5th Annual WML Academic Symposium

Time: 1:30-1:50
Room: 312
Presenter: Charles D. Roberts
Title: Cyber Vulnerability of America's Railway Infrastructure
Developed under the guidance of Prof. Amanda Parker, Homeland Security

On April 22, 2007 the Track Line View dispatch system of Norfolk Southern Railroad was hacked by an 11-year-old boy, Matthew Spencer, who when questioned by authorities stated that he wanted to see the trains. As a result the entire signal system of Norfolk Southern was down for 42 hours. This caused disruptions in service and delays in trains due to having to issue manual track authorities and trains having to travel at reduced speeds over the system. The system that all railroads use including Norfolk Southern for dispatching and monitoring train movements is a DOS-based mainframe system; this system at the time had very low security and could be accessed by numerous different personnel from yard masters and conductors to train masters. To access the system it required only a four-digit PIN.