What is this signal?

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KD9DJC

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Ok, so I was tuning around looking for analogue voice signals, and I tuned across this. I've heard it before, but never knew what it was. After looking at sigidwiki, I concluded that it's possibly something to do with railroads. It almost sounds like MDC-1200, but being used as a pager or something I'm not that familiar with railroads and their radio systems. Here's a video of me receiving the signal with sdr# and an RTL-SDR. Feel free to skip parts because I didn't edit it.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bzibn8XTXFFgZk9pWmFmLVp4VEE/view
 

franks_ham

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Trains Vulnerable to Hacker Attacks: Researchers | SecurityWeek.Com

That's crazy that SCADA commands would go over the air like that. Someone with a little bit of knowledge of computers and radios can send a command burst to switch a track, etc.
This is false info. IT would take A LOT, hours of man and computer power, to actually do something so simple to the railroads here in the U.S. With the constant changing of equipment we do, it will never happen.

Regards,

-Frank C.
 

pinballwiz86

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This is false info. IT would take A LOT, hours of man and computer power, to actually do something so simple to the railroads here in the U.S. With the constant changing of equipment we do, it will never happen.

Regards,

-Frank C.
No, it was not false info. Yes, it wouldn't be easy to do thankfully. But it's never a good idea to have a false sense of security and underestimate people out there.

Regards.
 

alabamarailfan

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Even if you did manage to send a command to change a signal or turnout, there is logic in the field equipment that would not allow the operation to be performed. Otherwise, a simple mistake by a dispatcher could line two trains toward each other on the same track. Field equipment will not allow it.
 

pinballwiz86

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Even if you did manage to send a command to change a signal or turnout, there is logic in the field equipment that would not allow the operation to be performed. Otherwise, a simple mistake by a dispatcher could line two trains toward each other on the same track. Field equipment will not allow it.

Look. You can dislike the link I posted and think BNSF and whatever is foolproof. I will just say that is stupid thinking and call it a day. Let's just hope the people in charge, the people that matter, don't think that way and are actively protecting our infrastructure.
 

burner50

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It really has nothing to do with "BNSF and whatnot". It has to do with the equipment itself.


It is extremely common for the radio controlled equipment to either be physically unable to complete the required task, or get corrupted information.

At this point, the system being controlled says "screw it, I don't know what to do", and it simply doesn't do anything. It won't line any switches, and won't give a signal to a train. It requires human intervention, and there are special procedures in place for dealing with such a scenario.

The data isn't encrypted because safeguards are in place.

Source: I've held a Class 1, Class 6, and Class 8 licenses from the Federal Railroad Administration which legally allowed me to be a conductor or engineer on any diesel/electric freight train.
 

alabamarailfan

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Bingo! burner50 knows exactly what I was trying to say! Thank you for the input!

Is it perfect? Of course not, nothing is, but generally speaking, unless there is a fault with the equipment in the field, the equipment will not allow a dangerous operation to take place, regardless of what the dispatcher or even a hacker attempted to send it. This was the point I was trying to make.

Sadly, they could do a lot more damage by just finding a way to derail the train. :(
john
 
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