These days a lot of information is transmitted using electromagnetic waves at “radio frequencies” (RF). It is not just phone calls and the internet that use the electromagnetic spectrum to transfer information wirelessly, it is navigation systems, radars, headphones, medical devices... the list goes on and on. And as we move to the internet of things (IoT) more and more devices will talk to each other. How do we ensure that such devices don’t interfere with each other, or that they are not being deliberately interfered with, or the data altered?
In Australia, RF transmissions are regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority ACMA. To transmit at certain frequencies requires a licence that must be purchased, providing an important source of revenue for the government.
The use of mobile phone jammers, GPS jammers and mobile phone boosters is prohibited in Australia. These devices could be used to cause a high level of disruption to society and commercial activity and may present a significant safety risk in some cases. Penalties for breaching the rules can be a fine of up to $1.05 million or up to 5 years in prison.
The EME branch of CDERT conducts research into:
- Detecting and locating users of the electromagnetic spectrum
- Scheduling spectrum usage to avoid interference
- Identifying when received data has been transmitted by a legitimate source