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Israeli Airbase Identified as Suspected Source of GPS Disruption in Middle East

Photo: Sauce Reques / Royalty-free / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have identified an Israeli airbase as a major source of widespread GPS disruption affecting civilian air navigation in the Middle East, the newspaper reported. THE New York Times.

Spoofing disruptions involve transmitting manipulated GPS signals, which can cause aircraft instruments to misinterpret their location. Lead researchers Todd Humphreys and Zach Clements said they were “highly confident” that the Ein Shemer airfield in northern Israel was the source of the attacks. The Israeli military denied this. THE New York Times' request For comment.

The research team used data emitted by the spoofer and captured by low-orbit satellites to determine its position. They then confirmed their calculations using ground data collected in Israel.

Spoofing, as well as GPS jamming, has increased significantly over the past three years, particularly near war zones like Ukraine and Gaza. In these areas, militaries disrupt navigation signals to redirect airstrikes.

The Middle East has become a hotspot for GPS spoofing, with THE New York Times report that a separate analysis estimates more … than In 2024 alone, 50,000 flights were affected in the region. Researchers from SkAI Data Services and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences, analyzeediteding OpenSky network data And, find that These attacks led pilots to mistakenly believe they were over Beirut or Cairo airports.

Swiss International Air Lines said THE New York TimesThe New York Times that Their flights are parodied “almost every day over the Middle East.”

The problem extends beyond the region, with Estonia and other Baltic states accusing Russia of disrupt signals in their airspaces. Additionally, in April 2024, Finnair Flights temporarily suspended in Tartu, Estonia, amid rising GPS jamming in the region, affecting civilian air travel.

These attacks have not posed any major security risks, as pilots can use alternative navigation methods. They nevertheless raise concerns.

Jeremy Bennington, vice president of Spirent Communications, said THE New York Times“Losing GPS is not going to cause planes to crash into the sky. But I also don't want to deny that we are removing layers of security.”

Spoofing attacks can cause false alerts that planes are too close to the ground, leading to navigation confusion and potentially compromising flight safety.

As these disruptions continue to affect large areas far from active conflict zones, the aviation industry and international authorities are under increasing pressure to address this emerging threat to air transport security.

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