A team of University of Michigan researchers worked with a local road agency to investigate a security flaw in a wireless system of networked stoplights. These systems are used in over 40 states to improve traffic flow efficiency while reducing emissions and delays.
The researchers found three issues within the traffic light system that could lead to serious computer security threats. The system was able to be hacked in through unencrypted wireless connections using login information found online, and the debugging port is easy to access. To test their theory, the team was able to access one of the controllers turning all the traffic lights red, and altering the timing of adjacent intersections.