Middle East airlines’ safety is under threat

Tuesday, November 21, 2023


airlines_Middle East_

Middle East airlines are facing new threat pertaining to their safety.

It is much more insidious than a passenger going to the bathroom barefoot.

Airlines are reporting GPS-based spoofing attacks that blind navigation systems and disable backup navigation systems, leaving pilots completely blind.

Over the last five weeks, there have been reports of at least 50 incidents. They mostly centre around three cities of Baghdad, Cairo and Tel Aviv.

One plane reportedly came close to crossing into Iranian airspace as a result of the spoofed GPS signals it was receiving.

Since the first attack, more sophisticated methods have been used. At least for now, no one knows how to stop or prevent them.

According to an international organization the attacks target the Inertial Reference System that planes use to figure out where they are.

The international organization said in a statement that the IRS (Inertial Reference System) should be a standalone system, that they cannot spoof.

The idea that they could lose all on-board nav capability makes little sense at first glance.

It also makes hardly sense that they have to ask [air traffic control] for their position and request a heading.

For state of the art aircraft with the latest avionics it is true. However, multiple reports confirm that this has happened.

To make things even more complicated, it’s unlikely that these spoofing attacks are the work of a single organization or government.

A researcher at the University of Texas at Austin was recently able to locate the source of one spoofing attack in Iran and later located another in Israel.

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