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SECURING AUTOMOTIVE NAVIGATION: HOW TO PROTECT VEHICLES AGAINST GPS HACKING

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As the only source of absolute vehicle position, velocity and time, GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) plays a critical role. However, both current and next levels of autonomy (SAE Levels 2 - 5) will require a smart fusion between the different sensors on the car, together with the onboard GNSS system with high
accuracy and up-to-date information.

The Pyramid GNSS technology detects, alerts, and protects against spoofing attacks. Pyramid GNSS is the first standalone software technology to detect and mitigate smart GNSS/GPS spoofing against receivers that is secure, affordable and implementable across any GNSS/GPS system.

Any standard GNSS receiver or chipset can now be made resilient to defend against these attacks. Regulus is the first company dealing with sensor cybersecurity. Their
product Pyramid GNSS defends against GNSS spoofing and GPS hacking attacks.
During a recent webinar, Yoav Zangvil, Chief Technical Officer and Co-Founder and Roi Mit, Chief Marketing Officer at Regulus Cyber explored a detailed report following a Regulus Cyber experiment on the Tesla Model 3 Navigate on Autopilot feature. Founded in 2016, Regulus is based in Haifa, Israel.

Roi, a sales and marketing expert, has a background in supporting both corporate and startup companies. He brings over seven years of marketing experience and has
held various leadership roles, including Director of Marketing & Sales for ParaZero Drone Safety Systems, as well as Digital Marketing Specialist at WalkMe. Roi worked
at both companies while they raised substantial investments and generated millions of dollars in revenue.

Roi previously worked as a debate instructor, pitch consultant and journalist. He also served as an officer in Israel Defense Forces, including serving abroad as military attaché assistant.

The report proved, for the first time ever, that using a GPS spoofing attack would allow an attacker to remotely influence a vehicle’s navigation decisions, including route changing, speed changes, suspension control, and internal system calculations. The talk explores the new developments in sensor fusion, SLAM techniques, and GNSS cyber defence, as the next step for navigation for driverless cars, and concludes with best practices and recommendations for automakers, Tier 1s, Sensor Manufacturers and regulators.

Mobility Engineering spoke to Roi Mit on the technologies and methodologies behind automotive navigation systems and discussed the direction in which the industry is heading with GNSS technology embedded in autonomous cars.

Roi Mit

What was the result of the experiment on the Tesla Model 3?

We found the Tesla ideally suited for testing for spoofing. Using some of the techniques most hackers use, including the currently cheaply available SDR Spoofer at $100, we managed to override the car’s highly sophisticated GPS systems to veer away from a set course and even veer towards oncoming traffic. While doing s similar test in a Tesla installed with our Pyramid GNSS, the driver is instantly alerted of any spoofing at which point, he can override the set commands and manually correct the course or direction. We are planning on undertaking similar tests with other brands and models of EVs and hybrid cars, too.

What are the main features of the Pyramid GNSS?

Spoofing attacks are notoriously difficult to detect and guard against, and becoming increasingly frequent as hackers use spoofing for personal monetary gain and various other intentions. The Regulus Pyramid GNSS solution uses proprietary algorithms to accurately determine when spoofing occurs and provide real-time protection as the receiver end. The Pyramid GNSS supplements GPS receivers, including legacy receivers and Android operating systems, offering dependable protection. In addition, online services from Regulus Cyber can provide further
signal authentication to connected fleet operators in real-time.

With more and more softwares and applications being loaded onto an automobile, are we becoming a slave to digital technology? What happens if there is a crash of
the software?

All automotive vehicles are ADAS enabled. Consequently, the driver can override the system if he feels that what he had envisaged is not happening, as in the case of a
spoofing attack, for instance. In our tests done on a Tesla Model 3, we have stage-managed a spoofing attack and even though the car succumbed to the forced instructions from the hacker, the driver was able to override it immediately.

How differently does GNSS work on a normal car and an electric car?

Pyramid GNSS will work well on all modern automobiles which already has GPS as part of its features, be it a normal car, a hybrid or an electric car. Obviously, the road
infrastructure, the traffic guidance systems and controls have to be in place if the GNSS has to work perfectly and effectively. In countries like India, it will be a challenge, indeed.

Is GNSS more beneficial for heavy vehicles / commercial vehicles?

Naturally, fleet operators in the logistics industry are more susceptible to spoofing. Therefore the GNSS system would be ideally suitable for their use. In India, we are in
advanced talks with TATA Motors for installing Pyramid GNSS at the OEM stage for forthcoming production vehicles. As for existing vehicles with fleet owners, as and
when the vehicle comes in for company-provided service, the software can be installed.

Learn More About Automotive (ADAS) Solutions

*Originally published on Mobility Engineering June 2020, by Nikhil Raghavan