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Car thieves use GPS jammers to escape the law

perfectjammer png2022/07/08

Illicit kit imported into Europe from China operates on the same frequency as GpS satellites to drown out timing signals and confound in-car devices. Because of this in-vehicle systems are unable to either determine their position or report in to vehicle tracking centres in cases where cars or lorries registered with GpS-based tracking technology are stolen.

Vehicles "disappear from the radar" when the GpS jamming technology is deployed, of the University of Wales at Bangor told The Guardian.

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GPS jammers also have the potential to drown out mobile signals locally, a factor that has reportedly been applied to stop truckers contacting the police in lorry heists in Germany, as well as other applications.

GpS satellite signals are low power, so jamming devices need not be powerful.Although the risk of GpS jamming has been understood for years, its misuse by crooks is far more recent.

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More powerful portable mobile phone jammer in the 20w range could potentially disrupt the GpS signals over a river estuary or at airports. The UK government has allocated a £2.2m grant to a consortium including build GpS-jamming detection systems, currently at the prototype stage of development.

That the use of systems that triangulate positions based on the strength of signals from mobile phone masts, or similar technology, needs to be deployed as a complement and backup to GpS-based vehicle tracking and recovery services.

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The emergence of illicit GPS jamming technology poses significant challenges to vehicle tracking and recovery systems, particularly in cases of car or lorry theft. Imported from China into Europe, these jamming devices operate on the same frequency as GPS satellites, effectively drowning out timing signals and preventing in-car devices from determining their position or reporting to vehicle tracking centers.

  • This technology has serious implications for law enforcement agencies and vehicle recovery services, as stolen vehicles equipped with GPS-based tracking systems effectively "disappear from the radar" when GPS jamming technology is deployed.
  • Moreover, the use of gps scrambling device can extend beyond disrupting GPS signals, potentially interfering with local mobile phone signals.
  • This has reportedly been exploited in incidents such as truck heists in Germany, where truckers were unable to contact the police due to localized mobile signal interference.

While GPS satellite signals are low power, the relatively low power requirements of jamming devices make them accessible to criminals. The misuse of GPS jamming technology for criminal activities has only recently become widespread, despite the long-standing understanding of the risks associated with GPS jamming.

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To address this growing threat, efforts are underway to develop more powerful GPS jamming detection systems. The UK government has allocated funding for a consortium tasked with building GPS-jamming detection systems, which are currently in the prototype stage of development. These systems aim to detect and mitigate the effects of GPS jamming, particularly in critical areas such as river estuaries and airports where the disruption of GPS signals could have severe consequences.

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In addition to detecting GPS jamming, there is a recognized need to diversify and reinforce vehicle tracking and recovery systems. This includes deploying alternative positioning technologies, such as systems that triangulate positions based on the strength of signals from mobile phone masts. By complementing GPS-based tracking services with backup technologies, authorities can enhance their ability to track and recover stolen vehicles, mitigating the impact of GPS jamming incidents.

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