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North Korea Jamming GPS Signals In South Korea 290

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-directions-for-you dept.
Fluffeh writes "North Korea has been looking for new and inventive ways to mess with South Korea. It seems that their missile launch fizzled a bit though, so those wacky folks from the North have bought a few GPS jamming trucks from Russia and are now blocking GPS signals around their city of Kaeson. While Kaeson is around 60 Km inside their borders, the jamming circle is around 100 Km, so it actually covers good parts of South Korea including the airports at Inchon and Gimpo. While no accidents have been caused as yet, it has caused quite some disruption and has made ocean going craft suffer as well due to their heavy reliance on GPS signals."
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North Korea Jamming GPS Signals In South Korea

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  • Legality? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2012 @05:43AM (#39951831)
    Noob question here: apart maybe from frequency allocation, is there an international law or equivalent regulation on signal jamming?
    • by korgitser (1809018) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @05:50AM (#39951881)

      Well I have no idea about such a law, but if you find a way to make North Korea actually follow an international law, pleas let the world know ASAP.

      • Re:Legality? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @06:09AM (#39951951)

        There is a way. But a law of war is that you should not use weapons that cost more than what you destroy with them.

        • by JazzHarper (745403) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @06:12AM (#39951963) Journal

          There is a way. But a law of war is that you should not use weapons that cost more than what you destroy with them.

          That's not really a law, it's more of a guideline.

        • Re:Legality? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @06:19AM (#39951991) Journal
          Not all cost is counted in currency.
        • by neyla (2455118)

          That only applies if you're unwilling or unable to outspend your opponent.

          The US military has certainly used weapons that cost a lot more than whatever they've destroyed in Afghanistan, and that's fine, if they are both able and willing to spend ten times or hundred times what the opposition is spending.

        • Re:Legality? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DigiShaman (671371) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:26AM (#39953153) Homepage

          Especially when you're (the aggressor) left footing the bill to pay for the rebuild. If we are not committed to forcing a nation to kneel before the United State of America in the form of a signed declaration of surrender, we have no business getting into a war. This whole middle eastern conflict has been handled all wrong by both administrations. We've been way to soft handed and playing the nice guy for way to long. Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn't know their history.

          War is hell! Engage, or don't. There is no "try".

          “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.” George S. Patton Jr

          • War isn't hell.

            Hell is filled with sinners. There are no innocent people in hell, but the war is full of them.

          • by Elldallan (901501)
            Well maybe so but both administrations probably know that not playing the nice guy would have severe repercussions, the US is a signatory of the Geneva convention and therefore bound to follow it. Intentionally breaking statutes of the Geneva convention is likely to result in sanctions or other repercussions from various nations around the world.
            A more important fact than winning the war is that the aftermath needs to be acceptable and you can't go around and declare war on everyone that doesn't agree with
          • by jbezorg (1263978) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @11:52AM (#39955315)

            This whole middle eastern conflict has been handled all wrong by both administrations.

            Yes. They fell victim to one of the classic blunders.

        • by ZankerH (1401751)
          Tell that to the guys firing at Afghani wedding parties^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H insurgent terrists with $70 thousand missiles from $5 million drones.
      • Re:Legality? (Score:5, Informative)

        by chrb (1083577) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @07:19AM (#39952225)

        if you find a way to make North Korea actually follow an international law, pleas let the world know ASAP.

        International law does not prohibit a nation state from building nuclear weapons, missiles etc., nor does it regulate what form of government nation states should have. They may be guilty of crimes against humanity, [wikipedia.org] but for their actions to fall into that class, it would have to be shown that the actions were the result of a systematic policy of murder, genocide, torture etc. rather than these being individual acts. Some lawyers have made the case that North Korea has a policy of genocide [livesiteadmin.com] and infanticide, [harvard.edu] both of which would qualify. On the other hand, people have made similar allegations of forced abortion and infanticide against the government of China, and yet very few have argued that constitutes a crime against humanity.

        • I hate to be that guy, but China are too valuable to us all to waste their precious importing time and money on accusing them of crimes against humanity.
          • Re:Legality? (Score:5, Interesting)

            by d3ac0n (715594) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:00AM (#39952409)

            Well, that guy or not, you are (sadly) correct. China has far too much economic influence in the world for any nation (even my much beloved USA) to stand up to them.

            The Norks, on the other hand, hold no such distinction. The only reason they haven't been stomped into the ground yet is both their proximity to China (China doesn't want a war in it's back yard and all the Nork refugees that would come with it) and the fact that they really are that unimportant in the world.

            Of course, should they actually get a viable nuke missile program off the ground AND the USA gets a president with some backbone (Unlike the current "teleprompter-in-chief") then something might be done about it. Maybe. At the rate China is divesting itself of US Bonds, the US won't owe them much debt fairly soon, and will be more free to act.

            The next several years should be "interesting" to say the least.

            • Re:Legality? (Score:5, Informative)

              by Creepy (93888) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @12:39PM (#39956051) Journal

              It seems you don't realize why North Korea even exists - the North Koreans were essentially vanquished and their soldiers fleeing into China in the first year of the Korean war - then China felt threatened by the prospect of a US backed country so close to their border that they declared war in the name of national security and drove UN forces (mostly US) back to the current DMZ. North Korea today has over 1 million active soldiers (4th largest army in the world) and 8 million reserves - that is 5 million more reserves than the US has total soldiers.

              Attacking North Korea is like kicking a beehive sitting next to a bear. You may be much better armed and able to take out massive numbers of bees, but you may also annoy the bear enough to attack you, and by attack you, I mean China and the US would engage in a nuclear war. Even if China wasn't provoked, a massive draft would be necessary for soldiers and the ensuing occupation, and even if the war was relatively short, the people there are massively brainwashed and would fight any occupation. The US would need to borrow huge amounts of cash once again and China wouldn't be lending it to us. The added debt load on the economy will probably cause the government to collapse a few years before the Social Security burden will do the same thing (when SS takes up 90% of the budget we'll either need serious austerity or kill the program, and with 49% of people without any retirement savings other than SS... well, does the word the US is fucked mean anything?).

              North Korea knows the US probably can't "win" such a war which is why they continue to develop nuclear weapons and jam GPS and sink ships - they know they can be the bully and have no serious repercussions (aside from starving a few million peasants, but that is why you have a insular police state - hard to start a revolution with Big Brother watching). The only real reason I see for North Korea to need long range nuclear missiles is in case China turns on them.

              • China merely told the US that if they got closer than a certain distance to their border they would enter the war on North Korea's side. The US military command (IIRC Douglas MacArthur) basically ignored the warning because he thought he could simply threaten them with the use of nuclear weapons if they did and that it was a bluff. It was not a bluff of course. When the Chinese invaded North Korea in droves and started clawing back every gain the US had made on NK soil he asked Truman for nuclear strikes on
              • Re:Legality? (Score:5, Interesting)

                by rahvin112 (446269) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @04:33PM (#39959067)

                So much Fail.

                The Reason the US doesn't attack North Korea is twofold. The first being NK presents no tangible threat to the US. They've been trying to build that threat so we will take their threats seriously (and give them what they want) but they continue to fail at ICBM's. Second reason is that NK has about 50,000 ordinary artillery pieces within range of Seoul, a city of more than 10 million. Within 5 minutes NK could kill several million people with conventional artillery barrages. There is no doubt in anyones mind that if it came to war SK could at this time decimate NK, but the cost to SK would be VERY high (millions of casualties and decimate their industrial might). This is partly the reason the US troops stationed in SK are now several hundred miles from DMZ with the SK army taking the lead point of defense.

                Now on to the History. China didn't give two wits about NK and certainly didn't invade and defend NK for the silly reason of a united Korea with US backing (Sino-US relations had always been reasonable up to that point, even under the Communists and the US acting like babies about Commies). China invaded for several reasons but two are the most important. The first is that after Patton launched the amphibious landing behind NK lines and decimated the NK Army he started talking about not stopping at Pyongyang and continuing on to Beijing. (Yes, he did talk publicly about invading China). This brings up the second reason, because of Patton's statements the Chinese issued an ultimatum to the US that if UN forces approached within 300 miles of the Chinese border that China would be forced to retaliate. Patton and the US ignored the warning and proceeded on to within IIRC about 50 miles of the border (and ran right into the 300,000 troops China had snuck into NK). Patton was fired after this, partly for his failure to take the Chinese threat seriously and partly because he started publicly talking about Nuking Beijing as retaliation. The rest is history but to sum up, the reason China invaded was because they believed that they were under threat from invasion if for no other reason than the top general of the UN forces was talking publicly about doing it. The Chinese believed they were defending mainland China from invasion by US forces.

      • North Korea is nothing more than a proxy and a test facility for both the Russian and the Chinese. If the North Korean ever do launch a nuclear strike, it will be ordered by either the Chinese or the Russian. I am sure the Russian did not gain too much profit by selling those jamming devices to the North Koreans so one can only conclude they are allowing the North Koreans to test them. Lets put the blame where it really lies.
      • by bitt3n (941736)

        if you find a way to make North Korea actually follow an international law, pleas let the world know ASAP.

        their missile program rigorously adheres to the international law of gravity

    • Re:Legality? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ogi_UnixNut (916982) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @05:52AM (#39951895) Homepage

      International law only works if backed up by threats of punishment if you don't comply. It works well for bullying small non-nuclear nations. When you have a huge army, nukes, and an appearance of "just crazy enough to push the red button" nobody will stop you from being a pest.

      International law does not seem to apply to any state powerful enough (i.e. nuclear armed, and/or large conventional forces), as proved many times by the US (and probably others, but I can't think of any examples off the top of my head), and they are considered rational actors that will only use nukes as a last resort.

      Hell, NK has shelled islands belonging to the South, and is believed to have been behind the sinking of a South Korean Navy Vessel. Lives have been lost due to this, both of which constitute acts of war, yet nobody responded.

      I think jamming GPS is rather low on the "pest" scale, so I don't think anything major will be done about it (regardless of whether there is a law on the books against it).

      • International law does not seem to apply to any state powerful enough

        Quite right, but it is simpler to think of this situation as sovereign countries being in a state of anarchy vis-a-vis each other.

      • Re:Legality? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2012 @07:11AM (#39952195)

        International law only works if backed up by threats of punishment if you don't comply.

        And this is why American foreign politics are not taken seriously.

        Let's not be naive here. NK is a bandit state that follows and discards laws and regulations on a whim and in a seemingly irrational manner to an outside observer. Still, smaller countries (Scandinavian countries for example) have seen great successes in frequency allocation agreements through such organizations such as HFCC against a number of larger countries. I remember the Norwegian delegation some years ago negotiating away -China- from a critical allocation they both needed. This was done through careful diplomacy, some clever alternative arrangements and generally both parties being interested in a solution even if they were miles apart on the issue to begin with. The next year, they did it again, this time fending off Russia. Anyone suggesting that Norway has anything to threaten Russia and China with is an armchair general not to be taken seriously.

        Whether the same could be arranged with NK... I remain sceptical but to dismiss it off-hand is foolish. You seem to have a very ingrained mental image of NK being the very soul of evil and the US being the shining city on the hill, never acting in bad faith. This image is incorrect on both accounts.

        Personally, I'd think an invitation into HFCC and serious negotiation from equal parties is the best option likely to succeed. If not, and NK would be bluffing, THEN you would be in the situation where other options could be considered.

        tl;dr - You're too gung-ho. There ARE institutions to handle this sort of thing. I've served on several and we've done some very good and difficult work deemed "impossible" by the US State Dept. because they only really have a hammer and not every problem is a nail.

      • Re:Legality? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by yacc143 (975862) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @07:31AM (#39952265) Homepage

        Well, technically they are at war, just in a very long cease-fire.

        And yes, while there might have been cases where other countries have done bad stuff, no questions, the US have the problem of being seen as a hypocrite.

        "The land of the Free", "The Good Guys", ... => well, in many cases it would be helpful if they could pin labels in big high contrast letters on the Americans on site "WE ARE THE GOOD GUYS. REALLY.".

        The problem is that especially in the last decade, it has often become hard to find the goodness that the PR is still claiming.

        Examples would include:

        -) drone killings in foreign countries => collateral damage is accepted, and that does not even ask the question if the US administration can decide on it's own that they want someone dead, without a court, ... => how's that much different from a terrorist that want's to kill one person inside and bombs the whole house?

        -) arrests without warrants, without the option to legal representation, => everything there in the PATRIOT act.

        -) US agents wanted by international arrest warrants by supposedly friendly countries => yeah, sometimes the criminal (as the local law defines) energy of CIA agents can lead to embarrassing situations. (So if the local law does not apply, why do you expect Islamist terrorists to obey local US laws?)

        -) Generally speaking, the US constitution has been turned into an optional guideline.

        -) Ah, one last thing, the Supreme Court demands that capital punishment is handed down by objective criteria. Wonder how many service man have been sentenced to DR that commited multiple murders on the local population. Happened many times, and these guys usually get just a slap on the hand.

        • Re:Legality? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Ash Vince (602485) * on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:37AM (#39952617) Journal

          Ah, one last thing, the Supreme Court demands that capital punishment is handed down by objective criteria. Wonder how many service man have been sentenced to DR that commited multiple murders on the local population. Happened many times, and these guys usually get just a slap on the hand.

          What's even more relevant is that these service men or women should often be tried and sentenced in the country where the crime is committed. Especially in cases where the US has an extradition treaty with the country in question and would,expect to be able to extradite any criminals it wanted to stand trial in the US. The US policy seems to be though that their own law usurps any other countries (recently it seems to usurp the US constitution so that should not be too surprising).

          This is a fine attitude to take if you intend to impose it by force, but it completely fails to let you take any sort of moral high ground. This does not help win any hearts and minds of the local populace so has a habit of encouraging terrorism amongst them, especially if there is mass unemployment and people feel like they have nothing better to do than blow themselves up anyway.

      • The Mafia State (Score:5, Informative)

        by Guppy (12314) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:51AM (#39952715)

        Hell, NK has shelled islands belonging to the South, and is believed to have been behind the sinking of a South Korean Navy Vessel. Lives have been lost due to this, both of which constitute acts of war, yet nobody responded.

        That's just the beginning. Abductions of South Korean [wikipedia.org] and Japanese [wikipedia.org] civilians, and probably a few citizens of some other countries as well. The 1983 Rangoon Embassy Bombing [wikipedia.org] and 1987 Flight 858 Bombing [wikipedia.org]. Probable government-level drug-smuggling [wikipedia.org] and similar criminal enterprises [nytimes.com].

        From a standpoint of international law, North Korea's government level, large-scale counterfeiting of US Currency [slashdot.org], just by itself, might be sufficient to constitute an act act of war.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          They are acts of War. The USA and South Korea are at war with the DPRK. The War never ended, just some cease-fires.

          Is this really not common knowledge?

    • do you think that treaties mean anything to them? Rules are simply something they use to assert control over the actions of others when needed, they do not apply such limits and rules to themselves.

      If anything they would use it as leverage to gain something. After all they have their threat pretty well displayed. It is not ever loon that backs their insanity with a large army possibly armed with both chemical and nuclear weapons.

      If anything expresses the danger of certain middle eastern countries obtaining

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As a shortwave listener I can confirm that there are a lot of N.Korean jammers active. Often without a trace of the actual signal they are blocking. Same for China/Iran/Cuba and a couple of other countries I'm probably forgetting.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      It is perfectly legal in North Korea to do so.

    • by flyneye (84093)

      Just wait for the S. Korea signal blackout satellite to start hanging out over N. Korea. No fOOking T.V. ,Radio, Wifi, no damn nothing.
      Just watch. Back to beating logs and smoke signals for teenage mutant dictator turtles.

      • by Herve5 (879674) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:45AM (#39952665)

        Yes, NK state radio is delivered to each home by wire. And each home has a "radio" set which of course is geared to only connect to this wire, and does not receive any RF signal indeed. In NK not only you aren't supposed to listed other countries' radios, but you technically can't.

        And incidentally, this "wire radio" is by design unjammable...

        • by Nimey (114278)

          I believe the North Korean term for the coaxial "radio" is "the third radio". I don't recall exactly what the other two are, but they're both wireless and the wired radio is IIRC largely restricted to Pyongyang.

    • Re:Legality? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@NOspaM.world3.net> on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:13AM (#39952469) Homepage

      They are probably jamming GPS to make it harder for US drones to fly over them. There is probably an argument for defensive action to be made there.

  • Cyber Warfare (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Wouldn't this fall under most countries definition of cyber warfare? Then again, South Korea seems to ignore actual warfare/violent aggression from North Korea so I doubt it would make a difference either way.
    • Re:Cyber Warfare (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rhook (943951) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @05:51AM (#39951887)

      The Korean War never ended.

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      Wouldn't this fall under most countries definition of cyber warfare?

      My guess is that since the USA says it may jam or stop the civilian codes if necessary, jamming is not against international law if they can give some sort of excuse for it being defensive. The way these things go, even if it was a really pathetic excuse it would be enough to stop international courts bringing charges. Of course even if they did, the reaction is unlikely to be like that of the USA or other Western countries - hand wringing and either campaigning for the law to change or stopping the practic

      • Re:Cyber Warfare (Score:5, Informative)

        by rhook (943951) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @06:31AM (#39952025)

        The US does not jam GPS signals, you're thinking of Selective Availiability which is currently disabled.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_Availability#Selective_availability [wikipedia.org]

        GPS includes a (currently disabled) feature called Selective Availability (SA) that adds intentional, time varying errors of up to 100 meters (328 ft) to the publicly available navigation signals. This was intended to deny an enemy the use of civilian GPS receivers for precision weapon guidance.
        SA errors are actually pseudorandom, generated by a cryptographic algorithm from a classified seed key available only to authorized users (the U.S. military, its allies and a few other users, mostly government) with a special military GPS receiver. Mere possession of the receiver is insufficient; it still needs the tightly controlled daily key.
        Before it was turned off on May 2, 2000, typical SA errors were about 50 m (164 ft) horizontally and about 100 m (328 ft) vertically.[5] Because SA affects every GPS receiver in a given area almost equally, a fixed station with an accurately known position can measure the SA error values and transmit them to the local GPS receivers so they may correct their position fixes. This is called Differential GPS or DGPS. DGPS also corrects for several other important sources of GPS errors, particularly ionospheric delay, so it continues to be widely used even though SA has been turned off. The ineffectiveness of SA in the face of widely available DGPS was a common argument for turning off SA, and this was finally done by order of President Clinton in 2000.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Lumpy (12016)

          ". Mere possession of the receiver is insufficient; it still needs the tightly controlled daily key."

          This is incorrect.

          You can fix the Dilution errors by using DGPS. 2-3 cheap GPS recievers in an area can create a correction signal to give you back the accuracy. Did it daily in the 90's when I worked with the new fangled GPS based survey equipment. Plop down 2 tripods with GPS recievers and you go winder with your third. if you are inside the area your two error receivers are set you have a 1cm a

          • You can fix the Dilution errors by using DGPS. 2-3 cheap GPS recievers in an area can create a correction signal to give you back the accuracy. Did it daily in the 90's when I worked with the new fangled GPS based survey equipment. Plop down 2 tripods with GPS recievers and you go winder with your third. if you are inside the area your two error receivers are set you have a 1cm accuracy, outside them but within radio range and you have 10cm.

            Because SA affects every GPS receiver in a given area almost equally, a fixed station with an accurately known position can measure the SA error values and transmit them to the local GPS receivers so they may correct their position fixes. This is called Differential GPS or DGPS. DGPS also corrects for several other important sources of GPS errors, particularly ionospheric delay, so it continues to be widely used even though SA has been turned off. The ineffectiveness of SA in the face of widely available DGPS was a common argument for turning off SA, and this was finally done by order of President Clinton in 2000.

            Herp the derps?

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Quote from GP:
            ". Mere possession of the receiver is insufficient; it still needs the tightly controlled daily key."
            "Because SA affects every GPS receiver in a given area almost equally, a fixed station with an accurately known position can measure the SA error values and transmit them to the local GPS receivers so they may correct their position fixes. This is called Differential GPS or DGPS. DGPS also corrects for several other important sources of GPS errors, particularly ionospheric delay, so it continue

            • So I'm confused what you are saying. First you say using DGPS will not work, then claim DGPS will work. You say the GP is wrong, only to repeat exactly what GP said as a "correction".

              Very simple, really. SA transmits GPS signals, but with an error added. An ordinary GPS receiver therefore cannot figure out its exact position, you need this clever GPS receiver where you can type in what error SA is currently using.

              Or you use a very simple method: You plug a GPS in the ground in a known location. You check where it thinks it is based on the GPS signal, and where you know that it is because you put it there and you know the place, and that gives you the exact error in the GPS signal.

            • by Lumpy (12016)

              Illiteracy is so sad :(

              Yes, it is, please point out where I say DGPS will not work. I think you need to learn english.

        • Well, if I dare say, SA was turned off not at all because of its ineffectiveness, but in a last, desperate move to try preventing Europe deciding for their own positioning system, aka Galileo.

          Clinton turned SA off mere months before Europe voted Galileo funding, and this after an anti-Galileo campaign that was so gross that indeed it was vastly counter-effective for the decision-makers here.

          The only other campaign that was as laughable as that was when we voted on the Euro: I still keep some actual paper ne

        • Why? Because the US owns GPS. GPS was 100% funded and is operated by the US military. It is not some international collaboration, it is a US military project and always was. They decided to open it up to civilians of all nations back in the day, and it has enjoyed great success and is now the primary navigation system for essentially all civilian and commercial traffic. However it is still military, it was never handed over to any international body or anything.

          This means if they US wants they can just stra

    • by Baseclass (785652)

      South Korea seems to ignore actual warfare/violent aggression from North Korea so I doubt it would make a difference either way.

      If said jamming is affecting their Starcraft servers in any way there's no telling what they might be capable of.

  • by cvtan (752695) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @05:54AM (#39951899)
    Good to know the North Koreans have extra money to send to the Russians and can afford to maintain jamming trucks.
    • by macson_g (1551397)
      Of course! They don't need to pay for food for they people, they get it free from the USofA.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:08AM (#39952443)

      This is far from new. My brother is an Apache pilot and has had two tours in Korea. The North periodically jams GPS along the border. They also provide false navigation signals (including encoded identification) for both NDB [wikipedia.org] and VOR [wikipedia.org] near the border. They get a hard on for the potential to create an international incident. They would love to declare the US violated their airspace. Should it happen, of course they would claim their border was violated and neglect to tell you they also caused it.

      Pilots receive specific training there so as to double check all navigation signals and to cross check against maps. They are not allowed to use GPS for primary navigation. They're not supposed to use it for primary navigation anyways, but in Korea, along the border, the realistic need is brought to the forefront.

      So basically, this is the same stuff they've been doing for two decades. Seriously, nothing new here...aside from the fact that perhaps civilians are hearing about it.

    • by Ash Vince (602485) * on Thursday May 10, 2012 @08:43AM (#39952659) Journal

      Good to know the North Koreans have extra money to send to the Russians and can afford to maintain jamming trucks.

      It's not "extra money" it's a policy called military first or some such crap. Basically it means the people can go starve if the army needs the money for a new toy.

      • by cvtan (752695)
        Because there are so many enemy countries wanting to move in on North Korea's turf and steal all their stuff.
  • GPS reliance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @06:02AM (#39951923)

    While no accidents have been caused as yet, it has caused quite some disruption and has made ocean going craft suffer as well due to their heavy reliance on GPS signals.

    It's amazing how many pilots/captains have completely lost the ability to navigate their vessels without electronics and the problem is made worse by the fact that the infrastructure you need to navigate without it has been neglected or even systematically dismantled in many countries. I have sometimes wondered what effect it would have on a major NATO military maneuver if you specified half way through the war-game that: "The enemy just knocked out several of our GPS satellites, please simulate this by not making any use of your GPS equipment nor any GPS enabled munitions except those that have a fallback mode".

    • Re:GPS reliance (Score:5, Informative)

      by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @06:12AM (#39951959) Homepage Journal

      LIke it or not, GPS is integrated into ATC infrastructure. Jamming like this has a direct economic impact because separation standards need to acount for degraded positioning data. Increase the separation between aircraft and you reduce the throughput of the affected airspace.

      • Actually not as integral as you'd expect. Airliners don't rely solely on GPS for obvious reasons; they take a weighted average of about a half dozen different navigational aids to determine their position. GPS has become the dominant one, fair enough, but if GPS is unavailable or unreliable (if it disagrees with the other measurements by too much) it's weighting is decreased or it is removed from the average completely. VOR stations, ADF stations, ILS, inertial navigation, and dead reckoning can all pick

    • Well, lets assume that there is no GPS. You navigate by ground based radio beacons. Guess what anyone with a big transmitter can do to those? So, whats left? Visual navigation? Only works if you can see your reference point(so, at night or in fog, you're screwed). That leaves for ships, what? Stars? If you can see them.

      Like it or not, the issue is not the technology. It is the fact that you have some asshole country who wants to mess with it. A political problem, which has no genuine technical solution.

      • Re:GPS reliance (Score:5, Interesting)

        by phaunt (1079975) * on Thursday May 10, 2012 @06:32AM (#39952027)
        The GP's point still stands. He mentions "that the infrastructure you need to navigate without it has been neglected or even systematically dismantled". This includes lighthouses, many of which are no longer being maintained. I find this a bad idea: they offer a globally distributed and resilient fall-back option to the much more centralised (almost single-point-of-failure) technology that GPS offers.
        • by Yvanhoe (564877)
          In case of war, creating a fake lighthouse to lead ships into rocks is a possibility.

          A good fallback plan would be to have radar equipment that can see through fog and a database of the coast profiles.

          Note however, that both lighthouses and this plan requires the ships to travel along the coast, that's still having an impact and not a replacement for a fully functional GPS system.

          I think that jamming is possible when you are having omnidirectional receptors, but one could use a "navigation by star"
          • by d3ac0n (715594)

            Actually, I've often wondered why the very powerful onboard computer systems of large commercial and military vessels do NOT have some kind of fallback system. Perhaps they do and we simply don't know about it? (How many Sailors are there on /.?)

            I would think that a system that calculates position based on both the relative motion of the vessel combined with observable star and land positions (using motion, wind, light and radar sensors) would be an excellent fallback system. Not as accurate as GPS, but

            • Re:GPS reliance (Score:4, Informative)

              by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @07:54AM (#39952381) Homepage Journal

              They do. It is called an Inertial navigation system. The problem with an INS is that they drift over time so you must update it. To update it you can use GPS, Loran when it was available, or celestial. If you are near enough to land you can also use a fix from radar. Out of all these methods GPS is the most accurate.
              INS has been in use for a very long time.

              • by Yvanhoe (564877)
                I would add that it is the only available navigation system in immersed submarines. I used to work with mechanical engineers that described the gyroscopes inside submarines as wonders of mechanical engineering.
            • by Yvanhoe (564877)
              I think I was not really clear in the system I propose : have a parabolic dish tracking the satellite on a radio spectrum that can go through clouds. That way, you can do one of several things :
              • * If it is the GPS satellites you are tracking, you can then use the GPS protocol normally, I think regular jamming won't work on directional antennas.
              • * If i is another satellite (like TV stations) that you are tracking, you can use their positions to triangulate your own.

              These system can not be jammed unless y

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        You missed the one that most people use. Normal navigation using that new fangled compass thing and paper maps.

        Not hard at all if you have any education at all in how to use them. I know private pilots that double check their GPS gear by taking headings and using VFR references to navigate through clouds. and as for the glide slope and inner and outer beacons, they would need some serious transmitter power to screw with those. Because you are very close to those highly directional transmitters when y

      • by yacc143 (975862)

        Hint: Long before GPS, human beings navigated.

        Fascinating aspect is that you need to be able to navigate traditionally to get license for sailing ships here around. It's nothing very difficult, it's just that it requires one guy (that is responsible for navigation) to keep his brain engaged. Personally I always found docking under sails without engine, potentially at night time to be way more nerve wrecking.

        • The point you and most other sibling posters have missed about this is that back then we had a high tolerance for error. If the boat was late because of the weather, it was late. By the time we had commercial flight there were enough radio beacons to keep things relatively on time. Take away that technology and a lot of modern business falls apart. If we have to wait for a clear day to fly, how will you make your meeting? Attend to that breakdown 2000km away?

          Like it or not, technology is useful. I'm not say

      • Ground based radiobeacons are much harder to jam than GPS by orders of magnitude. To jam it you would need to raise the noise floor or exceed the signal strength at the location of the aircraft.

        Not to mention that your jammer would show up as the perfect target for an radio seeking missile. If someone wereto complain that your missile hit their jammer... you respond "The missile was a controlled demolition missike that only could target this specific registered radio frequency. That frequency is only use

    • Re:GPS reliance (Score:5, Informative)

      by rhook (943951) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @06:35AM (#39952041)

      Airplane pilots are required to be up-to-date on their celestial navigation. The same applies to most maritime officers. In fact you never rely on just navigation system.

    • It's also amazing how many pilots/captains have completely lost the ability to transmit messages via carrier pigeon.

      It's a tool, and like any tool, if you remove the ability to use it while you are using it, it's going to cause disruption. Most pilots prepare for emergency landings should their engine quit, you wouldn't be surprised if that disrupted things, why should GPS?

      What if their more robust VHF/UHF radios kicked the bucket while flying? That would seriously disrupt them too, but you wouldn't lamen

    • by Guppy06 (410832)

      It's amazing how many pilots/captains have completely lost the ability to navigate their vessels without electronics

      Being (at most) 40 km from the DMZ means that any slight error in navigation results in instant flaming death, and that's only if you're lucky. I'd be anxious about navigation under those conditions as well.

  • Jammin' (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 10, 2012 @06:16AM (#39951973)

    We're jammin':
    I wanna jam it wid you.
    We're jammin', jammin',
    And I hope you like jammin', too.

  • I wonder if the electronics on these trucks can be mysteriously fried from a distance with some kind of directed energy beam?. Maybe can be taking out covertly with the ABL/ALTB? [boeing.com]
    • ARM = Anti-Radiation Missile. Should solve the problem.

      • Re:ARM (Score:5, Funny)

        by Rogerborg (306625) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @07:44AM (#39952333) Homepage
        Could be a laugh too (except for the guys in the trucks).
        • South: Dude, those jamming trucks are way uncool, they're harshing our buzz.
        • North: LOL, what trucks?
        • South: [BOOM]
        • North: Dude! You just totally blew up our trucks!
        • South: LOL, what trucks?
      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        But it could case a bigger one. WAR = death, destruction, cost, and suffering.

        • But it could case a bigger one. WAR = death, destruction, cost, and suffering.

          Hmm, seems to me that that's the attitude people had in 1936, when the German Army moved into the Rhineland, in violation of the Treaty of Versailles.

  • If you can block the satellite signals and want do cause problems why not start broadcasting fake information.
    Change the fake info on a rotating basis and even more fun.
    • Re:Why just block. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Pentium100 (1240090) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @06:58AM (#39952129)

      The power requirements are different.

      To jam a signal you need to transmit noise that can drown the original signal, so that the receiver cannot figure out what it is. To transmit fake information, you need a much stronger transmitter because you not only need to drown the original signal but also have your signal be strong enough so that the receiver does not get confused when it receives both signals (the original and yours), otherwise you are just jamming.

      Also transmitting fake information requires more complex electronics instead of just a noise generator and a big transmitter.

  • blocking in the UK (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    In the USSR, the Soviets spent several hundred million a year on jamming stations [puslapiai.lt].

    In the UK, radio is jammed by allowing BT to distribute PLT networking kit which turns household mains wiring into large antennas and distributes noise all over the HF (and in some cases VHF) spectrum. The Internet is increasingly censored (CP, "piracy" and - if Baroness Howe has her way - porn) via the IWF "voluntary" tech, where "voluntary" is in the sense that a de facto prerequisite for government contracts is that an ISP

  • Perhaps they could put their money to more constructive uses, like, you know, feeding their severely malnourished populous.

  • take them out (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jeppen (1377103) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @07:52AM (#39952369)
    South Korea should simply take out those jamming trucks with missiles. If that escalates into a war, then that may be for the best. North Korea should have been liberated by force at least ten years ago. It was a much better target than Iraq, and a much nobler cause. What NK does to its own people is, on a per-capita basis, about as bad as it gets.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As much as it may rankle the cheapest (and best) option is for the South Koreans to do everything it can to avoid war. Cost in life and money of war would be enormous (on both sides), that is not something that you can be flippant about. It would also likely end up being a fight with China who would use it as an excuse for a North Korean land-grab.

      I think the resolution to this stalemate will probably come from China invading or otherwise taking over North Korea at some stage in next decade or two.

  • Cut all aid and permanently embargo the North with the understanding that if they attack the South they get nuked. They won't attack.

    Tac nukes are what kept them in their box after the Korean war, which is still not over. The North plays the same game over decades, and each generation of Westerners thinks its fucking new.

  • by retroworks (652802) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @09:15AM (#39953011) Homepage Journal
    Now that he's finished "Dark Shadows", and in the spirit of "Mars Attacks!", and Edward Scissorhands etc., we really need Tim Burton to do a movie about North Korea. I think he could capture the ethos.
  • Should be incredibly easy to knock out if any one in the US had balls.
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday May 10, 2012 @11:03AM (#39954513) Homepage

    In the US, the FAA is planning to discontinue VORs and omnirange stations [aopa.org], the non-satellite navigational aids that have run aerial navigation for decades. The Coast Guard discontinued LORAN C in 2010. [insidegnss.com] This was done with the concurrence of the Department of Homeland Security, which said it was "not needed for GPS backup."

    GPS is a very weak signal, and easy to jam. Satellites put out only 500 watts, spread over half the surface of the planet. LORAN C was transmitted at power levels from 100KW to 4MW, with huge antenna farms. That kind of power is difficult to jam at any distance. VORs and omnis aren't as powerful, but they're usually located at airports, so that when you're close to an airport and need to find the runway, the signal is at its strongest.

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