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SLOW DOWN: Insecure-by-design software on road

Electronic highway signage has default password, can be p0wned from afar

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If your commute to work today featured an electronic highway sign suggesting you do something odd, the presence of a default password in sign management software called Daktronics Vanguard may be to blame.

ICS CERT points out that an early panic that the software possessed a hardwired password can be dismissed. But the application does come with “a default password that can be changed upon installation.” If the software's operator doesn't do so, remote “modification of sign text” is possible.

Which could lead to some unfortunate or mischievous instructions appearing on a roadside near you.

ICS CERT and Daktronics together recommend that any signs managed by the software be assigned an IP address the general public cannot access, or popped onto a VPN. There's also a recommendation to “Disable the telnet, webpage, and web LCD interfaces when not needed”, plus the predictable advice to change passwords.

Remotely-updatable highway signage probably qualifies as a “thing” on the “Internet of things”. Let's hope the hordes of folks apparently contemplating new “things” learn from this incident before all manner of connected contraptions offer hackers a similarly effortless-to-exploit opportunity to create mayhem. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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