U.S. warns of GPS interference, communications spoofing in Persian Gulf

The US Department of Transportation warned commercial shipping companies on Wednesday about a list of Iranian threats in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf, including GPS interference and communications jamming, CNN reported.

The warning listed a series of incidents that have occurred involving the Islamic republic since May, including the detention of the British-flagged M/V Stena Impero and the detention and release of the Liberian-flagged M/V Mesdar.

During “at least two” of the recent encounters with Iranian military forces, “vessels reported GPS interference. One vessel reportedly shut off its Automatic Identification System before it was seized, complicating response efforts.”

The Stena Impero “turned off its tracker and ignored several warnings by the [Iranian Revolutionary] Guards before being captured,” an unnamed military source told Iran’s state news agency IRNA, according to Reuters.

Ships in the area have also reported spoofed communications from “unknown entities falsely claiming to be US or coalition warships,” according to the warning.

Iran has placed GPS jammers on its Abu Musa Island, located in the Persian Gulf near the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz, a US defense official told CNN.

The jammers were placed at that location in order to disrupt civilian aircraft and ship navigation systems. Iran hoped that ships or planes would mistakenly wander into Iranian waters or airspace due to the GPS malfunctions, which would give Iranian forces the pretext needed to seize them.

According to the official, the jammers have no effect on US military warships and aircraft.
In July, British media reported that the British intelligence services MI6 and GCHQ were concerned that Iran had used Russian GPS spoofing technology to send the Stena Impero off course into Iranian waters.
U.S. warns of GPS interference, communications spoofing in Persian Gulf  U.S. warns of GPS interference, communications spoofing
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