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Defense and Intelligence

Pentagon’s Innovation Arm Seeks Help in Combatting ‘Spoofing’

Solicitation effort

Pentagon’s Innovation Arm Seeks Help in Combatting ‘Spoofing’

The Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit is currently on the hunt for commercially available technology that could help the military locate disruptions in satellite-based systems like the Global Positioning System. “Spoofing,” the manipulation of global navigation satellite systems, has become increasingly low-cost with high-stakes impacts on both defense and commercial interests, FedScoop reported Monday.

In a bid to address the threat, the DIU has issued a solicitation for a solution that uses analytics to search through commercially available data to find spoofed and disrupted signals. Spoofing is done by creating interference to the signal or data transmission in the GPS, it was explained.

The agency lamented that devices used to disrupt GPS signals can be as cheap as $250 and as small as a cellphone. The world has become dependent on GNSS or GNSS-based systems, yet “the GPS architecture and its users are vulnerable to denial and manipulation by adversarial actors,” DIU said in its solicitation.

The DIU further said that spoofing and other attempts to disable satellite communications are being done to enable narcotics trafficking, unapproved operation of autonomous vehicles, illegal fishing and piracy, among other crimes. More alarming is the fact that hostile nation-states are also developing their signal-jamming capabilities, posing a serious threat to national security.

Serving as the Department of Defense’s Silicon Valley outpost, the DIU was established to find commercial solutions to difficult defense challenges, not least of which is GPS spoofing. To combat this growing threat, the agency said it needs solutions that can ingest a mix of data, including terrestrial, space-based and others, that could help ferret out false signals. 

The DIU has said that has no preference on what data the system uses, just that it be able to use multiple types.

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