Rail signal upgrade ‘could be hacked to cause crashes’

April 24, 2015

A hi-tech signalling system that will eventually control all of Britain’s trains could potentially be hacked to cause a serious crash, according to a scientist who advises the government.

Prof David Stupples told the BBC that plans to replace ageing signal lights with new computers could leave the rail network exposed to cyber-attacks.

UK tests of the European Rail Traffic Management System are under way.

Network Rail, which is in charge of the upgrade, acknowledges the threat.

“We know that the risk [of a cyber-attack] will increase as we continue to roll out digital technology across the network,” a spokesman told the BBC.

“We work closely with government, the security services, our partners and suppliers in the rail industry and external cybersecurity specialists to understand the threat to our systems and make sure we have the right controls in place.”

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