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December 2017, Vol. 19, No. 10

CISOs take notice as GPS vulnerabilities raise alarms

A collection of orbiting satellites used to triangulate location, the U.S. global positioning system is best known for its ability to locate things on or above the Earth's surface. Whether it's a mapping application, a truck fleet monitoring system or a family car, use of GPS services has become ubiquitous and indispensable. GPS also serves as the de facto world clock, transmitting accurate time everywhere. The precision timing powers and coordinates communication networks and electrical grids; GPS timestamps drive financial transactions determining, for example, which "buy" order was first.  But GPS vulnerabilities and the growing reliance on this technology have raised security concerns. U.S. prosecutors charged three Chinese nationals in November with hacking and attempted theft of trade secrets from Moody's Analytics, Siemens AG and Trimble, which is developing a new global navigation satellite system. Mother Nature (solar flares) or bad actors with free online tools or inexpensive equipment can jam or alter local GPS ...

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