Sobig Virus Strikes CSX Train Signalling System

Event Year: 2003 Reliability: Confirmed
Country: United States
Industry Type: Transportation

The Sobig computer virus was blamed for shutting down train signaling systems throughout the East coast of the US. The virus infected the computer system at CSX Corp.‘s Jacksonville, Fla., headquarters, shutting down signaling, dispatching and other systems at about 1:15 a.m. EDT, CSX spokesman Adam Hollingsworth said (#2).


The Sobig infection resulted in a slowdown of major applications, including dispatching and signal systems. As a result, passenger and freight train traffic was halted immediately, including the morning commuter train service in the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area. The virus disrupted the CSXT telecommunications network upon which certain systems rely, including signal, dispatching and other operating systems. (#1)

According to Amtrak spokesman Dan Stessel, ten Amtrak trains were affected in the morning. Trains between Pittsburgh and Florence, S.C. were halted because of dark signals and one regional Amtrak train from Richmond, Va., to Washington and New York was delayed for more than two hours. Long-distance trains were delayed between four and six hours.

There were some residual delays in Amtrak service from Washington to Richmond, Va., and points south,  ``Most of the delays are in the 15 to 30-minute range on trains that travel through CSX territory,’’ Stessel said. (#2)

Action Description: "CSX will work to protect its computer systems from further intrusion", Hollingsworth said. (#2)