A report published in The Register says that Russian hackers claimed to have found out flaws in rail networks which allow crooks to hijack and derailment.
The flaws reportedly affect various systems including mobile communication and interlocking platforms that control braking and help prevent collisions.
“Industrial control specialist hackers Sergey Gordeychik, Aleksandr Timorin, and Gleb Gritsai did not describe the bugs in detail, since that would allow others to replicate the attacks nor reveal the names of the affected rail operators,” the report reads.
According to the report, "If somebody can attack the modem, the modem can attack the automatic train control system, and they can control the train," Gordeychik says
So, there is a danger as the flaws expose physical systems like power grids, dams, and trains to unauthorized external modification in ways largely unknown to those outside of the security industry.
It is said that human programming errors were responsible for various remote code execution holes which could affect interlocking systems.
“We are releasing the list to force vendors to not use hardcoded and default passwords," an irritated Gordeychik says.
The Register report says that the attack vectors against computer-based interlocking include attacks against workstation, attacks against networking gateways that connect interlocking to the rest of the world, and communications between CPU and object controllers and wayside devices.