Over 100 warship locations have been faked in one year

Location technology misuses could lead to political disputes. Wired, SkyWatch, and Global Fishing Watch conducted research that found over 100 fake warship locations since August 2020. This includes the Queen Elizabeth, a British aircraft carrier, and the US destroyer Roosevelt. False data could have shown the vessels in disputed waters, nearing naval bases of other countries or movements that could lead to international conflict.The fakes were discovered by the research team by comparing the use of the automatic identification system, a GPS-based system that helps prevent collisions, with verifiable location data using an identifying pattern. Satellites, on the other hand, showed the true positions. All the fake information was from satellite-based AIS receivers. Global Fishing Watch has been looking into fake AIS positions for many years. However, this was the first time that it had ever seen false data for real ships.It is not clear who or why they are faking places. Analysts believe that Russia is the common perpetrator of the data. Nearly all the affected warships came from European countries or NATO member nations. The data also included fake incursions around Kaliningrad and other Russian interests. Russia could falsely claim that NATO and Europe sent warships into Russian waters in order to portray them as aggressors.Russia has always denied hacking allegations. Russia has used fake accounts and misinformation for years to inflame political tensions. The faked locations of warships could be an important escalation in Russia's connection. Although it might not result in shooting matches, this approach could be disconcertingly close.