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UK rail network hit by multiple cyber attacks - expert comments

July 2016 by Cesare Garlati, chief security strategist for the prpl Foundation

It has been revealed that the UK railway network was hit by at least four major cyber attacks in the last 12 months, according to British cybersecurity startup Darktrace who is responsible for defending the majority of the UK’s railway network. While it is still unclear who was behind the attacks, a hacker with access to the network could be able to change the behaviour of trains across the globe causing mayhem.The comments from Cesare Garlati, chief security strategist for the prpl Foundation, the open-source, community-driven, collaborative, non-profit foundation supporting the next gen connected devices industry.

"News such as this is the reason why prpl Foundation is on a mission to raise awareness on the potentially lethal consequences of cyber attacks directed at humanity via the very systems that we have come to depend on. This is especially true when we consider the billions of embedded connected devices - the so called "Internet of Things" - that is already a part of our world. With access to the computer systems, attackers are likely to scan for vulnerabilities and, more likely, to steal credentials, giving them the means to attack, as seen in the case of the Ukranian power grid attack. From railroads to aviation and automobiles, the history of man is littered with industries that had to learn the hard way before taking security and open standards seriously and making improvements. It’s now up to us to learn from history again and take the essential steps for securing the new frontier of connected systems."

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