Princeton University

School of Engineering & Applied Science

SPREE: A Spoofing Resistant GPS Receiver

Dr. Aanjhan Ranganathan
Engineering Quadrangle, Room B205
Tuesday, October 11, 2016 - 11:00am to 12:00pm

Abstract:  Global Positioning System (GPS) is used ubiquitously in a wide variety of applications ranging from navigation and tracking to modern smart grids and communication networks. However, it has been demonstrated that modern GPS receivers are vulnerable to signal spoofing attacks. For example, today it is possible to change the course of a ship or force a drone to land in a hostile area by simply spoofing GPS signals. Several countermeasures have been proposed in the past to detect GPS spoofing attacks. These counter-measures offer protection only against naive attackers. They are incapable of detecting strong attackers such as those capable of seamlessly taking over a GPS receiver, which is currently receiving legitimate satellite signals, and spoofing them to an arbitrary location. Also, there is no hardware platform that can be used to compare and evaluate the effectiveness of existing countermeasures in real-world scenarios.
In this work, we present SPREE, which is, to the best of our knowledge, the first GPS receiver capable of detecting all spoofing attacks described in the literature. Our novel spoofing detection technique called auxiliary peak tracking enables detection of even a strong attacker capable of executing the seamless takeover attack. We implement and evaluate our receiver against three different sets of GPS signal traces: (i) a public repository of spoofing traces, (ii) signals collected through our own wardriving effort and (iii) using commercial GPS signal generators. Our evaluations show that SPREE constraints even a strong attacker (capable of seamless takeover attack) from spoofing the receiver to a location not more than 1 km away from its true location. This is a significant improvement over modern GPS receivers that can be spoofed to any arbitrary location. Finally, we release our implementation and datasets to the community for further research and development.

Bio:  Aanjhan is currently a post-doctoral researcher in the System Security Group at ETH Zurich. He obtained his PhD early this year under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Srdjan Capkun. His research mostly revolves around the physical-layer security of wireless systems (e.g., secure localization and ranging, GPS security, (anti-) jamming techniques). Prior to joining the System Security group at ETH Zurich, he worked at Robert Bosch GmbH's Car Multimedia Division "Blaupunkt" for over 3 years involved in research and development of embedded modules for top automotive manufacturers including Audi and Volkswagen.