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Old 02-10-2019, 11:28 PM   #1261
HelloBostonHi
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Re: New Red and Orange Line Cars

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It's not just lawmakers. Lots of supposedly level-headed experts are losing their minds in spy hysteria claiming these things are trojan horses from a Cold War enemy. None can posit WHY a train car of workaday lemmings on their phones and single operators following a more or less world-generic rulebook are so worth a foreign power's time listening to. But they are awfully sure there's some sort of very serious listening going on.
They all seem to forget that they pretty much all carry around a phone made in China 24/7, work on computers manufactured in China, use wifi routers manufactured in China, etc that would all be 10 times easier to bug if they wanted. Its such a bunch of fear mongering media hype I really just can't stand it. And if they did bug a car and somehow managed to successfully transmit data out of it what would they get, a bunch of screeching and a mixture of gossip from everyday americans? No one is making top secret government deals on the Orange Line and if they were then the easiest way to spy on it would be to just sit on the orange line next to them... Hell I could probably mount a listening device on an existing OL train under a seat easier than them trying to bug the new ones.
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:43 AM   #1262
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Re: New Red and Orange Line Cars

This idiot legislator was just on WBZ-AM. The sticking point for him is that CRRC is government-owned and not one of the very small number of fully private enterprises now being allowed in the country (nevermind there was no such thing as a private Chinese corp. until about 25 years ago).

I suppose this guy has never shit his pants on an Airbus jet knowing the Germans, French, and Spaniards coulda/shoulda/woulda been listening to his every thought. Or ever driven a Volkswagen. Or ever taken Amtrak or mailed a letter for that matter, if he has any delusions that gov't-owned corporations don't exist here in the Land of The Free.
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:15 PM   #1263
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Re: New Red and Orange Line Cars

I think it is fair for people to be skeptical of the Chinese government. I think it is also fair for legislators to not be experts on such technical matters - if they were experts, they’d be wasted as legislators.
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:15 PM   #1264
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Re: New Red and Orange Line Cars

True story - I has a girlfriend once who had a traumatic brain injury and every now and then would start to spin off into a hypo-schizophrenic fugue and claim loudly and incessantly that the CIA was listening to her thoughts and using secret tape recorders to record all of our conversations.

It was a long time ago, she has gotten great help from a lot of great people and she's doing better now.

The moral of the story is, the CIA was not actually listening to her thoughts and tape recording all of our conversations.
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Old 02-13-2019, 11:57 AM   #1265
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Re: New Red and Orange Line Cars

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if they did bug a car and somehow managed to successfully transmit data out of it what would they get, a bunch of screeching and a mixture of gossip from everyday americans?
I would be less concerned with hiding transmitters and listening to conversations than inserting to code that messes with sensors and stops the cars from running. I do not know the level of extent of supply chain risk mngt the MBTA uses nor if its a worthwhile exploit, but I would say its a non zero risk with a potentially high impact.
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Old 02-13-2019, 12:37 PM   #1266
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Re: New Red and Orange Line Cars

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I would be less concerned with hiding transmitters and listening to conversations than inserting to code that messes with sensors and stops the cars from running. I do not know the level of extent of supply chain risk mngt the MBTA uses nor if its a worthwhile exploit, but I would say its a non zero risk with a potentially high impact.
To what end? What geopolitical advantage is there to gain by disrupting the morning commute in Boston?

That was a rhetorical question, please please please don't try to answer it.
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Old 02-13-2019, 01:45 PM   #1267
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Re: New Red and Orange Line Cars

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To what end? What geopolitical advantage is there to gain by disrupting the morning commute in Boston?

That was a rhetorical question, please please please don't try to answer it.
We hardly need the Chinese to disrupt the morning commute in Boston.

We have the MBTA!
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:52 PM   #1268
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Re: New Red and Orange Line Cars

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We hardly need the Chinese to disrupt the morning commute in Boston.
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:31 PM   #1269
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Re: New Red and Orange Line Cars

I mean if the trains are bugged, the smart thing to do is to feed it misinformation. They need to start looking at the positives.
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:38 PM   #1270
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Re: New Red and Orange Line Cars

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To what end? What geopolitical advantage is there to gain by disrupting the morning commute in Boston?

That was a rhetorical question, please please please don't try to answer it.
While rhetorical, your pompousness deserves a reply. I did not say it was likely, but if the Chinese were to do something, it would be the possibility to remotely shutoff components of your enemy's transportation network in time of war would have some value.
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:33 PM   #1271
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Re: New Red and Orange Line Cars

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While rhetorical, your pompousness deserves a reply. I did not say it was likely, but if the Chinese were to do something, it would be the possibility to remotely shutoff components of your enemy's transportation network in time of war would have some value.
Which...again, is stupidly easier and more lucrative to do with the commodity Lenovo server rack in the central ops building that handles dispatching and the commodity routers powering the walkie-talkie band for employees than it is trying to rig the embedded system on the train that has schematics documented to the nines and umpteen layers of fault tolerance. You could probably create a mildly chaos-inducing power outage like last week's by going for the commodities on a high-value backoffice target. But how many individual train cars could you realistically hope to knock offline at one time given the odds that a killswitch command could ever be received on every single train at the same time? Probably not much more than the average number of dead Red Line trains actively fucking up this current 4:00pm hour of today's rush.


This James Bond stuff was never an accurate picture of espionage...not even in the Cold War. *Soft* targets and ease of infiltration are the name of the game, not niches for proof-of-concept sake. The Soviets liked hacking the phone network. Putin's Russia likes to test the margins of website security. If we've got a reason to worry about the Chinese, it's that cell phone in your pocket and a whole lot of other cheap commodity electronics...not premium design-build engineering product.
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