Researchers working for Japanese cybersecurity company Trend Micro were able to take control of construction cranes with surprising ease, according to a report in Forbes.
The researchers set up simple, cheap cyber attacks by hacking into the communications between the controllers and the cranes. They were able to take control over the equipment after discovering that the data packets containing commands were often transported over the air with little to no security.
The exercise, which involved 14 different cranes, proved the vulnerability of the equipment to theft, extortion, and sabotage. Unless manufacturers secured their technology, the potential for catastrophic damage was very real, the researchers say.
Security fixes have been rolled out over the last year, Forbes reported, though some flaws have been left open.