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"MIT's Technology Review features Paul Kinter in recent article: 'Hijacking Satellite Navigation' "

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Global Positioning System (GPS) lies at the heart of an increasing number of technologies, from vehicle navigation systems to the power grid. And yet, although the military version of GPS includes security features such as encryption, civilian signals are transmitted in the clear. Now, researchers at Cornell University and Virginia Tech have demonstrated a relatively simple way to fool ordinary GPS receivers into accepting bogus signals using a briefcase-size transmitter.

Paul Kintner, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Cornell, who worked on the project, warns that society is becoming dependent on GPS for an ever-broadening list of applications, including management of the power grid and tracking criminals under house arrest. "I'm just amazed at the way people are using these GPS systems," Kintner says. "Ten years from now, there will be more ways that we just don't know about--it migrates into our technological fabric, and we become dependent on it."

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