Towards the Detection of GPS Spoofing Attacks against Drones by Analyzing Camera’s Video Stream

Barak Davidovich, Ben Nassi, Yuval Elovici

Sensors 22 (7), 2608, 2022

A Global Positioning System (GPS) spoofing attack can be launched against any commercial GPS sensor in order to interfere with its navigation capabilities. These sensors are installed in a variety of devices and vehicles (e.g., cars, planes, cell phones, ships, UAVs, and more). In this study, we focus on micro UAVs (drones) for several reasons: (1) they are small and inexpensive, (2) they rely on a built-in camera, (3) they use GPS sensors, and (4) it is difficult to add external components to micro UAVs. We propose an innovative method, based on the video stream captured by a drone’s camera, for the real-time detection of GPS spoofing attacks targeting drones. The proposed method collects frames from the video stream and their location (GPS coordinates); by calculating the correlation between each frame, our method can detect GPS spoofing attacks on drones. We first analyze the performance of the suggested method in a controlled environment by conducting experiments on a flight simulator that we developed. Then, we analyze its performance in the real world using a DJI drone. Our method can provide different levels of security against GPS spoofing attacks, depending on the detection interval required; for example, it can provide a high level of security to a drone flying at altitudes of 50–100 m over an urban area at an average speed of 4 km/h in conditions of low ambient light; in this scenario, the proposed method can provide a level of security that detects any GPS spoofing attack in which the spoofed location is a distance of 1–4 m (an average of 2.5 m) from the real location.