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Blog Editor’s Note:  It is kind of jarring to realize that this has been going on so long that we can talk about “the history” of spoofing. One would have hoped that, given the potential dire implications, a serious effort to eliminate the problem would have mostly solved, or at least managed, it by now.

This article is an interesting review. We are wondering if there were events even more interesting that would have made the top ten, but were never discovered or made public.  

What would you have included in the list? 

How about the Swiss auto show were the cars were spoofed to the UK and years into the future?

Or the time a military drone accidently (we assume) spoofed a light aircraft over Los Angeles?

How about when a passenger aircraft nearly crashed into a mountain?  

Full disclosure, the author of the below article is employed by Regulus Cyber, a corporate supporter of the RNT Foundation.


Top 10 GPS Spoofing Events in History

Over the last decade, GNSS/GPS spoofing has evolved from an unsubstantiated possibility to a serious reality. Spoofing is a form of interference in which fake GNSS/GPS signals are broadcasted to receivers, overtaking the true signals and resulting in position, timing, and navigation errors. As far as we know, most GNSS spoofing events from the past are attributable to military or scientific sources. Each of the following 10 events has revealed serious vulnerabilities in systems we rely on for transportation, navigation, and life as we know it.

  1. Iran-U.S. RQ-170 Incident

On December 5, 2011, Iranian forces commandeered a U.S. Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drone flying about 140 miles from Iran’s border with Afghanistan. The Iranian government announced that the drone was spoofed and “brought down with minimal damage” by a cyber warfare unit.

The U.S. initially denied that the drone had been captured, instead claiming that it experienced a technical malfunction and possibly crashed near the Iranian city of Kashmar. However, Iranian authorities later broadcasted a video showcasing the downed craft, which appeared to be intact. The video corroborated Iran’s claims that the drone was indeed deliberately hacked rather than retrieved after an accidental crash.