They did DRM to a train.
In one of the coolest and more outrageous repair stories in quite some time, three white-hat hackers helped a regional rail company in southwest Poland unbrick a train that had been artificially rendered inoperable by the train’s manufacturer after an independent maintenance company worked on it. The train’s manufacturer is now threatening to sue the hackers who were hired by the independent repair company to fix it.
The fallout from the situation is currently roiling Polish infrastructure circles and the repair world, with the manufacturer of those trains denying bricking the trains despite ample evidence to the contrary. The manufacturer is also now demanding that the repaired trains immediately be removed from service because they have been “hacked,” and thus might now be unsafe, a claim they also cannot substantiate.
The situation is a heavy machinery example of something that happens across most categories of electronics, from phones, laptops, health devices, and wearables to tractors and, apparently, trains. In this case, NEWAG, the manufacturer of the Impuls family of trains, put code in the train’s control systems that prevented them from running if a GPS tracker detected that it spent a certain number of days in an independent repair company’s maintenance center, and also prevented it from running if certain components had been replaced without a manufacturer-approved serial number.