Have you ever wondered how easy your morning commute could be if all the lights were on your side? Certainly more people have thought about it. Moreover, some have even tried their hand at this topic.
Researchers hacked the traffic lights
Researchers at the University of Michigan found that weaknesses in the traffic control system made it possible to attack it . These include : unencrypted wireless signals that control lights, default usernames and passwords, and a leaky module called a traffic controller that controls lights for cars and pedestrians.
Michigan researchers could hack into a traffic light control system in a Michigan city with only a laptop with a wireless card operating at the same frequency as the wireless lights.
These systems are so flawed that researchers in Michigan could hack into a traffic light control system in a Michigan city with only a laptop with a wireless card operating at the same frequency as the wirelessly connected lights. After the break-in, the researchers used a series of simple commands to alter the traffic light timing patterns and manipulate all the red and green lights on the selected roads (take it easy, the researchers reportedly had permission from local authorities). Experts couldn’t make all the lights at a given intersection green – apparently this requires physical access to public lighting cabinets that contain safety switches.
This study did not cause such concern as attacks on critical infrastructure systems (e.g. electricity grid), which are the main target of potential cyber warfare . Still, it would be better to know that hacking street lights is not a job for every keen amateur hacker, as was the case in the 2003 movie The Italian Job.