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Newag Impuls trains did not want to start. Hackers point to the manufacturer, and the manufacturer points to the hackers

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Perhaps this scandal would never have seen the light of day if it weren't for the hackers from the Dragon Sector group. They helped helpless carriers and the company servicing Impuls trains, manufactured by Newag. There were locks in their software – so that the trains would crash, but only in certain places. Newag representatives do not admit to sabotage and suggest that hackers are to blame.

Problems with the trains occurred not while driving, but during routine servicing. After eliminating the faults during comprehensive inspections at the Rail Vehicle Service in Inowrocław, they could not be started – service employees told the reporter “Black and white” Olga Orzechowska.

SEE MORE: “Controlled breakdown” – “Black and white” reportage only on TVN24 GO

– We went through the entire installation several times, all controllers and so on, all connections, we wanted to run these vehicles at all costs – says Piotr Strzelewicz from the Rail Vehicle Service in Inowrocław.

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– After applying power with the transmitter, it was the equivalent of gas in a car, the vehicle did not move – says Marcin Marcinkowski, president of the Rail Vehicle Service.

The website was to lose millions and gain a bad reputation

This was the case for several months with subsequent serviced trains. Time was running out because the owner of the trains – Koleje Dolnośląskie – was running out of patience. The website was in danger of losing millions and gaining a bad reputation on the market.

– The entire hall of vehicles is packed with “yellow” cars. I simply couldn't stand the pressure anymore, I said it was over, it was over for us. We worked so hard here, we somehow made money, and now we will fail on these vehicles – says Piotr Mieczkowski, owner of the Rail Vehicle Service.

It was suspected that the problem that none of the employees could solve was related to the software. Therefore, it was decided to act unconventionally.

One of the best hacking groups in the world was asked for help

– We came up with an idea, I don't remember exactly how it was, whether it was unanimous: or maybe some hacker – says Monika Mieczkowska, marketing specialist from the Rail Vehicle Service. Some of the best in the world were selected from Dragon Sector.

– Our main task was to analyze why this train did not want to spin its wheels. The main suspicion was that something was wrong with the main processor controlling the train – says Jakub Stępniewicz from the Dragon Sector group.

It wasn't easy, but they managed to detect malware and blockades in the trains, which, as it turned out, disabled the trains on services other than the train manufacturer's website.

Russian group Cold River is described as “one of the most important hacker groups”Reuters Archive

SEE ALSO: Thousands of interventions. This is how Russia attacked the European railways

– I started entering subsequent coordinates found in the code in Google Maps, and Newag's competition workshops popped up – says Michał Kowalczyk from the Dragon Sector group.

– It was immediately obvious that this was some serious matter, done from the outside – says Mieczkowski. However, the question by whom remains unanswered.

The Internal Security Agency and the prosecutor's office are investigating the case

The market for the renovation of such trains amounts to hundreds of millions of zlotys annually. The parliamentary team tried to solve the mystery.

– Are there any functions in the train software you produce that depend on geographical coordinates and the place where the train is located? – asked Janusz Cieszyński, former Minister of Digital Affairs from Law and Justice. – I have to disappoint the MP, I simply don't know – replied Zbigniew Konieczek, president of Newag.

– Have you, as Newag, introduced such solutions into the system, into the train software? – No, under no circumstances. We have not made any modifications of this nature, any changes or such functions – said Józef Michalik, vice-president of Newag.

SEE ALSO: Increased threat of cyberattacks in Poland. There is a message

Newag suggests that hackers are to blame. – Documentation has been secured, IT media have been secured, and the data obtained in this way is currently being analyzed – informs Katarzyna Duda from the Regional Prosecutor's Office in Krakow.

The Internal Security Agency and the prosecutor's office are trying to determine who caused the trains that stopped at Newag's competitor's services to be unable to move.

Main photo source: TVN



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