April 16, 2022

Global Navigational Satellite System Interference and Automatic Identification System Spoofing

Screenshot 2022-04-16 at 15.16.43

Ref: MSCI Advisory: 2022-005-Various-GPS Interference & AIS Spoofing

 Instances of significant GPS interference have been reported worldwide in the maritime domain. This interference can result in lost or inaccurate GPS signals affecting bridge navigation, GPS-based timing, and communications equipment (including satellite communications equipment). Over the last six months, areas from which multiple instances have been reported include the eastern and central Mediterranean Sea, specifically in the vicinity of the Suez Canal, Cyprus, Malta, and Istanbul, in the Persian Gulf near Dammam, KSA, and off the coast of Brazil. The U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center (NAVCEN) web page, https://go.usa.gov/xMZ2q, contains a chronological list of recently reported GPS problems.

Additionally, Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) are open, unencrypted, and unprotected radio systems intended to operate on non-secure VHF-FM channels. As such, AIS signals can be spoofed, resulting in incorrect or missing AIS data.

Maritime GPS disruptions or anomalies should be reported immediately to the NAVCEN at https://go.usa.gov/xQBaw or via phone at 703-313-5900, 24-hours a day. NAVCEN will further disseminate reported instances of GPS interference to the NATO Shipping Center.
Should you encounter ghost or fake AIS targets, please report them to the NAVCEN at https://go.usa.gov/xzCnV

AIS devices do not inherently have virus or malware protection, so cyber security best practices against hacking should be adhered to if you connect your AIS to a network or update it using removable electronic devices (e.g. USB drives). AIS, while an invaluable situational tool, should never be solely relied upon for collision avoidance or navigational decision-making.

The NAVCEN and NATO Shipping Center websites contain information regarding effective navigation practices for vessels experiencing GPS interference.