Journal of Transportation Security

, Volume 11, Issue 1–2, pp 41–52 | Cite as

Can software defined radio be used to compromise ADS-B aircraft transponder signals?

  • Mark A. Revels
  • Mark Ciampa


Air traffic control is moving from independent primary surveillance radar to the automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) system. This holds the potential of reducing the total cost of deployment and improving the detection accuracy of aircraft. However, as currently being deployed these systems lack strong security mechanisms and are susceptible to a variety of radio frequency attacks. These attacks have been proffered by attackers at hacker conventions and by academic researchers. And many online sites even provide hacking “how-to” instructions on ADS-B. Is it possible for an attacker to manipulate ADS-B to interfere with an aircraft in flight using readily available tools? Using a basic $200 software defined radio (SDR) transceiver we simulated an ADS-B replay attack. Despite the advancement in SDR we find that the quality of SDR transceivers are still insufficient to perform a replay attack.


Air traffic control Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast Ads-b Software defined radio SDR Replay attack 



This study was funded by an internal research project award from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Kentucky UniversityBowling GreenUSA

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