The abuse of location technology can lead to heated political controversy. According to To Wired, SkyWatch and Global Fishing Watch have carried out studies showing more than 100 warship locations have been rigged since August 2020, including a British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth and US destroyer Roosevelt… In some cases, false data have shown ships entering disputed waters or approaching naval bases in other countries – movements that could provoke international incidents.
The research team found counterfeits by comparing the use of an automatic identification system (AIS, a GPS-based anti-collision system) with location data that can be verified using an identification template. All the false information came from coastal AIS receivers, while satellites, for example, showed the real position. Global Fishing Watch has investigated fake AIS positions for years, but this is the first time it has seen fake data on real vessels.
It is not known who is faking the locations and why. However, analysts said the data was indicative of a common criminal, which could be Russia. Almost all of the affected warships were from European countries or NATO members, and the data included bogus incursions around Kaliningrad, the Black Sea, Crimea, and other Russian interests. In theory, Russia could portray Europe and NATO as aggressors, falsely claiming that these rivals were sending warships to Russian seas.
Russia has historically denied hacking claims. However, he has a long history of using fake accounts and misinformation to fuel political tensions, furthering her own ends. And if Russia gets involved, the fake locations of warships could be a significant step forward in that strategy. While this approach may not result in match shooting, it can be confusing.
All Engadget recommended products are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories contain affiliate links. If you buy something from one of these links, we may receive an affiliate commission.