Sunday, January 13, 2008

Teen hack tram network

A 14-year-old Polish teenager modified a TV remote control to change the track points of the tram system in the city of Lodz (Poland's second largest city). Derailing four vehicles and injuring more than twelve people.

Beside the techincal knowledge in building the device, the boy possess the Social Engineering skills by trespassing into the tram depots to gather information needed to build the device. It maybe a prank to modify the tram setting but kids with these skills could one day bring down the nation's infrastructure for his own benefit.

In the movie "Die Hard 4.0", which i watch several months ago, the hackers sabotages the nation's network of traffic signals, rail transport and air traffic control. Causing chaos on the roads. They even hack into the federal building systems and force the evacuation of numerous buildings with a false anthrax alarm. They also sabotages the nation's financial systems (Stock Exchange) causing panic to the whole nation. It maybe just a movie, but it is possible. Especially with Information Technology heavily integrated with the country's infrastucture nowadays.

I think educating the young on the correct values will be more effective against hacking than just blindly banning hacking tools (related blog "Banned "Hacking Tools"..."), which some countries are doing.

Related Report:
- Polish teen derails tram after hacking train network (The Register)

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