A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Lu Abel
Date: 2016 Jan 28, 09:34 -0800
But ... with at least three independent global-coverage satellite navigation systems, the bad guys would have to infiltrate the ground segment for at least two of them (assuming the "bad guys" own one of the systems). And possibly the partial-coverage systems. And then coordinate an attack on all systems.
Oh, and how long would it take to correct for an attack such as this? Would it not be possible to do a corrected upload in a day or less??
Having said all of this, I'll now argue with myself -- routine jobs such as this (updating satellites with orbital data each day) can be incredibly boring for the people assigned to doing them. The (US) Air Force's ICBM system has been the subject of several scandals involving poorly performing operators or maintenance personnel. Just last week it was revealed that three Air Force ICBM maintenance technicians had caused $1.2M in damage to a missile due to "incorrect procedures" Might boredom also affect personnel assigned to operating GPS??
Lu Abel, you wrote of disabling GPS:
"which means taking out 28+ satellites"
Not necessarily! All you have to do is upload bad data to the satellites. Here's how: you go through that hacked 'Ashley Madison' database and you find some Mr. Nobody programmer who works for the Air Force in the "ground segment" of GPS. You threaten Mr. Nobody with blackmail, using your best "Bond villain" voice in audio email attachments, promising that Mrs. Nobody, as well as his kids, mom, dad, and all of Mr. Nobody's Facebook friends will find out that he's been very naughty unless he agrees to add a little code to the daily update system for GPS. This code will include a 'time bomb' that will go off whenever the designers wish which could disable the whole system for twelve hours. The idea here is that we can hire good, honest people to work on critical infra-structure, but we can't make them permanently incorruptible. Everyone can be bought. And notice that we can pull off this diabolical crime entirely from the safety of a basement in Moldova or Myanmar or Merrimac, Massachusetts. No superpower --or even super-villain-- reserves of wealth and power are required. You can try this at home.
PS: Don't try this at home.