Influence of Military-Grade Spoofing and Jamming for Protection of VIPs on Civilian Infrastructures

At the present time, GPS and other Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) are used in all spheres, starting from cellular communication networks, basic consumer goods, and concluding with high-end military systems, and stock trading infrastructures. All these systems are vulnerable to spoofing and jamming attacks. One of the common cases is when civilian infrastructures are spoofed for the purposes of protecting VIPs.

According to the research conducted by C4ADS, Russian warfare equipment was identified to be used for spoofing civilian infrastructures numerous times with the intent to safeguard VIPs. Based on the data collected by the International Space Station (ISS), it was reported that the same military spoofing equipment was utilized by the Russians in Syria. The technology operates by means of manipulating the GNSS to misinterpret the accurate location.

For example, according to the report from C4ADS, numerous commercial ships in and around Russian waters were affected by military spoofing. The chronicle states that: “C4ADS detected at least 7,910 instances where target vessels located outside of Russian territorial waters fell prey to GNSS spoofing activity, potentially posing a risk to maritime navigational safety.”

Moreover, C4ADS’s statement also mentions that spoofing occurs not only at sea, where noncombatant ships are spoofed but also in cities and rural areas, where civilian infrastructures are allegedly spoofed for the protection of VIPs’ whereabouts. When the publicly available location of President Putin was monitored, it was concluded that the GPS signals around that site were spoofed. Moreover, the account discloses that: “Public reports from Moscow began to surface in June 2016 claiming that mobile phone navigation systems often reported false positioning information when in proximity to the Kremlin.”

Thus, based on the available data, it is conceivable to determine that civilian infrastructures can be spoofed for VIP protection. It poses an impending threat to most contemporary means of communication since civilian infrastructures have no resources to confirm they are being spoofed. Consequently, VIPs can expend their military-grade equipment for security without inhabitants knowing about it.

The table below provides a list of civilian infrastructures that rely on GNSS technologies and can be spoofed by military-grade equipment. Source

Systems Using GNSS
GNSS Spoofing Scenario


  • Maritime navigation systems
  • Road navigation / Advanced Driver Advisory Systems
  • Air transport infrastructure / Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast
  • Logistics monitoring and management
  • Automated navigation systems
  • Port container management systems
  • Vehicle-to-vehicle communications for connected and automated vehicle coordination
  • Divert vessel into hostile or territorial waters
  • Disrupt port activities by targeting cranes using GNSS for automated container logistics
  • Hijack cargo in transit by disguising the true location of the container
  • Deny aircraft use of satellite navigation systems


  • Cellular communication networks
  • Fixed-line communication networks
  • Target time synchronization systems on cellular network systems to degrade and disrupt operations

Law Enforcement

  • Search and rescue systems
  • GNSS positioning information as evidentiary material
  • Asset monitoring and tracking
  • Law enforcement equipment with time-based software licenses
  • A vessel turning off its AIS transponder can alert regulators to possible criminal activity, spoofing location through vessel GNSS receiver can conceal vessels engaging in illicit trade, fishing, or sanctions evasion
  • Degrade the reliability of using GPS telemetry for legal action and proceedings
  • Coerce law enforcement equipment user licenses using GNSS for the timing to prematurely expire


  • Air-gapped NTP servers using GNSS for time synchronization
  • Precision Guided Munitions
  • Military GNSS receivers that have not been rekeyed with the current encryption key
  • Spoof military GNSS receivers that have not been rekeyed due to human error.
  • Spoof GNSS timing signals on an air-gapped NTP server to ‘turn back time’ on a time-based one-time password system
  • Target small military or monitoring drones to deny reconnaissance missions over classified locations


  • Stock Exchange
  • Insurance telematics
  • Target time synchronization systems for unsecured stock exchanges to drag off time and create artificial systems of arbitrage
  • Abuse marine delay in start-up insurance on high-value shipments to profit on protection claims


  • Power substation load transfer systems
  • Degrade GPS-dependent time synchronization systems at power substations to cause a widespread outage

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