The Kerch bridge connects Russia and Europe. Dozens of ships navigating around it have been sent false location data by the Russians. (Google Maps/WIkimedia Commons)

On May 15, 2018, under a sunny sky, Russian President Vladimir Putin drove a bright orange truck in a convoy of construction vehicles for the opening of the Kerch Bridge from Russia to Crimea. At 11 miles long, it is now the longest bridge in either Europe or Russia.

As Putin drove across the bridge, something weird happened. The satellite navigation systems in the control rooms of more than 24 ships anchored nearby suddenly started displaying false information about their location. Their GPS systems told their captains they were anchored more than 65 kilometers away — on land, at the Anapa Airport.

This was not a random glitch, according to the Centre for Advanced Defense, a security think tank. It was a deliberate plan to make it difficult for anyone nearby to track or navigate around the presence of Putin, C4AD says.

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