Modern Technology Could Make Railway System Vulnerable to Cyber Crimes

August 29, 2017
440 Views

The railway authority in the developed countries is thinking about switching to hi-end signalling system to prevent train crash. However, its major drawback is the system could be hacked, eventually leading to terrible accidents and loss of lives.

Prof David Stupples, who is a scientist and works in the capacity of an advisor for the British government, has told the BBC that the plans to install computerised lights in place of the age-old traditional signals could pose the threat of cyber attacks to the railway network.

Though advantages of using digital technology for signals cannot be ignored, it comes with the likelihood of exposure to cyber crimes. He insisted in his interview that there is a plan in place to work closely with security agencies, partners and suppliers from the rail industry as well as cybercrime experts to understand the system and ensure a threat-immune network to prevent train crash.

How It Will Work

Once the digital system is up and working, computers will send important safety information such as the maximum speed of the train and time taken to come to a stop. The system is supposed to be introduced in some of the busy intercity routes in the UK by the 2020s.

It is already in use to take control of train in several countries and no case has been reported regarding its being attacked by the cybergoons. The digital technology has been developed to ensure better control of trains while reducing the human error that is still the leading cause of train accidents throughout the world.

Prof Stupples has specialization in radio systems and networked electronic. He is associated with City University in London. He differs from the popular opinion that the new-age system could make the railway network safer as he has spoken about his fears that the hackers with mischievous intention (majority of them are devils) could be responsible for major disruptions and even severe accidents.

He has said intelligently developed malware could negatively affect the way the trains respond to the signals. He has admitted that the government is also concerned about the possible dangers. According to him, while it is possible to take preventive measures, there are ways to get around those.

It is important to keep a constant watch on the security arrangement to identify the threat before it wrecks havoc on the system and passengers while evaluating new challenges.

Rogue Employees

The professor has raised an alert that system disruption could be an insider work. While the system is secured against the outside attacks, the same is not true if it comes to possible involvement of rogue workers. It could be frustration, bribe, threat or coercion to influence the rogue employees to get involved into the mischievous actions.

Financial institutions are the major targets for the cyber criminals whereas part of the transport system has not suffered such attacks because they still conform to the age-old technology.

Odd Behaviour

Graham Cluley, an independent security expert, has admitted that a switch to modern technology could make the railway network vulnerable to the cyber crimes.

If the railway authority is responsible, in any way, for injuries or death due to train accidents, it is important to seek help from the train accident attorneys in regards to compensation claims and other details.

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