Concerns over air travel security have been raised following EgypAir flight's recent crash. Pilots were warned by Egyptian authorities about hackers attempting to launch GPS signal jamming attacks at Cairo airport.
An internal alert was sent out to airlines by Egyptian authorities, specifying that signal jamming activity was identified in Cairo airport. The source, however, could not be identified. So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the jamming attacks. It is believed that hackers have attempted to tamper with the electrical equipment of planes, when approaching to land at the airport.
The alert published in the internal Flight Service Bureau said: "Egypt notified airlines that GPS jamming is a concern to arrivals and overflights, and warned against conducting RNP/RNAV arrivals or approaches. The jamming was announced on 24 May, and is centred on Cairo airport; the source is unknown." Egyptian authorities have compared the jamming attacks to those believed to be conducted by North Korea on rival South Korean navigation systems.
GPS signal jamming attacks are considered a significant threat given that GPS jamming devices are fairly readily available for purchase for less than £100 ($146). Consequently, such attacks involve targeting and blocking the navigation systems of airlines, naval operations or even mapping software on smartphones.
Britain's air force recently used signal jamming attacks to cripple the communications network of the extremist group IS (Isis). The "black ops" operation involved an RAF crew deploying targeted signal jamming attacks on the Daesh stronghold of Sirte, located on the Mediterranean coast.
Coincidently, EgyptAir's Flight MS804, which crashed on 19 May, is believed to have gone down into the Mediterranean Sea. Egyptian authorities have deployed search teams to investigate the crash and recently found emergency signals from the crashed flight. Authorities claim that the signals could help investigators locate the plane's parts on the sea floor. The Paris to Cairo flight carried 66 passengers. It is still not clear what caused the flight to deviate and crash.