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GPS Cyberattack Falsely Placed U.K. Warship Near Russian Naval Base


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The HMS Defender (foreground) and HNMLS Eversten (rear) moored in Odessa, Ukraine on June 18.

This week, Russia claimed to have fired warning shots at the U.K. Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender for being inside Russian waters. The U.K. Ministry of Defence denies any shots were fired at the Defender, or that the ship was in such waters.

Credit: Konstantin Sazonchik/ITAR-TASS News Agency/Alamy

A cyberattack may have been involved in a naval confrontation this week between Russia and a British warship in the Black Sea that never really happened.

The global positioning system (GPS)-tracking Automatic Identification System (AIS) last week showed both a U.K. warship and a Dutch naval vessel coming within a few kilometers of a Russian naval base at Sevastopol, but a live Web camera feed confirmed that both ships were docked in Odessa, Ukraine, at the time.

The spoofing in this case suggests a deliberate deception, as the ships' coordinates were changed gradually to imitate normal travel.

Dana Goward at the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation said Russia could have executed the spoofing attack, and warned that such a hack "could easily lead to a shooting war by making things more confusing in a crisis."

From New Scientist
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