Forget emergency time tables and overcrowded carriages during rush hour – a bigger threat to commuters’ sanity and the UK’s railway network may well be cyber attacks. State-sponsored hackers have already been identified in the Network Rail system, though they are currently not actively influencing operations. However, they do have access to online information boards, signal computer systems, internal messages and even the trains themselves – and thus the chance to engineer further chaos and even major rail incidents.
Network Rail has given assurances that cybersecurity is a key part of its plan for introducing digital train control technology, but this development highlights the increasing risk posed by cyber crime to Britain’s national infrastructure – from nuclear power stations to electrical grids and the rail network which transports a vast number of us each day.
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