- Researcher claims to be able to control light patterns in Manhattan
- Say technique can be used in all major cities
- Uses special $4,000 router to control traffic sensors embedded in roads
A security expert claims to have uncovered a major flaw in the traffic system in in major cities around the world including London and New York.
Cesar Cerrudo, an Argentinian security researcher with IoActive, says he can control traffic lights and even reroute traffic.
He discovered is was possible to control the sensors embedded into the road and used by control systems to monitor traffic.
He was able to take control of the sensors –Sensys Networks VDS240 wireless vehicle detection systems– which are installed in 40 U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, DC, as well as in nine other countries.
Cerrudo said that once he bought a sensor for himself, he found it was relatively easy to control.
‘After getting the devices, it wasn’t difficult to find vulnerabilities.
‘The vulnerabilities I found allow anyone to take complete control of the devices and send fake data to traffic control systems.
‘Basically anyone could cause a traffic mess by launching an attack with a simple exploit programmed on cheap hardware ($100 or less).
‘I even tested the attack launched from a drone flying at over 650 feet, and it worked!’
Cerrudo said he even let the firm that makes the sensors know.
‘What I would like to mention is that the vendor was contacted a long time ago (September 2013) through ICS-CERT (the initial report to ICS-CERT was sent on July 31st, 2013). I was told by ICS-CERT that the vendor said that they didn’t think the issues were critical nor even important.
‘Another excuse the vendor provided is that because the devices don’t control traffic lights, there is no need for security.
‘This is crazy, because while the devices don’t directly control traffic control systems, they have a direct influence on the actions and decisions of these systems.‘