GPS system signals are pretty weak, so it’s fairly simple for a jammer to interrupt or interfere with receivers such as portable navigation devices. Jammers transmit a low-power signal that creates signal noise and fools a GPS receiver into thinking the satellites are not available.
GPS jammers can be used to confuse police and avoid toll charges, and some pranksters use them on unsuspecting iPhone users. It’s easy to see how these devices can wreak havoc when they get into the wrong hands. Several incidences have been reported in the US and Europe. Some people fear that the use of GPS jammers is increasing and the technology is becoming more popular.
Although the devices are illegal, they can easily be ordered online. A recent Fox News Report said that they were able to order and received several jamming devices. GPS jammers are marketed and sold online as gadgets to protect personal privacy and prevent someone from tracking your movements. On the internet we found GPS jammers being sold for as low as $33.00 at http://www.thejammerstore.com. The Jammer Store also sells the high-end GJ6 jammer for $430.
A recent report by the U.K.’s Royal Academy of Engineering on the vulnerability of the GPS system said that jammers are a threat that could affect both individual GPS devices and the GPS system’s basic infrastructure. Although the threat of someone using GPS jammers in a major terrorist attack is quite low, it is possible, and the military is certainly keeping that in mind as it has been trying to protect the GPS system from these types of weaknesses.
Gathering information about jammers has been tough, which is the real threat. “We currently lack sufficient capabilities to locate and mitigate GPS jamming,” a report issued in November by the National Position, Navigation and Timing Advisory Board said. “It literally took months to locate such a device that was interfering with a new GPS based landing system being installed at Newark Airport, N.J.”
About the GPS System
GPS signals are everywhere and the technology is used for literally thousands of applications. Messing with the GPS system can cause domino effect of problems. We all know GPS is used for driver navigation. But it is also used to land airplanes, control financial services such as ATMs and stock trading, navigate ships and cargo, synchronize data on wireless networks and manage loads on power grids. GPS technology helps to time traffic lights and makes sure automated farm equipment accurately plows and harvests fields. GPS signals will be the basis of the next-generation air-traffic-control system, which currently uses human supervision and radar.