Britain reviewing dangers to its satellite-reliant infrastructure

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is reviewing its reliance on satellite-based know-how for crucial infrastructure together with the Global Positioning System (GPS) as the specter of jamming assaults and disruptions grows, a government report mentioned on Tuesday.

Emergency companies, transport, communications and monetary networks are amongst key sectors which rely on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) comparable to GPS. Such know-how wants correct and dependable place and timing alerts.

Experts say the issue with GNSS is their weak alerts, that are transmitted from 12,500 miles (20,100 km) above the Earth and could be disrupted with low cost jamming gadgets which can be broadly obtainable. They are additionally susceptible to sign loss from climate results in addition to radio and satellite tv for pc interference.

“We must take steps to increase the resilience of our critical services in the event of GNSS disruption, including by adopting potential back-up systems where necessary,” the minister for implementation, Oliver Dowden, mentioned within the report.

“The government will give all due consideration to its findings,” mentioned Dowden, whose temporary consists of cyber and resilience points.

Britain’s defence minister Gavin Williamson was quoted final week within the Telegraph newspaper as saying Russia was seeking to harm the British economic system by attacking its infrastructure, a transfer he mentioned might trigger “thousands and thousands and thousands of deaths”.


A earlier research commissioned by the British government and revealed final April estimated that 5 days of GNSS disruption would price the UK economic system 5.2 billion kilos ($7.35 billion).

FILE PHOTO: An ambulance waits outdoors the emergency division at St Thomas’ Hospital in central London, Britain May 12, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File Photo

The report launched on Tuesday mentioned other than disruptions attributable to pure phenomena, GNSS alerts have been additionally susceptible to jamming that was “once the domain of states but now within the capability of hackers, criminals, pirates or terrorists”.

The threats additionally embrace “spoofing”, which entails broadcasting false alerts for receivers to lock on to, it mentioned.

“The range and scale of these problems are growing,” the report mentioned.

FILE PHOTO: Cargo ships are seen as they sail throughout the English Channel with the French coast on the horizon, from Dover in Britain, January 9, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Among the report’s suggestions have been for the Department for Digital, together with media regulator Ofcom, to evaluation the legality of sale, possession and use of gadgets supposed to trigger deliberate GNNS interference.

The report additionally advisable that government companies assess whether or not there was a necessity to watch GNSS interference at key websites comparable to ports.

In a press release to Reuters, Dowden mentioned the evaluation represented “a vital step in understanding the UK’s reliance on (GNSS)”.

“We will carefully consider the findings and recommendations as we continue to improve the resilience of our critical services to disruption,” Dowden added.

Some international locations, together with the United States and South Korea, are taking a look at an Earth-based back-up system for ship navigation referred to as eLoran as a part of efforts to guard their nationwide safety.

The British government report mentioned it didn’t “seek to prescribe individual technologies”, including that eLoran was being explored together with for transport.

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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