Students spoof GPS signals to send mega yacht off course (with video)

“Some University of Texas students led by professor Todd Humphreys have shown, it is now possible to spoof a GPS system,” Eric Berger reports for The Houston Chronicle.

“the students created a device that sent false GPS signals to a ship, overrode the existing GPS signals, and essentially gained control of the navigation of an $80 million yacht in the Mediterranean Sea,” Berger reports. “The scientists who conducted the experiment — done with permission of the yacht’s owners — say their ability to broadcast counterfeit GPS signals that triggered no alarms within the ship’s navigation system highlights a serious flaw in transportation networks on land and sea.”

Berger reports, “Some 90 percent of the world’s freight moves by sea. Moreover other semi-autonomous vehicles, such as aircraft, are likely similarly vulnerable.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Ugh, a passenger jet on autopilot — or potentially even worse, autoland — taken over is a nightmare.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]


  1. why i said all this driverless car baloney wont see any significant public road use in the next 40 odd years. hell technology cant even stop planes landing short of runways and trains from not going round bends at twice the speed they are supposed to and in these cases the runway and track never move.

    1. Both of those cases look to be examples of operator error. The pilots of Asiana did not understand the software of the aircraft they were operating and got confused as to what controls the throttle was operating under. The train operator was talking on his cell phone while trying to look at a paper map when he went around the corner – not to mention he apparently had a habit of boasting about his speeding and posted pictures of it on Facebook…

      Don’t try to pin this on technology. In both cases, the systems did exactly what the meat-bags at the controls were telling them to do.

  2. Haha! My next evil scheme is ready! Unless the world’s governments pay me ONE HUNDRED BEELION DOLLARS, I shall spoof GPS signals all over the world, sending shipments off course, crashing planes, and stranding countless drivers in the bad part of town! It’s evil genius, I tell you! EVIL GENIUS! MWAH-HAHAHA!


  3. My morning commute was very easy this morning. Sending false GPS signals to all of the cars ahead of me had them taking detours off the main road. Shortly I was driving all alone down the road. Genius !

  4. I am not sure about commercial naval navigation systems, but aircraft navigation systems do not strictly use GPS only navigation. There are non-GPS navigation systems that have been in use long before the GPS satalite constalation was put in place. These system are used jointly with GPS nav aids. Auto landing systems utilize local based nav aids when auto landing, not just GPS. Military systems use coded GPS channels that commercial users do not have access to as well as other tech to prevent GPS corruption. So you can sleep peacefully knowing that nuke missile won’t go astray and hit your house, unless of course the NSA doesn’t like what you tweeted about last night…

  5. Hum. It should at least trigger an alarm. But if course that requires a set if points on the map with already locked coordinates to calculate from to look for an error.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.