Electronic Warfare, Cyber ​​Attack or Sabotage? Train attack in Poland

(To Alessandro Rugolo)

It is recent news that between 25 and 26 August about twenty passenger and freight trains were blocked along their route.

We still can't say with certainty who did it, even if suspicions clearly point in one direction, but I'm more interested in understanding how this was possible, it's up to others to find the culprits.

Here it emerges from various newspapers that the trains were stopped by means of an emergency signal sent via radio in apparently analogue mode.

The means used is to send a radio signal which is received by the train and which is specifically designed for emergency cases, and so far so good.

However, it is less good to know that this signal is transmitted unencrypted, that no guarantee of origin is applied and that in the end anyone, with a transmitting device costing a few euros, can carry out an act of this kind, stopping a train and potentially causing possible accidents.

It seems that nothing serious happened in Poland but given the situation the competent authorities are also investigating possible sabotage.

One thing is certain, around 25 trains seem to have already been stopped using the same method throughout the country.

It should perhaps be considered that knowledge of the operating procedures of complex systems such as a nation's railway network should be protected in some way. 

So I wonder: could an "attack" of this kind be possible in Italy? I hope that someone is verifying and possibly taking the necessary measures.

To learn more:

- https://www.wired.com/story/poland-train-radio-stop-attack/

- https://apnews.com/article/poland-railway-disruptions-arrest-ffc639f1b97...

- https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/08/28/poland-hacking-trains-ru...

- https://tvpworld.com/72337089/poland-another-25-trains-stopped-by-unjust...