Polish Railways Hack Paralyzed Freight and Passenger Trains

September 26, 2023

INCIDENT

Poland's national railway’s communications network attack halted 20 trains across the country and paralyzed traffic for hours over the weekend, according to Poland’s railway infrastructure operator. The suspects, who are Polish citizens aged 24 and 29, were arrested near the border with Belarus. RMF radio reported that one of the suspects is allegedly a police officer in Bialystok. On Tuesday, Polish police announced the suspension of one of its officers in the area, but gave few additional details.

The saboteurs were able to paralyze the trains — both freight and passenger — across the country by simply sending “stop” commands via radio frequency to the trains they targeted. The attackers also played the Russian national anthem and parts of a speech by Russian president Vladimir Putin on the railway’s radio. Polish trains use a radio system that lacks encryption or authentication, making them vulnerable to such hacks.

Incident Date

August 26, 2023

Location

Poland

Estimated Cost

20 freight & passenger trains halted across the country and traffic paralyzed for hours over the weekend

Type of Malware

No Malware identified

Threat Source

No threat source identified