Hacking Traffic Lights

Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
6,367
Location
Midwest
The link is to an article that I found interesting; it outlines a study that shows that hacking into traffic light networks is dangerously simple. As a former software developer, the lack of security on some modern networked systems always astounds me-we were more security conscience back in the Unix and LTL400 days. This article outlines how easy it is for anyone with a modicum of intelligence to hack into traffic light systems and wreak havoc-the same traffic light systems that are used in more than 40 states.
Originally Posted By: From The Article
The team, led by University of Michigan computer scientist J. Alex Halderman, found three major weaknesses in the traffic light system: unencrypted wireless connections, the use of default usernames and passwords that could be found online, and a debugging port that is easy to attack.
Originally Posted By: From The Article
The Michigan researchers found that anyone with a computer that can communicate at the same frequency as the intersection radios—in this case, 5.8 gigahertz—could access the entire unencrypted network. It takes just one point of access to get into the whole system.
Traffic Light Study
 
Joined
Mar 16, 2004
Messages
7,256
Location
USA
No surprise to me as web application developer however the risk is quite low balanced against cost of upgrading them all. People figure out messed up traffic lights pretty quick and deal. Power goes out often here yet traffic still seems to work.
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2003
Messages
36,927
Location
ME
The problem is of ownership-- a contractor installs traffic lights then hands the (virtual) keys over to the state DOT, but the city is responsible for programming it, but they don't have a guy to do it, etc. The light-up message sign trailers are pretty easy to hack, too. So are a hundred other things. We just count on people being decent and/or unknowing. "Security through obscurity".
 
Joined
Jun 5, 2003
Messages
23,466
Location
Apple Valley, California
years ago we used to flash our lights as we aproached a light to get it to change before we got there. i still pull up then back up over the senser every morning.if i dont do that ill be sitting there till another car pulls up behind me
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
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Location
Nowthen, MN
Originally Posted By: Chris142
years ago we used to flash our lights as we aproached a light to get it to change before we got there. i still pull up then back up over the senser every morning.if i dont do that ill be sitting there till another car pulls up behind me
I think in the early days of Opticom, they could be tripped by flashing your high beams. Not anymore though. They require a special strobe or LED flashing at a specific rate to trip them.
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2004
Messages
3,292
Location
Chicago Area
Originally Posted By: SuperDave456
Welcome to the "Internet of Things", where everything gets hacked the week it comes out. Carbon Paper looks better all the time.
Keep in mind that this, too, is unencrypted and a hacker can read what you typed... grin
 
Joined
Jul 22, 2005
Messages
11,654
Location
NorthEast
There have been quite a few movies where the entire premise of the movie relies on the bad (or good!) guys' ability to take over the traffic lights. Italian Job is one but I am sure there are lot more. By the way, if you click on the OP's link, guys in the black suit and sunglasses will visit you!
 
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