As electronic warfare (EW) tactics spread, new observability-based defenses are required. 

By Jeff Zacuto, Senior Director, Commercial Marketing 

Earlier this month, a cargo vessel in the Mediterranean Sea arrived at the Beirut-Rafic Al Hariri International Airport. Then, another in the Black Sea made landfall at the Cairo International Airport. This bizarre situation wasn’t the result of some new top-secret military teleportation capability. Rather, it was because their GPS systems were compromised, altering their position, navigation, and timing (PNT) signals to mislead operators about their actual locations. 

The culprit? GPS interference—jamming and spoofing—which is becoming more common and poses severe risks to maritime, aviation, rail, and military sectors.

GPS navigation’s reliability is pivotal for national defense and commercial transportation, but the rise of GPS jamming and spoofing presents a significant threat. These malicious practices are no longer limited to nation-states with sophisticated electronic warfare capabilities. They now span a range of bad actors with the means and access to equipment needed to conduct GPS spoofing attacks, a threat with significant risk ranging from navigational errors to severe operational safety compromises. This issue is particularly acute in contested or congested geographies, where navigational accuracy is crucial.

In response to the spread of these risks, Shift5 introduces the Shift5 GPS Integrity Module, which enables operators to automate the detection and alerting of GPS spoofing attacks as they happen.

GPS Jamming vs. GPS Spoofing

GPS jamming and spoofing are not the same. Jamming is a simpler attack to execute from an adversarial perspective and is also much more obvious to operators relying on GPS. Spoofing, on the other hand, is more dangerous and technologically advanced. It manipulates GPS signals to deceive receivers about their actual location. 

Spoofing also attempts to maintain the operator’s trust in GPS, thereby potentially contaminating secondary navigation systems. For example, an actor could manipulate an aircraft’s GPS position to show the operator that their navigation is tracking according to mission plans when in reality, the onboard GPS receiver is fed with false information that ultimately leads the aircraft in a different direction entirely. 

Military and Commercial Vulnerabilities

Military assets like weapons systems, ground vehicles, fighter jets, and drones heavily rely on GPS for navigation and timing, making them vulnerable to GPS spoofing. The weak nature of GPS signals, which are microwave transmissions from orbiting satellites, allows them to be easily overpowered by stronger, local signals, leading to misdirection, loss of synchronization in operations, and strategic vulnerabilities. Such interference can redirect assets to incorrect locations, compromise mission objectives, disrupt operational timing, and give adversaries a significant tactical advantage during conflicts.

Commercial air operators are at risk from nation-states and terrorist groups that might exploit GPS signal spoofing. With navigational tools less sophisticated than those used in military aircraft, commercial planes are especially vulnerable, posing substantial safety hazards. Even air traffic control systems, often reliant on outdated equipment, require improved methods to cross-verify data sources and detect any GPS spoofing to maintain airspace safety.

Introducing the Shift5 GPS Integrity Module

In response to these challenges, Shift5 created the Shift5 GPS Integrity Module — the first known industry-agnostic solution to enable operators to defend against the risks of GPS interference. It offers sophisticated, multi-layered detection and alerting for GPS spoofing attempts, thereby bolstering safety and navigational reliability. The module integrates seamlessly with any platform and enhances situational awareness through real-time alerts. This enables prompt and secure decision-making by operators of critical defense and transportation assets.

Key Features of the Shift5 GPS Integrity Module

Benefits of the Shift5 GPS Integrity Module

The Shift5 Platform

The Shift5’s platform captures, collects, processes, analyzes, visualizes, and extends onboard operational technology data across aerospace, rail, and defense fleets. This unique model provides real-time decision intelligence, unlocking a complete ecosystem of onboard data for operations, maintenance, and cybersecurity teams.

Additional Modules for Comprehensive Fleet Observability 

Shift5, with its comprehensive approach to onboard data observability and new and innovative GPS integrity solutions, helps ensure the safety, security, and efficiency of today’s fleets and tomorrow’s next-gen assets. The Shift5 GPS Integrity Module is available today. 

Learn more at