Newag is one of the leading companies among railway wagon manufacturers in Poland. Its Impuls series vehicles are used, among others, on: on the Koleje Dolnośląskie, PolRegio or Warsaw City Express Railway. In 2022, a series of errors occurred in these machines, causing them to be grounded.
The findings of Onet journalists show that there is a deeper meaning to this issue. An anonymous rail safety expert said so Behind the scenes there is a struggle to obtain huge amounts of money to maintain Impuls cars. Especially after the law allowed outside companies to do so regardless of Newag’s will.
Service technicians from SPS Mieczkowski from Bydgoszcz had so many problems repairing the trains that they hired hackers from the Dragon Sector group to determine the causes of the breakdowns. But they announced during the “Oh My H@ck” conference that they had discovered – as they claimed – the manufacturer’s interference in the car’s software.
The text shows that Newag was supposed to do precisely this so that the Impulse service contracts would be returned to it. The article stated that the manufacturer faced problems in servicing its trains.
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Hackers to help Newag train service technicians
– First, someone from Newag introduced the logic into the program that if the train stops for more than ten days, it will not move. Apparently someone thought that if a train was stationary, it should be checked by some service. However, these trains were also parked in the sheds of the railways in Lower Silesia. Someone from Newage rightly decided that this spoils the narrative about the inefficiency of the SPS, so a kind of “innovation” was introduced – said Michal Kowalczyk from Dragon Sector, who together with Sergius Bazanski and Jakub Stepniewicz published a report on this topic.
The hackers added that additional “security” had been detected in some vehicles, leading them to believe that “They will not move if they are located in a specific place in Poland“The list includes the halls of external service companies.
Newag strongly denies the hackers’ findings, and a company spokesperson said the company has already notified “the appropriate services” about the matter.
“According to the company’s knowledge and assessment, users of railway vehicles in Poland, guided mainly or exclusively by price, are increasingly entrusting the maintenance of railway vehicles to entities that do not have the appropriate competencies and knowledge necessary for the maintenance of modern railway vehicles. The company believes that this type of policy, which is unthinkable in Western European countries, may one day lead to a human tragedy in the form of a railway disaster.” – says part of Newage’s statement.
The Central Anti-Corruption Bureau responded to Oneh that the case was “well-known” and “very complex.”
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