Detection, countermeasures and demonstration of GNSS spoofing


Due to the immense increased usage of GNSS-based applications, these applications are also increasingly jeopardised by sources of intentional interference (i.e. jamming, spoofing). The goal of the DECODE project is to implement and test state-of-the-art algorithms in a software-defined radio framework as well as to develop new enhanced algorithms for detection and mitigation of GNSS spoofing attacks. An important part of the project will be the tests of the impact that spoofers have on a GNSS receiver. The final result will be algorithms and strategies for GNSS spoofer mitigation.

Brief Description

In the last decade, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) have gained an important position within our daily life, often hidden from plain sight. The fact that GNSS is not only used for positioning but also for timing, synchronisation of GSM networks, electricity management or bank transfers is not commonly known. Furthermore, a combination of GNSS and Satellite Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) like EGNOS (European GNSS Overlay Service), are already used for different GNSS applications.

While a technology gets more important to our society, the interest of malicious subjects in harming this technology also increases. Spoofing attacks, where real GNSS signals are imitated in order to specifically manipulate the computed position and time of the GNSS receiver, are especially dangerous in this case. Researchers from the University of Texas in Austin have quite impressively demonstrated the threat of spoofing. For demonstration purposes they manipulated the position solution of a UAVs GNSS receiver in a way that it landed although it was programmed to stay at the same place in the air. They also distracted a yacht a few miles away from its original course, without being noticed by the crew.

The “Detection, Countermeasures and Demonstration of GNSS Spoofing” (DECODE) project has the goal to develop algorithms for detection and mitigation of spoofing attacks. Therefore current state-of-the-art algorithms will be implemented in a software-defined GNSS receiver as a first step. The reliability of these algorithms will be tested and the detailed impacts of spoofing on a GNSS receiver will be analysed using simulations. The implementation of the algorithms will be conducted in the framework of a software-defined radio GNSS receiver, which has the necessary flexibility to easily integrate different algorithms. After the first tests, promising algorithms will be further evolved and new algorithms for detection will be developed based on the acquired knowledge on spoofers. Detection of spoofers is the first necessary step to eliminate the negative impacts of these interferers and finally increase the reliability of GNSS applications. To keep up normal operation also in case of a directed spoofing attack requires advanced algorithms, which can exactly distinguish between real and spoofed GNSS signals. At the end of this project, the developed algorithms will be investigated and evaluated, which is a first step from the pure detection to the mitigation of GNSS interference attacks. Further result of the project will be the design and recommendations for a future system reliably detecting GNSS spoofers.

The DECODE project will increase the Austrian research and development activities and the know-how in the field of spoofing detection and mitigation, as well as increase the knowledge of the detailed impact of a directed spoofing attack on all parts of a GNSS receiver. In parallel the project will raise the awareness regarding GNSS threats.


Project Partners
  • TeleConsult Austria GmbH (Lead)
  • FH Joanneum Graz (Institute Electronic Engineering)
  • Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) – ASAP 12
  • Successfully completed in 2018