Breaking "DRM" in Polish trains

Reverse engineering a train to analyze a suspicious malfunction

Redford, q3k and MrTick

Playlists: '37c3' videos starting here / audio

We've all been there: the trains you're servicing for a customer suddenly brick themselves and the manufacturer claims that's because you've interfered with a security system.

This talk will tell the story of a series of Polish EMUs (Electric Multiple Unit) that all refused to move a few days after arriving at an “unauthorized” service company. We'll go over how a train control system actually works, how we reverse-engineered one and what sort of magical “security” systems we actually found inside of it.

Reality sometimes is stranger than the wildest CTF task. Reality sometimes is running `` on a dozen trains.

The talk will be a mix of technical and non-technical aspects of analysis which should be understandable for anyone with a technical background. We’ll briefly explain how modern EMUs look like inside, how the Train Control & Monitoring System works, and how to analyze TriCore machine code.


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