Spirent circle logo


Fundamentals of GPS Threats

How the growing threats to satellite navigation signals can impact your critical systems, and what to do about it.

AdobeStock 116377741 (1) 620x200

Satellite navigation signals from space are vulnerable to various threats such as solar activity, man-made interference, malicious signal faking, and manipulation of position and timing information. As our dependence on GNSS signals grows across industries, understanding and mitigating these threats becomes crucial for manufacturers, system providers, and end-users.

GNSS Vulnerabilities

This white paper is designed for those responsible for managing the risks affecting GNSS-reliant systems and outlines the following: 

  • An introduction to the different threats to GNSS, and how these are evolving

  • Some guidance on evaluating the susceptibility of your systems to GNSS threats

  • An overview of some of the most effective techniques available to mitigate the risk of GNSS outages, errors and/or cyber-attacks on your critical systems

  • An introduction to Spirent’s GNSS threat assessment and mitigation services

The GNSS signals used by commercial devices are precariously weak, with power no greater than that of a 40-watt light bulb. They are also freely available, and—unlike signals reserved for military use—are usually unprotected by encryption.

These two factors mean that civilian satellite signals are relatively easy to block, disrupt, manipulate, and tamper with, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

There are many types of threat that can interfere with a GNSS receiver’s ability to receive and process GNSS signals, giving rise to inaccurate readings, or no reading at all.

Understanding the current risks and monitoring how threats evolve is essential to anticipate and mitigate future challenges. For instance, malicious jamming and spoofing are rapidly evolving as hackers gain access to low-cost equipment to interfere with GNSS signals for personal gain or more malicious purposes. 

As society becomes more reliant on GNSS signals for navigation and guidance, any threat to these signals poses a significant risk. The increasing dependence on GNSS also makes it an attractive target for hackers, who constantly devise new ways to disrupt and exploit these systems. 

Manufacturers of GNSS-reliant devices and systems must stay on top of emerging threats and implement appropriate risk mitigation measures promptly. 

Download the White Paper