Israel ‘spoofs’ GPS to deter attacks, but it also throws off planes, ships and apps

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The U.S.-operated GPS has falsely located planes, people and ships, sometimes placing them at the Beirut’s international airport. Hassan Ammar/AP

Hassan Ammar/AP

BEIRUT — For the past few months, the U.S.-operated Global Positioning System has been listing planes, people and even ships hundreds of miles from Lebanon in a surprising place — Beirut’s international airport.

It’s the result of a practice called GPS “spoofing” — which sends false location signals to satellites that overwhelm the real signals.

The operations, which researchers have traced to Israel, are intended to deter rockets

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