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Dangers of GPS spoofing and hacking for location based services

Dangers of GPS spoofing and hacking for location based services

We have all been in situations where Google Maps has come up and saved us from being lost and actually given us the correct location, but imagine cases whereby the Map application showed you the wrong place and showed you a wrong place.

If the thing happened in previous years then you would be forgiven in thinking that the problem was as a result of a glitch on the Google Maps app part. However, new information shows that hackers can actually break into the app and change the location details and as a result send you to the wrong place, which would be of their own choosing.

Most of the app based applications online have a reliance on the GPS system, therefore any attack on the GPS would affect not only one application but a plethora of them. Acknowledging that the GPS hacking incidents is actually going to be a serious issue is vital. The method can be used to create some life threatening problems and cause accidents if the control of the system fell into the wrong hands.

Therefore, it’s best that the responsible authorities try to fight off the issue of GPS attacks, and thankfully one of them is. Dinesh Manandhar, the project associate professor at the University of Tokyo, is working on developing a technology which would be used to prevent what in the tech field is called GPS spoofing, simplified to the falsification of location data on GPS.

According to Manandhar, most smartphones would believe that the location coordinates that they are given are fairly easy and therefore they give false results. To be able to do this, hackers only need to get hold of a device which is called the GPS simulator. With this device, they would be able to generate the same signals which are also given by GPS satellites. The device is also used by manufacturers to test the accuracy of their products.

Most GPS simulators are easily available on the market for $8,000 for those that want one, but used ones are also available on the market and it is better to just grab one like that for use. Dinesh said that with the device hackers could falsify their smartphone’s information and in the process make it look like they were going to and fro Tokyo and Hawaii in just less than 3 minutes.

Dinesh also noted that the latest gaming sensation which was during the summer, Pokemon Go also saw a rise in GPS spoofers use as people tried to tweak their location services so that they could get rare creatures which would be featured in the game and be able to do all this without even having to leave their houses. The technique was so widespread that there were even YouTube videos about the method.

Dinesh said that the Pokemon Go attack might have not been used in a way that could cause danger, but he highlighted that it might be a matter of time before someone attacks a company especially those which are reliant on location based services.

Academic circles have been highlighting the dangers of GPS spoofing for a long time now and governments and corporations have been given a side eye to the issue up to now. The complaints and arguments started back in the 2000s and the lack of interest might have been because of the lack of smartphone apps and location based services at the time. However the issue has now risen and governments and responsible businesses need to address the issue.

About Ali Raza

Ali Raza is a freelance journalist with extensive experience in marketing and management. He holds a master degree and actively writes about crybersecurity, cryptocurrencies, and technology in general. Raza is the co-founder of, too, a site dedicated to educating people on online privacy and spying.

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