Hackers could shut down train lines: expert

A S-Bahn city train is seen on a platform at the main railway station Hauptbahnhof in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) – Hackers who have shut down websites by overwhelming them with Web traffic could use the same approach to shut down the computers that control train switching systems, a security expert said at a hacking conference in Berlin.

Stefan Katzenbeisser, professor at Technische Universität Darmstadt in Germany, said switching systems were at risk of "denial of service" attacks, which could cause long disruptions to rail services.

"Trains could not crash, but service could be disrupted for quite some time," Katzenbeisser told Reuters on the sidelines of the convention.

"Denial of service" campaigns are one of the simplest forms of cyber attack: hackers recruit large numbers of computers to overwhelm the targeted system with Internet traffic.

Hackers have used the approach to attack sites of government agencies around the world and sites of businesses.

Train switching systems, which enable..

Read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-rt-us-trains-securitytre7br0c5-20111228,0,6722706.story