Boeing looking to use Blockchain to fight GPS spoofing

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Boeing has recently filed a new patent suggesting that the aircraft manufacturing giant is looking to implement the Blockchain technology in order to protect in-flight GPS receivers. The patent was registered last Thursday with the US Patent and Trademark Office and it is described as an “onboard backup and anti-spoofing GPS system” which would be used if a plane’s primary GPS system becomes unreliable or non-functioning.

GPS “spoofing” is a practice by which counterfeit signals are used to effectively trick other receivers, which means that spoofing could be used to give confusing informations to a GPS receiver about the actual location of other objects.

The patent application explains that the Blockchain technology would be used a backup record of information in case that the anti-spoofing system detects potentially incorrect information.

The filing states:

“The method further determines if the GPS signals, received by the GPS receiver, are spoofed GPS signals and, then, retrieves position data from the block-chain storage module if the GPS receiver is not receiving the GPS signals or is receiving spoofed GPS signals.”

The purpose of this backup would be to store the environmental information received from the GPS, which allows it to act as a failsafe that would prevent pilots from getting lost by providing all of the information a GPS normally would. This patent could be applied to any type of vehicle that relies on location information, both manned and unmanned.

Additionally, the design of this patent can be regarded as a response to a lack of fail-over technologies that can verify data about the location of a vehicle. Consequently, if the GPS platform does indeed suffer an outage or a spoofing attack, “navigators, air traffic controllers, and mission planners are unable to adjust and respond with confidence.”

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