Behind an 8-Hour Traffic Jam: Hackers?
Major Israeli road closed last month amid reported cyberattack
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Oct 28, 2013 8:04 AM CDT
An Israeli Police officer stands guard as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not seen, takes part in the inauguration ceremony of the Carmel Tunnels, a traffic system in Haifa, Israel, Nov. 30, 2010.   (AP/Photo/Ariel Schalit)

(Newser) – Israel's officials are deeply concerned about the threat of cyberwarfare, and an apparent attack last month in the northern city of Haifa may have validated those fears. On Sept. 8, a trojan horse attack—in which a hacker gains control over a system via software installed by unwitting users—hit security cameras in Israel's Carmel Tunnels toll road, an expert tells the AP. Right away, the major thoroughfare went on lockdown for 20 minutes; the next day it was closed for eight hours. And that led to more than headaches: It caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

The hack didn't appear to boast the sophistication of an enemy government attack; instead, it was likely the work of a group along the lines of Anonymous, the expert notes. The firm in charge of the toll road, on the other hand, says the problem was prompted by a "communication glitch," not a cyberattack. If it is the work of hackers, however, it "is the hallmark of a new era," says an outside security manager. Vulnerable systems are widespread, and Israel is "among the top-targeted countries," he notes. Israel Electric Corp., for instance, faces some 6,000 unique attacks each second, it says. "Big organizations and even countries are preparing for D-Day," says a rep for the company.

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Oct 28, 2013 8:00 PM CDT
Some cities are going to a wimax communication system for public safety and traffic signaling. The backbone is designed by military contractors so its secure and cannot be hacked. But it does not mean it cannot totally prevent a cyber attack by some very unsophisticated means. It means lights are controlled from a central location and commands are sent out on the wimax network. That relies on each traffic signal passing the packets on to the next and it eventually goes to the whole network in milliseconds. Its not like its a secret either because I was on a case where a wildfire had occurred. I'm out surveying near the burn zone looking for hotspots to call in. This ranch owner comes up to me and says, "look, I'm glad you stopped the fire here, but did your guys have to leave so many Pizza Hut boxes near my mailbox? You know if I want to get even, I can jam your radio system, I know how to do it." Needless to say, I reported this guy to my superiors.
Oct 28, 2013 11:58 AM CDT
We need an alien attack.
Oct 28, 2013 11:41 AM CDT
For a second I thought the headline said "Hookers".