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(C|Net)   Truck driver uses GPS jammer to successfully prevent his boss from tracking his whereabouts. Finds out that FCC can still track him   (news.cnet.com) divider line 156
    More: Dumbass, Newark Airport, GPS, newark, GPS jammer, CBS New York  
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15421 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Aug 2013 at 10:02 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-08-12 10:38:59 AM  
StoPPeRmobile:They should ban it. That way no one will do it. Profit!

Yeah. Laws don't serve any purpose because people still break them. We need to throw out the entire USC! Goodbye any regulation! Yay libertarian paradise!

www.dripmagazine.com
 
2013-08-12 10:39:34 AM  
I drove deliveries for a big chain auto supply house and they started doing the GPS tracking, but they were small handheld units (to be on your person the whole time you were driving/delivering).

They started writing people up for things like stopping at the quickmart for a soda or diverging from the designated route (even if you could prove it was to avoid traffic or an accident).

Magically my unit quit working. The uptime counter showed it'd been on the whole time, just for *some* reason it'd lose signal about 5 min out, and regain about 5 min before I got back.

It might have had something to do with the steel ammo can I started keeping in my backpack. I just wanted to make sure the company property didn't get damaged and all.
 
2013-08-12 10:40:22 AM  

dittybopper: Towermonkey: And I don't see how this yokel would think this would work for long, the systems I dealt with at a cell carrier (big red logo, rhymes with horizon) had an option for the tracking software to poll the transcievers every so often, and if one didn't connect for a certain length of time, it would notify the appropriate customer. Also had geofencing, upper limits on speed, et cetera. Of course this was back in the mid to late 2000s, don't know what parameters they've got now.

"Honestly, I have no idea why the system didn't work, maybe there is a funky connection somewhere that only jars loose during movement, or maybe only when it's hot".


Lol when I did tech support I can't tell you how many phones/telemetry gadgets were exhaustively analyzed (and I mean really thoroughly tested) and sent back with a big yellow No Trouble Found sticker on them.

Also, when Big Red rolled out the Chaperone GPS feature for phones, I couldn't tell you how many times I had people questioning me on EXACTLY how the system worked so they could try to spy on kids, loved ones, etc. Ugh. Made my head hurt. Glad I am out of that game now.
 
2013-08-12 10:44:23 AM  
durbnpoisn:

I must say, though...  It's impressive that that jammer has such a range that it extended as far as the control tower.  We're talking hundreds of yards from the TP.  And what I REALLY want to know is, if he was jamming everything, how the hell did they figure out that it was HIM doing it.  He must have been driving at 75mph, and was probably only in the vicinity for a minute or so.

They probably did not catch him on his first pass.  The airport probably notified the FCC that there was intermittent disruption in service and so the FCC sent out a crew with radio direction finders to look for the source.  It's fairly easy to triangulate, but probably still required a little smart detective work.

As for the tower, the Smartpath system likely only involves the tower from a management standpoint.  It's a precision ILS system, so it probably has broadcast points located at key parts of the approach paths.  They wouldn't necessarily install anything in the tower itself.  I'm not about to Google how it works because I don't need the NSA knocking on my door.
 
2013-08-12 10:44:56 AM  
Came for all the people who don't understand GPS.

Leaving satisfied that somehow this guy's boss has his own satellite.
 
2013-08-12 10:45:48 AM  
Fubini:
Rest assured: the airport has SOME contingency plan in place, just in case the GPS stops working (which they can and do all the time... GPS is weak enough to be drowned out by solar activity, on occasion). But you can be sure that contingency isn't as safe or as comfortable as the GPS solution. Pilots are still trained to do things manually in the event that everything hits the fan, but you couldn't pay me enough money to be on that thing.

Oh crap, the GPS is out.  I guess I'll just resort to about 3 other approach/landing radio-nav systems.  GPS is nice, absolutely.  However it is not really necessary for any flying.
 
2013-08-12 10:46:38 AM  

durbnpoisn: I must say, though...  It's impressive that that jammer has such a range that it extended as far as the control tower.  We're talking hundreds of yards from the TP.  And what I REALLY want to know is, if he was jamming everything, how the hell did they figure out that it was HIM doing it.  He must have been driving at 75mph, and was probably only in the vicinity for a minute or so.


Most of these jammers operate on the principle of spewing garbage into the RF spectrum as powerfully as they can. Radio waves travel a significant distance, and in the case of GPS you're talking about drowning out a fantastically tiny signal: about -130dBm. They run about 100-200 attowatts, or equivalently about 10,000,000,000,000 less powerful than a milliwatt radio signal. GPS/Cell phone jammers can generate signals in excess of a whole watt.

So to answer your question: the GPS jammer likely spews a tremendous amount of interference into the area, which would be detectable over some distance. Given that you're overwhelming a signal that is literally trillions of times less powerful, his single GPS jammer could likely disrupt any GPS reciever for miles (given appropriate line-of-sight). In the terms of RF spectrum, he had the equivalent of lighthouse on his truck, it's not surprising he got caught.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DBm
 
2013-08-12 10:46:51 AM  

RottNDude: The Chinese jammers I've encountered spew about a watt of noise at and significantly above and below L1 and L2 GPS frequencies. This will totally obliterate the milliwatt signal being received by any GPS receiver.


GPS was developed as a military system.

I'm sure there are military GPS receivers that use directional antennas (phased array) that strongly reject any signals that don't come from where the satellites are supposed to be.

It would be pretty pointless to have a crucial military system that can be trivially jammed. Then again the specs on how jam-resistant such systems are I'm sure are highly classified and they would never release such systems for commercial navigation uses.
 
2013-08-12 10:47:13 AM  
There's a much easier way to do it, and it doesn't involve jamming. Just build a mini Faraday cage. The grounding will be tricky though - the car ground may work but a drag chain might help too.

Place the GPS antenna and receiver in said Faraday cage. Problem solved.
 
2013-08-12 10:47:55 AM  
My car radar detector will alert me if the cops try and shut my detector off.
 
2013-08-12 10:50:00 AM  

HairBolus: RottNDude: The Chinese jammers I've encountered spew about a watt of noise at and significantly above and below L1 and L2 GPS frequencies. This will totally obliterate the milliwatt signal being received by any GPS receiver.

GPS was developed as a military system.

I'm sure there are military GPS receivers that use directional antennas (phased array) that strongly reject any signals that don't come from where the satellites are supposed to be.

It would be pretty pointless to have a crucial military system that can be trivially jammed. Then again the specs on how jam-resistant such systems are I'm sure are highly classified and they would never release such systems for commercial navigation uses.



Oh I'm quite certain they have that.  The military must have some kind of system that lets the vehicles and facilities know exactly where they are at any point in time so they can properly triangulate where to aim the GPS antennas.
 
2013-08-12 10:50:16 AM  

Snarfangel: So Bojczak was fined $31,875 on Friday. And, yes, he was also fired for his misdirection.

Putting a GPS jammer in a company vehicle? Yeah, that sounds like grounds for automatic firing. If you don't want your employer to track you, drive your own truck.

On the other hand, an airport charged with landing airplanes worth hundreds of millions of dollars would seem to warrant having a system that can't be blocked with a $100 jammer.


Physics are physics. All signals can be jammed. You can still land a plane without GPS.
 
2013-08-12 10:50:25 AM  

kd1s: There's a much easier way to do it, and it doesn't involve jamming. Just build a mini Faraday cage. The grounding will be tricky though - the car ground may work but a drag chain might help too.

Place the GPS antenna and receiver in said Faraday cage. Problem solved.


I don't think you would need to ground a Faraday cage to block the signal to the antenna.
 
2013-08-12 10:51:02 AM  

PaLarkin: One exception would be microwave ovens.


www.bugsweeps.com
 
2013-08-12 10:52:05 AM  

dittybopper: Slap one on a weather balloon, and you've got a way to keep any drones in the general area from knowing precisely where there are.


That's one way to put yourself out of HARM's way.

/Are you sure that it's a good idea to tell farkers how to jam?
 
2013-08-12 10:53:09 AM  

dittybopper: The Slush: dittybopper: The better solution, if you don't want to be tracked all the time, is tocover the GPS antenna with something metal, like aluminum foil or a wire mesh be a trustworthy employee who doesn't spend all day at strip clubs while on the clock.

Even if you are a trustworthy employee who doesn't spend all day at strip clubs while on the clock, you may not really want to be tracked.  Especially if you get dinged for things like going a bit over the speed limit in order to make a scheduled delivery on time, or because you don't want your boss to know you've got an overactive bladder and need to take frequent piss breaks, or because you simply have an aversion to being micromanaged, which is why you became a driver in the first place, so you don't have a boss looking over your shoulder the whole time.


The other side of that is when my office gets a call from some pissed off ratepayer (govt entity here) saying they saw vehicle #234 going "at least 90mph down Highway 80, almost blew me off the road when he passed me, while talking on his cell phone and sucking on a bong while an underage hooker rimmed his asshole", I can immediately call up vehicle #234 and see that vehicle has actually been parked at one of our satellite yards for the last 4 days and the top speed we have recorded for it in the last two weeks has been 57mph and it has not been on Highway 80 in that same time period.
With that information, I can politely tell the caller to go fark themselves and please call again if they have any further complaints.

People may not like being tracked, but it saves their ass as often as it kicks it....
 
2013-08-12 10:53:16 AM  

Matthew Keene: PaLarkin: One exception would be microwave ovens.

[www.bugsweeps.com image 570x326]


WTF.

Is that for real?
 
2013-08-12 10:54:13 AM  
www.melecotte.com
 
2013-08-12 10:55:09 AM  

Deep Contact: My car radar detector will alert me if the cops try and shut my detector off.


???  More info please.......
 
2013-08-12 10:55:54 AM  
Snarfangel: On the other hand, an airport charged with landing airplanes worth hundreds of millions of dollars would seem to warrant having a system that can't be blocked with a $100 jammer.

Yeah, this is pretty much an open invitation to mayhem. Fark.
 
2013-08-12 10:58:14 AM  

hardinparamedic: Is that for real?


Yes it is. A nerd neighbor with a chip on his shoulder can be dangerous.

hacknmod.com
 
2013-08-12 10:58:58 AM  

HAMMERTOE: You mean, Die Hard II could actually happen?


Well, not the ejection seat in the commercial airliner part.
 
2013-08-12 10:59:31 AM  

Stone Meadow: Snarfangel: On the other hand, an airport charged with landing airplanes worth hundreds of millions of dollars would seem to warrant having a system that can't be blocked with a $100 jammer.

Yeah, this is pretty much an open invitation to mayhem. Fark.


Even if everyone lands OK, and from what I'm told there is a LOT of redundancy built into the system so that they do, just the event of a dozen of these gagiggers being activated in Ohare would cause enough panic to cost millions of dollars in studies and whatnot.  And at the end of the day there would be a billion dollar upgrade.

/rats!
 
2013-08-12 10:59:40 AM  

BMFPitt: Physics are physics. All signals can be jammed. You can still land a plane without GPS.


Um. Want to know how I know?
 
2013-08-12 11:03:20 AM  
FTFA: No reasonable employee wants their boss to know where they are all the time.
Just as no reasonable boss wants his employees to know where she is all the time.


Especially during the "He's a Diva" contest night...
 
2013-08-12 11:06:37 AM  

BafflerMeal: HairBolus: RottNDude: The Chinese jammers I've encountered spew about a watt of noise at and significantly above and below L1 and L2 GPS frequencies. This will totally obliterate the milliwatt signal being received by any GPS receiver.

GPS was developed as a military system.

I'm sure there are military GPS receivers that use directional antennas (phased array) that strongly reject any signals that don't come from where the satellites are supposed to be.

It would be pretty pointless to have a crucial military system that can be trivially jammed. Then again the specs on how jam-resistant such systems are I'm sure are highly classified and they would never release such systems for commercial navigation uses.


Oh I'm quite certain they have that.  The military must have some kind of system that lets the vehicles and facilities know exactly where they are at any point in time so they can properly triangulate where to aim the GPS antennas.


Umm, a sophisticated system should determine the vectors to the jamming sources so that they can be cancelled out, meanwhile using inertial navigation and at worst crude approximations such as "up in the sky" for the good sources. Think of GPS as a way to calibrate inertial navigation systems.
 
2013-08-12 11:07:39 AM  
Our drivers think that the vans have GPS trackers on them. They don't. It all stems from one of our old drivers sleeping in the parking lots of our clients in the van. We have some great video with close ups of him knocked out on the clock every day. The first time we wrote him up and warned him the 2nd time he got fired. But he was better the second time he parked behind a dumpster at the warehouse, but missed the giant bubble cam there.
 
2013-08-12 11:10:09 AM  
a jam thread?  Jam band thread?  It's all fun and games until the bass solo, then everybody cries
 
2013-08-12 11:11:01 AM  
www.ladyofthecake.com
 
2013-08-12 11:12:50 AM  
Gary Bojczak may have thought this a sound investment. For, as CBS New York reports, he admitted to investigators that he put one in the truck he drove on behalf of an engineering company called Tilcon.

Author fail.  Tilcon isn't an engineering company.

They the largest/one of the largest asphalt paving companies in NJ and the biggest aggregate producers in the state.  Their paving division is massive, they own a shiatload of quarries, sand pits, asphalt plants, plus they do some bridge work.
 
2013-08-12 11:14:23 AM  

HairBolus: It would be pretty pointless to have a crucial military system that can be trivially jammed. Then again the specs on how jam-resistant such systems are I'm sure are highly classified and they would never release such systems for commercial navigation uses.


Not really- all jamming happens at the receiver, not the transmitter, so GPS works perfectly well until you're within range of an enemy using a jammer. If that drops out, switch over to one of the many redundant systems until it works again.

So, for example, an aircraft flying in from someplace remote (e.g. a carrier, Scott AFB in Missouri) can use GPS all the way until they're right on top of the enemy, they fight, the plane leaves and can use GPS again. Same for naval ships (horizon line is about 10-20 miles, beyond line of sight no jamming is possible). People on the ground have been doing land-nav for years, and again you have the problem of line-of-sight. The jamming distance is going to be severely reduced, or the jammer is going to be very vulnerable (on top of a hill).

Beyond that, a working GPS signal actually requires 3-4 satellites, though many more are preferable. If you're talking directional antenna, you're talking at least 3, but probably as many as 7-8 to get a good GPS lock. At this point, your military GPS system weighs as much as a car... not terribly practical for a device designed to help you navigate.

No, the military uses regular GPS technology, but their signal is encrypted so they know the signal is authentic. That's it.
 
2013-08-12 11:15:56 AM  

kd1s: There's a much easier way to do it, and it doesn't involve jamming. Just build a mini Faraday cage. The grounding will be tricky though - the car ground may work but a drag chain might help too.

Place the GPS antenna and receiver in said Faraday cage. Problem solved.


You don't have to ground the faraday cage.

Wrap the antenna with foil.  Problem solved.  No RF is going to penetrate, especially not at the weak signal levels we're talking about.  A faraday cage only needs to be grounded for things like lighting protection purposes.  If you merely want to block RF, it doesn't have to be grounded.
 
2013-08-12 11:16:35 AM  
Back in the 80s, we used to play foxhunt on our CB radios.

One guy would have 30 minutes to hide, our rules were no private property and stay in the county...and then the rest of us would try to find them using our radios and basically playing 'marco polo' until we could get headlights on them.

In a county as bug as Marathon (central Wisconsin) this could take a while.

And even back then, if you ran too much oomph into your sideband amp, the FCC would find you one day and have a lovely chat with you. And, yes, they COULD take your truck with the radio in it if you stepped on enough transmissions.
 
2013-08-12 11:16:54 AM  

Satanic_Hamster: Gary Bojczak may have thought this a sound investment. For, as CBS New York reports, he admitted to investigators that he put one in the truck he drove on behalf of an engineering company called Tilcon.

Author fail.  Tilcon isn't an engineering company.

They the largest/one of the largest asphalt paving companies in NJ and the biggest aggregate producers in the state.  Their paving division is massive, they own a shiatload of quarries, sand pits, asphalt plants, plus they do some bridge work.


So he is trying to mess with one of the "legit" businesses of the Mafia?
 
2013-08-12 11:16:56 AM  

Clemkadidlefark: [www.melecotte.com image 400x600]


Only one man would dare give me the raspberry!
 
2013-08-12 11:17:08 AM  

Satanic_Hamster: Gary Bojczak may have thought this a sound investment. For, as CBS New York reports, he admitted to investigators that he put one in the truck he drove on behalf of an engineering company called Tilcon.

Author fail.  Tilcon isn't an engineering company.

They the largest/one of the largest asphalt paving companies in NJ and the biggest aggregate producers in the state.  Their paving division is massive, they own a shiatload of quarries, sand pits, asphalt plants, plus they do some bridge work.


You're saying there's no engineering work involved in paving?
 
2013-08-12 11:19:03 AM  

PunkTiger: What disturbs me most is that an airport utilizing this new Smartpath system can be easily jammed by a sub-100 dollar GPS jammer. What kind of havoc can that cause at any Smartpath airport if it was used specifically for jamming those signals?


This would make a great Bruce Willis movie!
 
2013-08-12 11:20:20 AM  

demaL-demaL-yeH: dittybopper: Slap one on a weather balloon, and you've got a way to keep any drones in the general area from knowing precisely where there are.

That's one way to put yourself out of HARM's way.

/Are you sure that it's a good idea to tell farkers how to jam?


Heh.  Out of HARMs way.

Hey, I wasn't in the jamming business, I was in the interception business.  Everything I know about it, I know from open sources.
 
2013-08-12 11:20:30 AM  
Jamming is old news. Now people are actively spoofing the signals to send auto-navigation systems off course.
 
2013-08-12 11:22:48 AM  

HairBolus: So he is trying to mess with one of the "legit" businesses of the Mafia?


Worse.  Union!

chevydeuce: You're saying there's no engineering work involved in paving?


Tilcon is primarily known for their paving and quarries.  It's like describing a hospital as a restaurant because they have a cafeteria.
 
2013-08-12 11:23:00 AM  
2.bp.blogspot.com
Jammer worth more than vehicle it's on.
 
2013-08-12 11:24:42 AM  

Fubini: No, the military uses regular GPS technology, but their signal is encrypted so they know the signal is authentic. That's it.


You could still overwhelm it with a $100 GPS jammer on a $50 weather balloon.
 
2013-08-12 11:29:49 AM  
Is this the guy from 2009, or did another dumbass disrupt the Newark airport?
http://www.economist.com/node/18304246
But in late 2009 engineers noticed that satellite-positioning receivers for a new navigation aid at Newark airport in New Jersey were suffering brief daily breaks in reception. Something was interfering with the signals from orbiting global positioning system (GPS) satellites. It took two months for investigators from the Federal Aviation Authority to track down the problem: a driver who passed by on the nearby New Jersey Turnpike each day had a cheap GPS jammer in his truck.
 
2013-08-12 11:29:54 AM  

dittybopper: Fubini: No, the military uses regular GPS technology, but their signal is encrypted so they know the signal is authentic. That's it.

You could still overwhelm it with a $100 GPS jammer on a $50 weather balloon.


Don't worry. They have an app for that.

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-08-12 11:38:26 AM  

dittybopper: You could still overwhelm it with a $100 GPS jammer on a $50 weather balloon.


I think the idea above was that you could use a phased array to make a jam-resistant GPS reciever. It would be... impractical, to say the least. Impossible maybe. The GPS signal is just SO weak. It's the weakest signal expressed on Wikipedia's dBm chart.

You would need incredibly precise antennas and directioning.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DBm
 
2013-08-12 11:39:02 AM  

The Slush: dittybopper: The better solution, if you don't want to be tracked all the time, is to cover the GPS antenna with something metal, like aluminum foil or a wire mesh be a trustworthy employee who doesn't spend all day at strip clubs while on the clock.


If I spent all day at a strip club while on the clock, why would they need to track me? They'd know exactly where I was...at a strip club.
 
2013-08-12 11:40:54 AM  

hardinparamedic: dittybopper: Fubini: No, the military uses regular GPS technology, but their signal is encrypted so they know the signal is authentic. That's it.

You could still overwhelm it with a $100 GPS jammer on a $50 weather balloon.

Don't worry. They have an app for that.

[upload.wikimedia.org image 220x147]


Actually, no, they don't.

Maximum slant range for a Stinger is around 15,000 feet.  At a 45 degree angle, that's a maximum height of around 10,000 feet.  And because balloons tend to be roughly the same temperature as the air surrounding them, seems to me it would be pretty difficult to get a lock on one with an infrared seeker.

Now, it would be relatively easy to target them using an anti-radiation missile, but then you're chasing $200 worth of stuff with a million dollar missile.  I'm willing to bet even the most cash-strapped insurgents could put up more jammers (if they deemed it necessary) then the US could send missiles.
 
2013-08-12 11:40:56 AM  

Prof. Frink: The Slush: dittybopper: The better solution, if you don't want to be tracked all the time, is to cover the GPS antenna with something metal, like aluminum foil or a wire mesh be a trustworthy employee who doesn't spend all day at strip clubs while on the clock.

If I spent all day at a strip club while on the clock, why would they need to track me? They'd know exactly where I was...at a strip club.



No, no, no.  Your *truck* was at the strip club.  You were clearly on site doing your work as you should have been.  Plausible deniability, people.
 
2013-08-12 11:41:12 AM  

dittybopper: Hey, I wasn't in the jamming business, I was in the interception business.  Everything I know about it, I know from open sources.


Think again: ECM platforms have Morse keys.
 
2013-08-12 11:43:13 AM  

dittybopper: hardinparamedic: dittybopper: Fubini: No, the military uses regular GPS technology, but their signal is encrypted so they know the signal is authentic. That's it.

You could still overwhelm it with a $100 GPS jammer on a $50 weather balloon.

Don't worry. They have an app for that.

[upload.wikimedia.org image 220x147]

Actually, no, they don't.

Maximum slant range for a Stinger is around 15,000 feet.  At a 45 degree angle, that's a maximum height of around 10,000 feet.  And because balloons tend to be roughly the same temperature as the air surrounding them, seems to me it would be pretty difficult to get a lock on one with an infrared seeker.

Now, it would be relatively easy to target them using an anti-radiation missile, but then you're chasing $200 worth of stuff with a million dollar missile.  I'm willing to bet even the most cash-strapped insurgents could put up more jammers (if they deemed it necessary) then the US could send missiles.



Which explains alot about the United State's problems in one succinct statement.
 
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