope of our normal field of cyber security, but we’re seeing reports of GPS signal disruptions, especially with oceanic shipping, and most especially in the Pacific Ocean.  But also some areas on the Atlantic.

But what does fall within the scope of Nerdsmith’s Cyber Security-R-Us is what is happening with aircraft navigational technology, called ADS-B, which stands for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast.  It is a signal device on all aircraft, which continually sends bursts of data indicating it’s airspeed, elevation, location, and other data.  It is how aircraft can see each other in the air, and how Air Traffic Controllers guide them.

In the very early morning hours in the United States, a barrage of tech support tickets were reported by several freight and commercial airlines, as well as the Air Traffic Control (ATC) centers at multiple airports across the country.  The reports indicate what appears to be a simultaneous loss of data for approximately fifteen seconds.  That is an eternity for a plane approaching a busy airport at several hundred miles per hour.  Other tech support tickets indicated erroneous readings for about the same amount of time, where pilots and ATCs were their own aircraft several miles from their actual location, or having visual contact with other aircraft which appeared several miles farther on the screen, or dangerously close.

Government and civilian cyber experts don’t have an explanation at this time, but they are working to identify the source of the glitch.  So far, officials are saying that travelers have nothing to fear and this shouldn’t deter citizens from going about their daily routines.



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