Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

Greg Schneider at The Washington Post reports of problems that Maryland is having with a device available for sale on the Internet that changes red traffic lights to green ones.

Apparently between 1000 and 3000 traffic lights in Maryland have been outfitted with a device that turns them from red to green when they are strobed with an infrared beam. These beams are typically transmitted by police cars and fire engines. The newer devices use a coded beam, but the old devices didn’t — and that’s the problem.

A company in Minnesota is selling a device that transmits the infrared beam, allowing anybody to control the traffic lights. No more red lights! What a cool idea! Unfortunately, it can cause huge traffic jams, accidents, and it’s illegal.

Just another demonstration that it’s not safe to deploy systems with security flaws and hope that nobody will discover them.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me