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Hackers could easily cause mass car crashes

Hackers could easily cause mass car crashes
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

How many times have I told you to keep your wireless connection secure? Well, researchers from the University of Michigan just discovered that some traffic lights might be wide-open for hacker anarchists to exploit.

J. Alderman, the leader of the study, claims that there are three major weaknesses in the Michigan traffic lights that his team studied:

  • Unencrypted Wi-Fi
  • Default usernames and passwords for administrator access
  • Vulnerable ports left open

Unencrypted Wi-Fi is bad enough, but is the cybersecurity for our streets really so lax on password security? While Alderman's research was limited to an undisclosed area in Michigan, his research could teach hackers the best way to cause real-world chaos.

All of Alderman's main points are easy to fix. I think they reveal a basic issue that I've been thinking about since the popularization of the "Internet of Things": We're too lazy to have a connected world. If hackers got access to our street lights, they'd be able to cause Bond-villain level destruction.

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