Above Us Only Stars

“GPS and other Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) are used in everything from cellular communication networks, to basic consumer goods, high-end military systems, and stock trading inputs. But these systems are vulnerable: by attacking positioning, navigational, and timing (PNT) data through electronic warfare (EW) capabilities, state and non-state actors can cause significant damage to modern militaries, major economies, and everyday consumers alike.   With recent technological advances, the tools and methodologies for conducting this interference are now at a high risk for proliferation. GNSS attacks are emerging as a viable, disruptive strategic threat.

In this report, we present findings from a year-long investigation ending in November 2018 on an emerging subset of EW activity: the ability to mimic, or “spoof,” legitimate GNSS signals in order to manipulate PNT data. Using publicly available data and commercial technologies, we detect and analyze patterns of GNSS spoofing in the Russian Federation, Crimea, and Syria that demonstrate the Russian Federation is growing a comparative advantage in the targeted use and development of GNSS spoofing capabilities to achieve tactical and strategic objectives at home and abroad. We profile different use cases of current Russian state activity to trace the activity back to basing locations and systems in use.”

Above Us Only Stars: Exposing GPS Spoofing in Russia and Syria.” C4ADS.org. April 2019.

Finding Surveillance Aircraft in U.S. Cities

“…BuzzFeed News trained a computer to find [surveillance aircraft] by letting a machine-learning algorithm sift for planes with flight patterns that resembled those operated by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. Last year, we reported on aerial surveillance by these planes, mapping thousands of flights over more than four months from mid-August to the end of December 2015…

…Some of these aircraft use technologies that challenge our assumptions about when and how we’re being watched, tracked, or listened to. It’s only by understanding when and how these technologies are used from the air that we’ll be able to debate the balance between effective law enforcement, national security, and individual privacy.”

—Aldhous, Peter. “BuzzFeed News Trained A Computer To Search For Hidden Spy Planes. This Is What We Found.” Buzzfeed. August 7, 2017.

The article goes on to highlight five examples:

  1. Use by state & local law enforcement
  2. Electronic eavesdropping by U.S. Border Patrol
  3. Testing Department of Defense capabilities over U.S cities.
  4. The Drug Enforcement Agency conducting surveillance over U.S cities.
  5. Military contractors.

All of these examples should give a citizen that would like to live in a free society pause.