US to stop GPS data communication from Foreign Satellites

After weeks of diligent examination into potential cyber threats posed by foreign satellites manipulating GPS signals to U.S. mobile devices, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now urging the White House to enact a permanent ban on such interference.

Since July 2023, the FCC has fielded approximately seven complaints expressing apprehension that Russian and Chinese satellites could tamper with GPS signals intended for U.S. mobile devices within their operational jurisdictions.

Consequently, drawing upon technical insights from the Defense sector, the FCC has opted to greenlight only select satellite systems capable of processing GPS data directly linked to U.S. constellations, such as the European Galileo GNSS.

Evidently, certain adversaries have resorted to tactics like spoofing or jamming GNSS signals, prompting Mike Gallagher, chair of the US House Select Committee on China, to call upon European authorities to scrutinize GPS signals originating from foreign satellites.

This call to action was reinforced by the FCC’s own analysis, leading the telecom watchdog to mandate authorization solely for GPS signals from foreign satellites under the surveillance purview of U.S. military forces.

For those puzzled about the necessity of utilizing foreign satellites for mobile communications, such reliance serves various purposes, including facilitating communications for ambassadors and visiting dignitaries during their sojourns in Asia, as well as enabling embassy staff and officials to utilize U.S. devices while stationed abroad.

The specter of surveillance or espionage targeting mobile devices via malware and satellite intervention invariably raises concerns about data security and privacy. Such actions are universally condemned as illegal, not just within the United States but worldwide. Governments or entities found engaging in such practices consistently face public backlash.

Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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