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MS London Tube crash: all is revealed

An insider sets us straight

Application security programs and practises

Letter It appears this week's London Tube crash outrage was not after all caused by spyware, or adware, or the Yahoo! toolbar, as we recklessly suggested.

Here are the facts from the horse's mouth, whose identity must remain a closely-guarded secret:

Hey there,

I worked on this project for most of its duration and can authoritatively state that the crash on the screen is nothing to do with spy ware or the yahoo toolbar :o).

The machines powering the screens are Wyse thin clients running a locked down configuration that only allows the logged on user to run IE and do nothing else. In addition these clients do not have Internet access so there's minimal exposure to nasties such as those mentioned above!

Another key feature of these Wyse clients is their ability to prevent writes to the on-board flash drive by making use of a cache that is discarded upon reboot... This means that even if spyware was able to get in it would simply take a reboot to put things back in order.

The likelihood is that this caching feature caused the IE crash... it's highly probable that the machine at Baker Street has been running for a good few weeks and that the cache has become full. Unfortunately, Wyse have admitted that these machines were never designed for 24/7 use and, as such, we're looking at approaches for the automatic reboot of the devices during engineering hours to workaround the issue in the article!

Gave me a chuckle when it landed in my inbox though, thanks :o)!

So there you have it. We're very pleased that a sharp-eyed El Reg reader was able to bring this matter to the attention of London Underground, which is evidently now working towards an improved, crash-free Tube for our children and our children's children. ®

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