Security expert says he will NOT fly on ‘day zero’ after governments warn global devices will RESET due to calendar glitch

  • The error could cause disruption to plane’s navigation systems and electric grids
  • Time counters are predicted to roll back to zero in older GPS devices says expert 
  • Experts raised the alert this week at RSA 2019 San Francisco security meeting 
  • Bill Malik, vice president of Trend Micro, says he will not fly on April 6  
  • Navigation systems on ships and older aircraft may be affected 

GPS systems could be brought down next month due to a computer calendar error says information security expert.

An expert at the RSA 2019 security conference in San Francisco this week said he predicts a Y2K like computer error for older GPS systems to take place on April 6, in less than a month’s time.

The computers’ calendars could fail if GPS devices’ with older systems flip back to zero after literally running out of time, reaching the end of their counters.

A similar prediction, nicknamed Y2K, was made in 1999 as the world worried over an impending computer shutdown.

Bill Malik, vice president of Trend Micro, a Taiwanese multinational cyber security and defense company, told Tom’s Guide he wouldn’t fly on April 6 and compared the prediction to the 1999 Y2K calendar error – but suggests things may be worse this time around.

He said: ‘The effects would be more widespread because so many more systems have integrated GPS into their operations.’

‘Ports load and unload containers automatically, using GPS to guide the cranes.’

‘Public-safety systems incorporate GPS systems, as do traffic-monitoring systems for bridges.

‘Twenty years ago these links were primitive. Now they are embedded. So any impact now will be substantially greater.’

Governments have issued warnings to state and private sectors to update technology.

The US government published a memorandum called ‘Upcoming Global Positioning System Week Number Rollover Event’ in April 2018 warning manufacturers and private technology firms.

There are few parts of our lives that haven’t be altered by GPS technology. Financial markets may be affected by the rollover

While navigation systems in older ships and aircraft may be affected mobile phones are expected to be fine.

FalTech GPS, a British company that manufactures GPS signal repeaters for indoor use, wrote: ‘Some GPS receivers, or other systems that utilize the date and time function, may not be able to cope.’

‘Financial markets, power generating companies, emergency services and industrial control systems may be affected, as well as fixed-line and cellular communications networks.’

Despite these worrying predictions the company says that this is not the first time a rollover has occurred: ‘Since this is the second time a GPS week rollover will occur, many manufacturers will have been aware of it in advance and newer receivers will continue through and beyond the rollover date without issue.’