GPS Warfare

North Korea Flag

Tensions Continue To Rise On Korean Peninsula

North Korea Attacks Communications In South

The tensions between the neighboring rivals on the Korean peninsula have inflated and deflated continuously over the past 50+ years since the end of the Korean War in 1953, but aggressive acts by the North have been on the increase ever since Kim Jong-il took over power from his deceased father in 1997. One of the more recent and widely publicized acts of aggression came in 2009 when it was suspected that a massive cyber attack that disabled many government run websites, along with the online platforms of banks and other large businesses throughout the South Korean capital of Seoul was perpetrated by the North Koreans. The 2009 cyber attack by the North was very significant because it was clearly a sophisticated operation that could only have been conducted by an intelligent, tech-savvy and organized effort, something many outside countries believed North Korea lacked. However, since the time of the cyber attack, it has been reported that the North Korean government has been grooming young children to be “cyber warriors“, capable of hacking and disrupting a wide range of “secure” online networks. In an effort to show the South Korean government and the rest of the world that North Korea has more in its arsenal than a small elite group of hackers, the communist country turned to GPS warfare to show Seoul that their neighbor to the north is no one hit wonder.

GPS tracking systems and wireless communication are now woven into the fabric of our technology-dependent global society. GPS navigation devices allow motorists to more effectively travel and navigate through unfamiliar areas, fleet tracking systems help businesses enhance the productivity of employees and wireless communication technology keeps everyone online or in touch with one another via cellular devices. However, imagine for a moment if your cell phone service no longer worked, or Internet access was denied? There would be no way to post status updates on Facebook, send/receive text messages or make phone calls. If the new methods of communication were vandalized the end result could have large scale negative implications, and that is exactly what the North Koreans wanted to show when they disrupted GPS signals and communications in the Seoul region earlier this year.

Attacking GPS Technology

According to government officials from the Defense Ministry in South Korea, border cities inside North Korea were detected of transmitting signals associated with disruption of GPS and other communication devices. Sources on the ground stated that those signals coming from North Korean territory were the catalyst for the disruption in many mobile communication devices that utilize GPS signals for certain functions. However, the most concerning fact about the incident was that the signals detected from the cities of Haeju and Kaesong may have also caused some disruption to electronic systems and devices such as those used in artillery by South Korean military weapons.

There is no denying that a massive cyber attack combined with the scrambling of GPS signals would have a huge impact on consumer, business and government operations. Hurting cellular communications and vehicle tracking systems would simply be the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully, the United States and its allies are taking the proper steps to ensure a large scale threat such as this never transpires.


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Source: Reuters