With the popularity of GPS devices exploding in recent years, people have developed a dependence on the Global Positioning System. Millions of consumers, businesses and the military all rely on GPS on a daily basis. However, the recent threat of GPS jamming has exposed the vulnerability of the system.
GPS jamming happens when GPS frequencies are disrupted and signals become unreadable. Since GPS signals are already weak because of their distance from the satellites, it is easy to cause an interference, especially on a small car or handheld GPS. Additionally, the jammers can be switched on and off easily, forcing devices to recalibrate each time.
The threat of GPS jamming is a huge concern because of its accessibility and low cost. For around $30, a consumer can purchase a GPS jammer the size of car cigarette lighter. Although illegal in the United States and most of Europe, the jammers can be bought online from factories in China. These online websites advertise the jammers as privacy protectors and tracking blockers. Therefore, the average consumer is unaware of the jammers' capabilities.
Currently, authorities lack the ability to locate, track or disable GPS jamming. With jammers readily available, illegal behavior can easily be covered, turning jammers into a serious threat.