Analysis of tracking data from Automatic Identification System broadcasts reveals vessel locations have been simulated for a number of ships, including military vessels. This false information could compromise vessel safety, decrease confidence in a crucial collision avoidance system and potentially spark international conflict.
Recently, analyst Bjorn Bergman came across a new category of false AIS ship positions: positions for vessels that were not present on the water anywhere. Yet these tracks appear extremely plausible. This new type of simulated AIS tracks represents a significant threat to data integrity and highlights the need for vigilance when interpreting AIS data.