It is scary how many industries (e.g. autos, “smart” electronics, control systems) are decades behind state of the art security. It’s Easy To Hack Traffic Lights Slashdot posting tells about article where research from the University of Michigan are into the ease with which attackers can hack traffic lights. The network is IP-based, with all the nodes (intersections and management computers) on a single subnet. The 5.8GHz network has no password and uses no encryption; with a proper radio in hand, joining is trivial.
The researcher team has written a paper Green Lights Forever: Analyzing the Security of Traffic Infrastructure, an adversary can control traffic infrastructure to cause disruption, degrade safety, or gain an unfair advantage. The paper gives details on the security flaws that exist due to systemic failures by the designers, gives recommendations on how to improve existing systems and discuss the lessons learned for embedded systems security in general. This is good reading for anybody who is interested in the security of modern infrastructure (let it be smart city or industrial site).