UPDATE (3 July): Pyongyang denied it was responsible for the jamming. Thanks to North Korea Tech for the updated info (and my apologies for taking so long to post it).

North Korea has reportedly revived last year’s campaign to jam GPS signals in South Korea, harassing flights around both Incheon and Kimpo international airports. Affected airlines include Korean Air, United, and Delta, plus international freight carriers FedEx and UPS.

Last year’s jamming campaign only lasted for a few days, but this year’s has been ongoing since the end of April. The South plans to protest the North’s action (something I’m sure is keeping NK’s leaders awake nights) to the International Telecommunication Union. Much handwringing and a very light slapping of wrists likely to ensue.

Unlike last year, there are no reports of the jamming affecting cellphone systems inside Seoul – perhaps due to SK Telecom (and presumably others) updating their systems to protect against NK jamming.

Interesting to see how NK, easily East Asia’s least technologically advanced country, is attempting to weaponize the technological sophistication of its rivals by finding and exploiting the new weaknesses of the networked era. Jamming GPS signals and launching hacker offensives at the South is a relatively cheap, safe, and punishment-free way of tormenting its neighbor, giving Pyongyang’s military and hardliners something to do, and developing a new chip to be traded away for some future benefit. Worth keeping an eye on.

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