A German artist demonstrated how using a simple trick it is possible to deceive Google Maps and create a virtual traffic jam.
The German artist Simon Weckert conducted a simple experiment to demonstrate how to deceive Google Maps and create a virtual traffic jam.
The man put 99 cell mobile phones using Google Maps in a hand cart and started walking around the streets of Berlin.
The popular Maps service leverages users’ GPS and location data sent by the from mobile devices to determine the routes for its users and avoid traffic congestion on a particular point of the path. Using data sent by the mobile devices Google Maps detects traffic jams and suggests alternative routes to the destination.
In Weckert’s test, the man was walking with 99 active phones simulating the presence of traffic on his route that was interpreted by the service as 99 cars going slow due to the traffic jam.
This simple test demonstrates that is is quite simple to interfere with the map service. Such kind of attack could have serious effects on traffic and could be used by attackers to reroute vehicles through specifically chosen routes.
“99 second hand smartphones are transported in a handcart to generate virtual traffic jam in Google Maps. Through this activity, it is possible to turn a green street red which has an impact in the physical world by navigating cars on another route to avoid being stuck in traffic,” Weckert wrote on his web site.
Pierluigi Paganini is member of the ENISA (European Union Agency for Network and Information Security) Threat Landscape Stakeholder Group and Cyber G7 Group, he is also a Security Evangelist, Security Analyst and Freelance Writer.
Editor-in-Chief at "Cyber Defense Magazine", Pierluigi is a cyber security expert with over 20 years experience in the field, he is Certified Ethical Hacker at EC Council in London. The passion for writing and a strong belief that security is founded on sharing and awareness led Pierluigi to find the security blog "Security Affairs" recently named a Top National Security Resource for US.
Pierluigi is a member of the "The Hacker News" team and he is a writer for some major publications in the field such as Cyber War Zone, ICTTF, Infosec Island, Infosec Institute, The Hacker News Magazine and for many other Security magazines.
Author of the Books "The Deep Dark Web" and “Digital Virtual Currency and Bitcoin”.