13th escar Europe conference | Embedded Security in Cars

Last week I had the pleasure to attend the “escar” (Embedded Security in Cars) conference in Cologne, Germany.
Arriving late Tuesday, I had the chance to get a rich breakfast before joining the con in the hotel Dorint at Cologne’s famous place the Heumarkt. Unfortunately I had to deal with two stumbling blocks on my way to the Dobrint: The magnetic sensor of my mobile which went crazy (no compass) and – the date. 11th of November in Cologne means just one thing – carneval! The whole city was just in a state of exception. Everybody on my way to the venue seemed to be drinking or beeing already drunk – at 9am! šŸ˜‰
Being a little late, I went straight to the room after registration. As there was only one track to follow you could not miss any talk – nice thing!
After we were welcomed by the hosts, and the first talk started.

Conference Room
Conference Room

“Green Lights Forever: Analyzing the Security of Traffic Infrastructure” by Allen Hillaker
The con’s first talk was presented by Allen Hillaker. He was speaking about the security of mostly wireless traffic lights and their infrastructure in the US.
Allen presented the design of a typical traffic intersection which is connected via a radio to the road agency. He also described what happens, when a malfunction is triggered and the malfunction management unit sets the traffic lights to a well known (safe) state.
The traffic lights usually operate at 900MHz or 5.8GHz using a protocol similar to 802.11 (Wifi) without strong safety. They gathered access to the networks by using same model radio the systems at the intersections were using. As possible attacks Denial of Service, the change of the traffic lights’ timings and individual light control were named. To mitigate this, he suggested to use WPA, not broadcasting SSIDs, the use of firewalls, firmware updates and – of course – changing the default credentials. Continue reading “13th escar Europe conference | Embedded Security in Cars”

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