Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Vulnerabilities

Default Password Exposes Digital Highway Signs to Hacker Attacks

Highway dynamic message signs (DMS) from LED display and scoreboard systems manufacturer Daktronics are vulnerable to cyberattacks, the Department of Homeland Security’s ICS-CERT (Industrial Control System Cyber Emergency Response Team) has warned.

Highway dynamic message signs (DMS) from LED display and scoreboard systems manufacturer Daktronics are vulnerable to cyberattacks, the Department of Homeland Security’s ICS-CERT (Industrial Control System Cyber Emergency Response Team) has warned.

Daktronics Highway Signs

In an alert published on Thursday, ICS-CERT revealed that the Daktronics Vanguard DMS configuration software has a default password that can be used to remotely access highway signs. Initially, the Federal Highway Administration informed ICS-CERT of a hardcoded password, but Daktronics has clarified that it’s actually a default password that can be changed upon installation.

A proof-of-concept for such attacks is publicly available, which is why entities responsible for highway signs are advised to take measures. Daktronics and the Federal Highway Administration recommend changing the default password to a strong one, placing the displays on private networks, and disabling telnet, webpage, and web LCD interfaces if not needed.

Traffic signs, particularly ones used in construction areas, are often hacked to display amusing messages. The control boxes on these displays are in many cases left unprotected and since they’re on ground-level, it’s not difficult to hijack them.

Recently, highway sign hacking has become more common. At the end of May, someone hijacked several signs in North Carolina and made them display a message which read “Hack by Sun Hacker.”

A Twitter user with the online moniker “SUN HACKER” described the following method that can be used to hack road signs: “1 Change the lan of VPN to INTERNET protocol. 2- Scan all the range of the IP on port 23. 3- bruteforce the password. 4- add your message.”

Highway signs are not the only component of the US road transportation system vulnerable to cyberattacks. In April, Cesar Cerrudo, CTO of research firm IOActive, revealed that the traffic control systems used in the United States and various other countries around the world contain flaws that can be exploited by an attacker to cause traffic jams and other problems at intersections, freeways and highways.

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

Expert Insights

Related Content

Cloud Security

VMware vRealize Log Insight vulnerability allows an unauthenticated attacker to take full control of a target system.

IoT Security

Lexmark warns of a remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability impacting over 120 printer models, for which PoC code has been published.

Mobile & Wireless

Apple rolled out iOS 16.3 and macOS Ventura 13.2 to cover serious security vulnerabilities.

Application Security

Drupal released updates that resolve four vulnerabilities in Drupal core and three plugins.

Email Security

Microsoft is urging customers to install the latest Exchange Server updates and harden their environments to prevent malicious attacks.

Mobile & Wireless

Technical details published for an Arm Mali GPU flaw leading to arbitrary kernel code execution and root on Pixel 6.

Vulnerabilities

Less than a week after announcing that it would suspended service indefinitely due to a conflict with an (at the time) unnamed security researcher...

Application Security

A CSRF vulnerability in the source control management (SCM) service Kudu could be exploited to achieve remote code execution in multiple Azure services.