Protecting GNSS-based Services using Time Offset Validation

Kewei Zhang, Marco Spanghero, Panagiotis Papadimitratos

Abstract: Global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) provide pervasive accurate positioning and timing services for a large gamut of applications, from Time based One-Time Passwords (TOPT), to power grid and cellular systems. However, there can be security concerns for the applications due to the vulnerability of GNSS. It is important to observe that GNSS receivers are components of platforms, in principle having rich connectivity to different network infrastructures. Of particular interest is the access to a variety of timing sources, as those can be used to validate GNSS-provided location and time. Therefore, we consider off-the-shelf platforms and how to detect if the GNSS receiver is attacked or not, by cross-checking the GNSS time and time from other available sources. First, we survey different technologies to analyze their availability, accuracy and trustworthiness for time synchronization. Then, we propose a validation approach for absolute and relative time. Moreover, we design a framework and experimental setup for the evaluation of the results. Attacks can be detected based on WiFi supplied time when the adversary shifts the GNSS provided time, more than 23.942 µs; with Network Time Protocol (NTP) supplied time when the adversary-induced shift is more than 2.046 ms. Consequently, the proposal significantly limits the capability of an adversary to manipulate the victim GNSS receiver.
Published in: 2020 IEEE/ION Position, Location and Navigation Symposium (PLANS)
April 20 - 23, 2020
Hilton Portland Downtown
Portland, Oregon
Pages: 575 - 583
Cite this article: Zhang, Kewei, Spanghero, Marco, Papadimitratos, Panagiotis, "Protecting GNSS-based Services using Time Offset Validation," 2020 IEEE/ION Position, Location and Navigation Symposium (PLANS), Portland, Oregon, April 2020, pp. 575-583.
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