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Graduate Students Divert Yacht Using GPS Tricks

Skift Take

As the skies get more crowded with drones, this university experiment, in which students “spoofed” a yacht’s GPS system, should be a red flag.

— Dennis Schaal

Researchers at the University of Texas have used a custom-made GPS device to divert an $80 million yacht from its course, highlighting a potential threat to maritime travel.

The effort was led by graduate students from the Cockrell School of Engineering who were “spoofing,” meaning sending false signals to gain control of a vessel’s GPS receivers.

The students used their device to divert the boat from its original course by sending the fabricated data. It was done without the ship’s navigational system detecting the intrusion.

The experiment, announced Monday, was conducted in June as the yacht travelled the Mediterranean Sea.

Researchers say the experiment shows how problematic spoofing is to marine vessels as well as other modes of transportation.

Crew members knew a spoofing attempt was to be made.

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Tags: gps

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