Today we’re diving into a common threat to the safety of anyone who shares their location with friends and family: that is GPS Spoofing. This method has become increasingly popular with stalkers and is now used as malicious retribution by all kinds of people.
What Is GPS Spoofing?
GPS spoofing is a way to manipulate GPS signals to trick a device into giving out false information. For example, if you were to send out a fake GPS signal that said you were in the middle of the ocean, your phone would display the location as being at sea level. GPS spoofing has become an issue for consumers and organizations who rely on GPS for navigation and location-based services due to the development of cybersecurity attacks.
However, this isn’t something that can be done with a normal cell phone or even an amateur radio – you need specialized equipment and training to pull it off.
Spoofing GPS can be used for many purposes, but some of the more popular uses include the following:
- Hiding your location from your spouse or partner
- Making it appear as if you’re somewhere else when you’re not
- Tricking Uber and Lyft drivers into picking up passengers at fake locations (such as an airport)
- Spoofing GPS to steal money from banks and other financial institutions
- Spoofing GPS to make it appear as though you’re at home when you’re away on vacation
GPS Spoofing Methods
When it comes to GPS spoofing, there are many ways in which a GPS spoofing attack can be perpetrated. The following are some of them:
GPS Spoofing App Tampering
The first way to spoof your location is to tamper with the GPS spoofing app on your phone or tablet. Many applications allow you to change your location on your device, including Fake GPS Location, Fake GPS Go, and Fake GPS Location Spoofer. These applications are available for both Android and iOS devices.
VPNs and Proxies
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and proxies are two common ways of spoofing GPS. A VPN can connect to a server somewhere else, which will help you appear at that location. Proxies can also help with this, but they sometimes provide a different level of security than a VPN.
Emulators are another way to spoof your GPS location by pretending that you have an Android device with Google Play Services installed on your computer system or phone. With this, you can install apps from anywhere worldwide and run them as if they were installed on your real phone device.
Other instrumentation tools like XDA-Developers’ Magisk Manager or Motorola’s Moto Mods Manager can be used for spoofing GPS locations in the same way as emulators do by creating virtual Android devices with Google Play Services installed on them.
GPS Spoofing Devices
GPS spoofers are devices that send false location data to the receiver. They are available in various sizes and shapes, such as boxes, key fobs, and even smartphone apps. These devices can be purchased online, but you must know how they work before buying one.
Another way to spoof your location is by using a GNSS simulator, which mimics satellite signals from multiple locations worldwide. Airlines and shipping companies often use this hardware to test their equipment before it’s deployed into service. This ensures it works when traveling through different time zones or remote areas where no satellites are available at all times (such as over water).
Who’s Behind GPS Spoofing?
The most common perpetrators are:
- Individuals – People who want to get ahead in a game or escape from police during a chase, for example.
- Gamers – Players who want to cheat in an online game by moving their characters around before their opponents can react.
- Militaries – Units often use GPS spoofing to disrupt enemy communications and navigation systems during combat.
- Criminals and Cybercriminals – Criminals are trying to steal money from banks by sending out false signals that trigger ATM withdrawals. They’re also using GPS spoofing to hide the location of their laptops when they’re stealing data from corporate networks — an attack known as “geo-jacking.”
Methods of Protection Against GPS Spoofing Attacks
Protecting against GNSS spoofing attacks requires one of the following methods:
A Good Cyber Hygiene Is Necessary
The first step to protect against GPS spoofing attacks is good cyber hygiene. It is important to keep your software up-to-date and patch vulnerabilities as soon as they are discovered. This prevents hackers from exploiting holes in the system for their benefit.
Add Redundant Antennas
Adding redundant antennas will also help reduce the risk of GPS spoofing attacks. The more receivers you have, the more options there are for calculating location accuracy using different data sources.
This is the most reliable method for preventing attacks, but it also has some drawbacks. For example, if you’re in an area that doesn’t have mobile phone coverage, you will be able to use your GPS device or smartphone (or any other device that relies on GPS) once you leave that area. And even when you do leave the area, your device may only work properly once it has had time to recalibrate its position after leaving it behind.
Block Fake Signals With Directional Antennas or Filters
This can be done using commercially available equipment or custom-designed devices. The advantage of this approach is that it prevents false positioning signals from being received by your device and prevents a potential attacker from knowing whether or not his spoofing attempts were successful.
By ensuring your antenna is secure, you can make it harder for hackers to send false signals. For example, if you’re using an antenna that requires cables, ensure that the cable isn’t accessible outside your vehicle or trailer. Also, don’t leave any antennas unattended on your vehicle or trailer – thieves may steal them.
Jamming Signals To Block or Delay the Reception of GPS Signals
This is often done using a broadcast signal generator that can generate a signal similar to the one used by GPS satellites. The jammer then broadcasts this signal at the same frequency as the GPS signal while blocking out all other frequencies so that your receiver cannot receive any other information from other sources.
Change Your Passwords Regularly
Another way to protect yourself against these attacks is by regularly changing your passwords. A strong password should be at least 14 characters long and include both letters and numbers, so it’s harder for hackers to guess what it might be. You should also change your passwords every six months or less after major changes like moving or getting married.
Additional Spoofing Techniques and Their Prevention
Spoofing can be done in many different ways, but there are three main types:
IP spoofing steals the identity of another computer on your network by sending packets with falsified IP addresses. In other words, the hacker’s computer will send packets with its address but with the correct source address of another computer in your network.
Learn more about: What Is IP Spoofing?
This technique involves changing the IP address of a website by sending fake DNS replies to the victim’s computer.
Want to know how to prevent DNS Spoofing? Read our guide to DNS Spoofing.
This involves using a device to trick the victim into thinking it’s a Bluetooth-enabled device. The attacker then sends commands to the victim’s computer (using their smartphone) that cause it to believe that it’s receiving commands from a Bluetooth-enabled device.
The attacker can then use this technique to steal information from the victim’s computer and gain control over it. There are several ways that you can protect yourself from Bluetooth spoofing:
- Install anti-malware software on your device;
- Change the default PIN for your Bluetooth connection;
- Turn off Bluetooth when not in use
This technique involves sending fake ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) requests to fool you into believing that the hacker’s MAC address is the same as yours.
Read more on: ARP Spoofing
SMS spoofing occurs when an attacker sends text messages from a phone number that doesn’t belong to them. The attacker might use this technique to try and trick their victim into believing that an important message is coming from someone else’s phone number (such as their bank).
Read our complete guide to save yourself from SMS Spoofing
Email spoofing is the practice of sending an email message that falsely appears to have been sent from a legitimate domain by impersonating the sender. Spoofing is typically used for fraudulent purposes and can be used to impersonate a desired user by sending fraudulent messages on their behalf. In some cases, the spoofed email may contain malware, ransomware or phishing links.
To combat this, Email Security measures, such as authentication methods, can help prevent email spoofing and protect users from potential harm.
- DMARC – Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance is an email authentication protocol designed to prevent emails from direct-domain spoofing. DMARC uses two standard authentication protocols, SPF and DKIM, to check the validity of emails. Office 365 DMARC can provide high protection against impersonation attacks when the policy is set to enforce for your Microsoft 365 domains.
- DKIM – DKIM is an authentication method that allows senders to verify the legitimacy of their domain’s mail using public-private key cryptography.
- SPF – Sender Policy Framework is a system that allows receivers to verify whether the sender is authorized to send emails on behalf of the sending domain.
GPS spoofing is a widespread phenomenon. This is a reliable and effective method for hacking almost any navigation system. Your navigation device can be hacked regardless of the brand and model. Even the most advanced navigation systems are easily penetrated with GPS spoofing as this program only sends false data to the navigation device and cannot discover that it’s being deceived. The best thing about this is that you can do it on your smartphone without jailbreaking it.