Your GPS could be lying to you

“Warning! Undead pirate zombie ninja battle ahead!!!” Someday soon, such an alert could come to you on your GPS system. Well, maybe not quite the end-of-fucking-civilization(TM) alert that undead pirate zombie ninjas would dictate (yes, I just said the end of civilization would hinge on a battle of undead pirate zombie ninjas – leave a comment if you think I am wrong!), but certainly other startling alerts like Terrorist attack or Bull fight in progress could come through. Thanks to the insecure method of alert delivery made possible by FM subcarrier channels (known as RDS), some GPS systems will pick up local news alerts and inform you of problems before you get caught in a bull fight or otherwise dangerous zone.

Two security experts have discovered a way to inject false messages– some amusing and others potentially frightening– into car satellite navigation systems.

Andrea Barisani, chief security engineer for Inverse Path Ltd. and Daniele Bianco, a hardware hacker at Inverse Path, used off the shelf equipment to transmit messages to their car satellite navigation system warning of conditions ranging from foggy weather to terrorist attacks. They presented their findings on Friday at CanSecWest a security conference taking place this week in Vancouver.

. . .

Barisani and Bianco found that they could build a device that transmits over the RDS channel. Through trial and error, they discovered that transmitting certain code numbers translates into certain warnings that are displayed on the satellite navigation system.

Some were amusing. One code number alerts users that there’s a bull fight in progress. Another one indicates delays due to a parade.

But some weren’t so funny. One tells users that there has been a terrorist incident. Another indicates a bomb alert and another an air crash.

Maybe its just my twisted sense of humor, but I think there needs to be an undead pirate zombie ninja battle ahead alert, too. Of course, it could just be that I like saying undead pirate zombie ninja. But you might have already picked up on that. (via /.)

[tags]Undead pirate zombie ninja battle ahead – prepare for end of civilization, Fake GPS alerts via FM subcarrier signalling[/tags]