Eric Thorn, R&D manager at Swri
The San Antonio-based Southwest Research Institute
(Swri) has been awarded a $750,000 contract by the US Transportation Research Board to help state and local agencies address cyber-attack risks on current transportation systems and those posed by future connected vehicles.
Traffic light controllers, dynamic message signs, road-weather information systems and other devices that relay data can all pose varying levels of cyber security risks. More than 400,000 traffic signal systems across the US have varying levels of network access and embedded security.
Swri will lead the two-year project which will conduct security audits of traffic management systems and develop a web-based guide to help transportation agencies learn to safeguard their equipment.
Its assessment will include hacking (penetration testing) to assess vulnerabilities and recommend mitigation strategies - including those for agencies with limited resources.
Looking ahead, its research will also evaluate potential access points where hackers might exploit connected vehicles.