The Kremlin is believed to have installed a transmitter to ward off a drone attack which jams GPS signals. Also those in Moscow taxis, reports The Times.
For months, Pokémon Go players on Red Square, taxi drivers using computerised street maps and ordinary Russians strolling by the river in Moscow have wondered why their mobile phones and navigators go haywire. Now the mystery appears to have been solved by Grigory Bakunov, a blogger. He concluded that the Kremlin has installed a powerful transmitter in order, it is believed, to ward off a drone attack.
The transmitter causes location “spoofing”, tricking GPS-powered mobile apps and navigation systems into believing they are somewhere else, often Moscow’s Vnukovo airport. Mr Bakunov tested his thesis by scooting around the Kremlin for three hours on a Segway carrying a rucksack full of devices using GPS and Glonass, a Russian equivalent. He was able to draw a map of several “spoofed” sectors, which converged inside the Kremlin.
Some drones have “geo-fencing” which stops them flying in restricted areas. Mr Bakunov said one theory was that the Kremlin transmitter would prevent drones approaching it to take videos. Vladimir Putin’s staff may also be afraid of small surveillance drones packed with explosives — recently used by Islamists in Syria and Iraq.
Driving under the Kremlin walls in a Yandex taxi this week, The Times saw how the navigator’s location indicator began to leap from street to street, and its voice gave confused messages. “It happens all the time,” said the driver.