Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Train Crash - Cyber Attack?

Prelude to a national transportation hack?


Several new reports add interesting elements to this catastrophe:

1)  Passengers on this train stated that, immediately before the train left the rails, they heard a large "Bang!", not further identified, although investigators found a large round break in the window of the locomotive [train engine].  In another train incident in New York, there was a similar report of a "bang" -- complete with broken window in the train engine.  
[Those windows are virtually unbreakable, and we understand the FBI is now investigating both incidents.]

Additional reports reveal that the conductor had slammed on the brakes attempting to stop the train after it inexplicably increased speed -- by computer.

The conductor was fully cooperative with investigators and voluntarily produced his cell phone and freely took a blood test.  He advised he could not explain how the train doubled its speed when he had attempted to slow the train as it approached the curve.

The Philadelphia mayor has condemned the conductor as the irresponsible cause of the crash. A Twitter campaign has been launched to destroy his reputation by calling him a "diversity" hire.

Looks like a set-up to press passage of the $2 Billion Congressional Bill for rail maintenance.  De Blasio has learned a new word "INFRASTRUCTURE" and came to DC to bolster his reputation as a knowledgeable idiot!

There are reportedly seven passengers dead, with hundreds more injured in this train wreck.

The train reportedly was going more than 100 mph in a sector limited to 50 mph because of the tight curve.

Interestingly, one of the passengers reported hearing a "large BANG!" just before the derailing, while two other Philadelphia trains suffered window damage at the same time as the Amtrak crash.  
[To answer the obvious question:  No! Kids throwing rocks at the train will not break the windows; they're shatterproof!  So, whatever struck the windows was likely significantly greater than a hand-thrown rock.  It's worth examining the windows to see if there are bullet holes -- but then, we must ask who fired those rounds (note the calls for "Congressional infrastructure funding" below.]

We suspect the cause will be attributed to driver error, although safeguards were put in  place to prevent a repeat of other, recent train crashes in which excessive speed was the cause -- attributed to operator error.

Oddly, a search of the Internet retrieves little information on recent train wrecks in the US, even all those oil train derailings of the Warran Buffett genre which have spilled millions of gallons of oil in rural, suburban, and urban areas throughout the US -- killing people, livestock, vegetation, and polluting water supplies and creating environmental hazards through the massive oil fires.

Gosh, is the Media censoring itself?
The Media says I'm a Nice Guy!

Or, is that genial old gent, Warren Buffett, exercising his control over the Media since he is so well connected in the Media world, and in the railroad world, and in the infrastructure world, and in the energy sector  -- well, by golly, what ISN'T he controlling these days.  

And we thought the Rockefellers were powerful.

But, we digress.

We note the difficulty in finding details of a recent train wreck [to which we can no longer find a reference on the Internet], in which the operator supposedly fell asleep at the controls, and the train derailed due to excessive speed, killing and maiming passengers.

Such are highly unusual accidents since the computer systems are structured to monitor and control speeds at risky spots which are programmed into the rail routing process.  Even if the operator dies of a heart attack, the computer will respond appropriately if disaster looms.

That is, unless the computer system is hacked.

We expect to hear from the feds that this derailment was caused by terrorists, but that would imply that the terrorists can easily derail a US train, passenger or cargo - and that could derail the entire rail industry, and lower Buffett's profits.  So, the feds will crucify the operator and accuse him of being a cardiac victim, a drunk, a drug-user, or, an incompetent.  We suspect, however, the operator[s] are/were completely competent, and expert enough to know better than to drive 100 mph in a 50 mph zone consisting of a tight curve.

So, we drop back to the explanation that the computer system managing rail traffic was hacked.
By whom, we're unsure, although we have our suspicions, and we'll advise you once we have more information.

Hacks are more powerful than bombs
But, keep in mind, that if the rail system computers can be hacked, so too can the air traffic control system, and local ground based vehicular traffic signaling as well.  

Don't forget, both Dulles and ORD were hacked this past year,  creating havoc for the airlines, Air Traffic Controllers -- and tens of thousands of passengers.  

And, for good measure, our Administration is demanding that all new automobiles and trucks carry computer programs which can be controlled by "security" personnel -- to protect us from "terrorists"; of course, if terrorists hacked into that "security system", think of the havoc that could be wreaked causing millions of cars to spin out of control -- without regard to the drivers trying desperately to steer or slow their vehicles.

We're facing a challenge left open by the incompetence of this Administration which squandered a trillion dollars in 2009 and 2010 [under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act] which should have upgraded our infrastructure grids, to include our air/water/ground traffic control systems.  

Oddly enough, Mayor De Blasio, the only Communist mayor in the US, has declared that the rail infrastructure is 100 years or more old and is badly in need of repair; and Congress is pressing forward with another $2 Billion for such graft, er, repair.

Instead, all that money went to bogus companies owned by friends of Mr 0bama; and the US infrastructure has been collapsing ever since.