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If GPS jammers fall into the wrong hands, they could paralyze the ground plane


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Many of us use our GPS constantly. Emergency workers also rely on them to save lives. However, experts say GPS systems are very fragile and the signal can be disrupted.

Experts also say that if GPS signal jammers fall into the wrong hands, they could also cause major problems and even paralyse the ground plane.

"It's very critical. I mean, if you're sending someone a respiratory distress call and you have a unit five minutes against you that you know they accidentally sent to fifteen minutes because they're not using their resources, that's a huge mistake. This could have been a huge mistake, "Bell Ambulance paramedic Matt Gannon said.

Gannon says if their GPS system fails, it puts a strain on everyone.

"When a computer goes down, it's more labor on the part of the crew, the dispatcher, the supervisor and everyone else," Gannon said.

GPS addiction goes beyond emergency responders.

"People have built systems around it. Banking and financial networks, communications networks, power distribution, etc., "said Todd Humphreys, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Humphrey said that relying on GPS could come at a cost because GPS satellites are highly vulnerable to attack.

"This is a major problem. The signals were so easily compromised that I and others watching it at the time thought it was a bit of an Achilles heel for our society, "Humphreys said.

It's easy to jam with simple devices called GPS jammers, and they're illegal. GPS jammers are radio frequency transmitters that can intentionally block, block, or interfere with communications such as cell phones, text messages, GPS systems, and Wi-Fi networks.

"You can block GPS devices from working near you, so within 100 feet of you, no GPS receiver will work properly," Humphreys said.

When a man left a GPS jammer in his car and boarded a plane, the GPS jammer caused headaches for passengers and a financial hit to the airline, Humphreys said.

"The GPS disrupted the airport, they stopped flights all morning while they tried to find the vehicle, and eventually found it a few hours later, but by that morning hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars had been lost due to flight cancellations," Humphreys said.

Although threats remain due to our reliance on GPS in our daily lives, Marquette University cybersecurity expert Tom Kaczmarek said the government is working to improve the GPS system.