GPS spoofing makes ships in Russian waters think they're on land

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories 

SAN FRANCISCO – Researchers have discovered a disturbing pattern: dozens of ships whose GPS signals tell them they're on land -- at an airport no less -- even when they're far out to sea. An investigation released this week by the Washington D.C.-based Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation and Windward Ltd., a maritime data and analytics company, has found multiple instances of so-called GPS spoofing in Russian waters. As recently as Monday, two vessels' GPS told them they were at Sochi Airport near the site of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, 12 miles away from the harbor where the vessels actually were. Familiar to anyone using a smartphone or built-in auto navigation system to map out a route, the satellite-based system is also the main way ships and trucking fleets find their way. While the actual intent isn't known, speculation among GPS experts has in recent weeks converged on the theory that the GPS disruption of ships is actually a side effect of efforts to protect sensitive Russian sites such as the Kremlin and Russian President Vladimir Putin's summer home from surveillance and attacks by drones.