How worried are you hackers will discover our locations?

June 28, 2016  - By
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For consumer navigation and location-based services, how worried should we be about hackers discovering or corrupting our locations?

Three industry experts gave their opinions on this issue — now it’s your turn!

Go to www.gpsworld.com/july poll and register your vote. Do so by July 20 and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $50 Visa gift card.

For the record, here’s how the experts weighed in.

Janice Partyka

Headshot: Janice Partyka

Janice Partyka, Contributing editor, GPS World; Principal, JGP Services

A: Very worried. Just about any connected device can be hacked, including iPhones or Android phones, regardless of fingerprint recognition technology or complex passwords. Hackers can listen to conversations or access the location positioning via flaws in a portion of mobile networks called Signaling System 7. Hackers using common software-defined radio tools have discovered a cheap way to make a GPS emulator to falsify the GPS location of smartphones and in-car navigation systems.

Paul McBurney

Headshot: Paul McBurney

Paul McBurney, Founder, CEO, Gopherhush Corp.

A: Mobile phone users will share location-based information of business travel mileage, driving
behavior for usage-based car insurance, toll-road usage, or even time cards. The best way for the receiving party to protect against location hacking or even errant fix data is to require cross-checking of the location data with multiple location sources based on GNSS, OS network location, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth reference points, and even the phones sensors. It’s RAIM against hacking.

Todd Humphreys

Headshot: Todd Humphreys

Todd Humphreys, Professor, Director, Radionavigation Lab, University of Texas

A: We usually don’t mind some people knowing our position some of the time, but it’s uncomfortable to think that a hacker or a government could accurately track our position whenever they want. Your credit card number is a lot more valuable to the average hacker than your location, so the danger of location theft is low, unless you’re the special target of someone’s profiling or blackmail scheme. As for a hacker corrupting a location, this is a serious problem that needs addressing if connected cars are ever to trust one another’s data.

About the Author:


Alan Cameron is the former editor-at-large of GPS World magazine.

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