Our GPS system is vulnerable

gps_satellite_constellationThe GPS system is poorly secured and vulnerable to cyber attack. How important is this? Well, it does a lot more than add locations to your Facebook posts.

The GPS system involves 32 satellites orbiting 22,000 miles above the earth. Most people know it as the system that provides location information for mapping and navigation programs, such as Google Maps or Apple Maps.

But GPS also provides other services, such as timing, that are used in a variety of industries. Hobby said GPS timing is used by 15 of the 16 infrastructure resources in the United States deemed critical, and 13 of those service would fail completely without GPS. One of those is the electricity industry, which relies on GPS for helping manage the power grid.

So, yes, a massive failure would be… bad.

The EU has a program to improve GPS but it’s years behind schedule. There’s a proposed update to the ground based system that GPS replaced but funding has not made it through Congress.

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