A polish hacker found out why trains did stop working. The manufacterer implemented a hidden electronic switch, which automatically activated after trains were serviced by a different company.

  • skillissuer
    7 months ago

    it worked like this: public tenders for trains and its servicing are separate. at first, newag claimed that service documentation is their super secret IP and they can’t disclose it. european railway authority however basically said that no, fuck you, you as a manufacturer have to disclose it. so they did, it’s a 20k page thick book, and now other workshops (with all certs and so on) can compete in tender. while monopoly lasted, they could call whatever price they wanted and operators would pay anyway. smaller workshops just outcompeted them because they don’t have dozen c-suite to pay

    newag of course didn’t like it and there comes the fuckery. what they did, among others, is they put logic that would prevent DC-AC converters from turning on if train spends 10d+ in one of hardcoded areas, these places being competing workshops. another mysterious thing was gsm modem that could (possibly) brick train remotely in the same way. later corporate would just claim that no one else can fix these trains, call competition unqualified, and grab severely overpriced servicing contracts. that is, until somebody actually looked inside. mechanically and electrically train was fully working, but it was just locked by software

    i guess this will make some national and european regulators and agencies verry interested. here you have more technical details (article in polish) https://zaufanatrzeciastrona.pl/post/o-trzech-takich-co-zhakowali-prawdziwy-pociag-a-nawet-30-pociagow/ it will be also topic of a talk at 37C3