Sunday, September 21, 2014

Another Infrastructure: Are Traffic Lights Secure?

Several experts from the University of Michigan have analyzed the safety critical nature of traffic infrastructures. Their findings are summarized in a paper presented in August 2014:

“Green Lights Forever: Analyzing the Security of Traffic Infrastructure”

Abstract: “The safety critical nature of traffic infrastructure requires that it be secure against computer-based attacks, but this is not always the case. We investigate a networked traffic signal system currently deployed in the United States
and discover a number of security flaws that exist due to systemic failures by the designers. We leverage these flaws to create attacks which gain control of the system, and we successfully demonstrate them on the deployment in coordination with authorities. Our attacks show that an adversary can control traffic infrastructure to cause disruption, degrade safety, or gain an unfair advantage.
We make recommendations on how to improve existing systems and discuss the lessons learned for embedded systems security in general.”

It would be nice to read one day down the street:

“Power Flows Forever” ;-)

Click HERE for the paper.

These findings are to some extend applicable to any application domain with similar topologies. The lessons learned could be applied for power delivery infrastructures, too! Or?

Next time you experience a long waiting queue at an intersection or a power black out: It may have been caused by a security flaw.

Note also: No Power no traffic lights!

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