Australian Information Security Management Conference

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Bettany, B., Johnstone, M. N., & Peacock, M. (2016). An investigation of potential wireless security issues in traffic lights. In Johnstone, M. (Ed.). (2016). The Proceedings of 14th Australian Information Security Management Conference, 5-6 December, 2016, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia. (pp. 76-82).


The purpose of automated traffic light systems is to safely and effectively manage the flow of vehicles through (usually) urban environments. Through the use of wireless-based communication protocols, sets of traffic lights are increasingly being connected to larger systems and also being remotely accessed for management purposes, both for monitoring and emergency purposes. These protocols, however, were not designed with security as a primary requirement, thus systems may operate with sub-standard or non-existent security implementations. This research aims to test if the same issues and vulnerabilities that appear to be present in traffic light systems in the USA are prevalent in Australia, specifically, Perth. There is evidence of weaknesses in traffic systems in Eastern Australia and by undertaking this research the conjecture that the same weaknesses may be present in Perth traffic systems can be answered. While none of three common wireless protocols (ZigBee, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi) were found to be in-use, the discovery of a large, consistent network pulse warranted further investigation at one specific intersection.