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Attacks/Breaches

Teenage Hacker Takes Over Polish Tram System

Boy operates public trams 'like a giant train set,' causing four derailments

A 14-year-old boy last week adapted a television remote control unit to take control of the switching systems on the public trams in the city of Lodz, Poland, causing four derailments.

According to a report, Polish police said the boy trespassed at tram depots in the city to gather information and the equipment needed to build the infra-red device.

"Questioned by police in the presence of a psychologist, the teenager testified he switched tram tracks three times, once causing a tram to jump the tracks," said the police statement. A search at the boy's home turned up the device he had used to switch tram tracks.

Miroslaw Micor, a spokesman for Lodz police, said: "He studied the trams and the tracks for a long time and then built a device that looked like a TV remote control and used it to maneuver the trams and the tracks.

"He had converted the television control into a device capable of controlling all the junctions on the line, and wrote in the pages of a school exercise book where the best junctions were to move trams around and what signals to change.

"He treated it like any other schoolboy might a giant train set, but it was lucky nobody was killed. Four trams were derailed, and others had to make emergency stops that left passengers hurt. He clearly did not think about the consequences of his actions."

The boy will face a special juvenile court on charges of endangering public safety, police said.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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