Feeds

North Korean GPS blocking sparks cyber war fears

Satnav stand-off as signal-stoppers slow ships, planes

Intelligent flash storage arrays

South Korea will lodge an official complaint with the UN over its reclusive neighbour after GPS-blocking by the North for over a week disrupted hundreds of flights, in what some officials are worried could be the first signs of a looming cyber war.

Over 500 aircraft flying to or from South Korea’s main airports of Incheon and Gimpo reported GPS signal failures from 28 April to 6 May, with the government tracing the blocking signals to the North Korean border city of Kaesong, The Korea Herald reported.

Over 120 shipping vessels reportedly also had their signals jammed.

As a result, South Korea will complain to UN agency the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as well as the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), warning that its northern neighbour is breaking UN rules and endangering the safety of passengers.

Although GPS is the de facto standard for commercial aircraft navigation, pilots can use alternative technologies such as the inertial navigation systems which were widely used before GPS was made available by the US government in the early 80’s.

Given that Kim Jong Un is still consolidating his power base in the North after recently becoming leader – as witnessed by the botched rocket launch last month – officials in the South are understandably jittery about this latest turn of events.

“The North has been piling data and training itself through these jamming attacks,” Yang Uk, a senior researcher at Korea Defense and Security Forum, told the Herald.

“These signals are apparently not simply to provoke the South but to systemise its own techniques for a bigger strike one day, knowing Korea is a society that depends on telecommunication and computers.”

A realisation of the strategic importance of GPS in the event of a potential conflict has led to China launching its own satnav rival, Beidou. Russia, meanwhile, is currently updating its GLOSNASS satellite system.®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.