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Russia has been using spoofing in order to protect its coasts from intruders. A report published by the non-profit Center for Advanced Defense (C4ADS) in Washington in April 2019 details the ways in which spoofing has disrupted maritime traffic to Russia’s benefit.

The report, titled “Above Us Only Stars – Exposing GPS Spoofing in Russian and Syria,” looked at nearly 10,000 suspected instances of spoofing in 10 different places that affected more than 1,300 civilian navigation systems, and it found an interesting common factor: Not only were the GPS systems spoofed, but the new coordinates to which the systems were spoofed were all airports.

The reason is that most drones are hard-programmed to avoid airports. Fool the drone into thinking it’s near an airport, and the drone will stay away. GPS spoofing is the easiest way to do that, and while it can be overridden with modification, it’s a good baseline to reduce the number of ambient drones that security personnel must worry about, explains c4isrnet.com.

“The report also drew a strong correlation between the movements of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the spoofing events,” wrote Dana Goward of the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation, who contributed analysis to the report. “This reinforces speculation among many that the impact on ships is merely a by-product of the Russian government trying to protect its VIPs from drones.”

A form of spoofing sometimes called “smart jamming” was also detected and is discussed. This involves transmission of seemingly valid GPS signals that do not allow a receiver to calculate a location. This can cause many receivers to not function properly while also not reporting a fault, according to maritime-executive.com.