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Are transport systems safe from cyberattacks?

As technology continues to become more and more connected to the internet, the infrastructures that our daily lives rely upon also follow suit. One manifestation of this are intelligent transport systems (ITS), the application of advanced and emerging technologies in transport to save lives, time, money, and the environment. From autonomous vehicles to Smart Roads, ITS makes it realistic to imagine fully integrated and connected traffic systems in the future.
However, all internet-enabled technologies are open to the threat of cyberattacks, which could cause commerce disruption and revenue loss and also pose significant safety risks. This scenario is especially true when it comes to ITS. The already demonstrated and proven possibility of ITS being attacked is the main premise of a research paper, Cyberattacks Against Intelligent Transportation Systems: Assessing Future Threats to ITS. It discusses in detail the threats that ITS-integrated traffic infrastructure will face down the line, from attacks that deny the flow of data and information to actual disruption of functions and services. The paper also offers recommendations, both short term and long term, on what needs to be done to secure an ITS against those very threats.
Senior security architect at Trend Micro Dr Jon Oliver said: “In today’s connected world of smart devices and ever-increasing volumes of disruptive and destructive cyberattacks, ITS cybersecurity is mandatory and should be considered a fundamental pillar in ITS architectures and frameworks.
“Earlier this year, we already saw the WannaCry ransomware infecting speed cameras in Victoria. Adding security to an existing solution is always more difficult and costly than building that security from day one. We recommend that the people building ITS look into policies and methods so that security can be built into ITS in a cost-effective way from its infancy in Australia.”
The Trend Micro research paper, Cyberattacks Against Intelligent Transportation Systems: Assessing Future Threats to ITS, can be viewed here.

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