Cyber Attack May Be To Blame For Deadly Amtrak Crash: “It’s Unclear Whether the Speed Was Increased Manually”

by | May 15, 2015 | Headline News | 91 comments

Do you LOVE America?



    The Amtrak crash earlier this week that left eight people dead and scores injured remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

    According to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter there is no rational reason for why the train would have sped up to 106 miles per hour in the immediate seconds preceding the crash.

    “I don’t think that any commonsense, rational person would think that it was OK to travel at that level of speed knowing that there was a pretty significant restriction on how fast you could go through that turn.”

    Board member Robert Sumwalt said it’s unclear whether the speed was increased manually by engineer Brandon Bostian.

    Brandon Bostian, the engineer in the cab of the Amtrak engine at the time of the incident was reportedly not using his cell phone, not drinking, and not under the influence of narcotics.

    “He remembers coming into the curve. He remembers attempting to reduce speed and thereafter he was knocked out,” said Goggin. He said Bostian’s cellphone was off and stored in his bag before the accident, as required. Goggin said that his client “cooperated fully” with police and told them “everything that he knew,” immediately consenting to a blood test and surrendering his cellphone.

    Bostian’s friend Jason Ksepka told Action News, “He was always just a very nice guy. He was always looking to help people and be part of a supportive group and supportive community.”

    Amtrak says that the new high-tech engine had been put into service a year ago. The speed of the engine can be controlled manually by a throttle lever and requires the engineer to push a red button several times every  minute to confirm they are paying attention or else it goes into an emergency shutdown mode.

    By all accounts thus far, Bostian did not manually increase the speed of the train, leaving only two possibilities.

    Either the train engine’s modern computing equipment malfunctioned.

    Or its network was compromised by a cyber attack.

    In fact, just a few weeks ago cyber security expert David Stupples warned that a “nasty” accident was just waiting to happen as more digital train control systems come online:

    But Prof Stupples – an expert in networked electronic and radio systems at City University in London – said if someone hacked into the system they could cause a “nasty accident” or “major disruption”.

    “It’s the clever malware [malicious software] that actually alters the way the train will respond,” he explained.

    “So, it will perhaps tell the system the train is slowing down, when it’s speeding up.”

    To be clear, there is as of yet no evidence that the train’s computer systems were hacked or that terrorism is to blame, a statement currently backed up by law enforcement officials:

    A U.S. law enforcement official told CNN that so far, there is nothing to indicate the incident was an act of terrorism.

    Whether this was a deliberate act remains to be seen, but given that the government is often hard-pressed to admit terrorism – think Benghazi and the Fort Hood shootings – a cover up with Bostian as the convenient scapegoat is not out of the question.

    Moreover, as evidence of just how susceptible modern, high-tech train systems are to computer “malfunctions,” consider that just a couple of weeks ago in Mexico a similarly advanced train rear-ended another that had been stopped at a platform. That collision left 12 people injured with witnesses claiming it had sounded bigger than thunder at the time of impact.

    While we can’t completely eliminate human error as a possibility, Brandon Bostian is reportedly well trained, has no mental issues that we know of, and was not in any way distracted at the time of the accident.

    For Amtrak or the government to admit a cyber attack is or could be responsible would certainly send panic across the country for the millions of commuters who use public railways.

    But as has been demonstrated in the last several years, pretty much anything with a networked computer system is susceptible to hacking.

    747 passenger airlines, for example, have been found to be susceptible to having their engine control systems hacked via passenger entertainment consoles:

    It appears, however unlikely it sounds, as if it may be possible to hack into the engine-control systems of some Boeing 747s through the passenger-accessible entertainment system.

    NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories reportedly had 23 of their spacecraft hacked recently:

    [Hackers] gained full system access in November 2011, allowing them to upload hacking tools to steal user IDs and control Nasa systems, as well as copy sensitive files.

    According to security specialists, hackers have compromised everything from the Pentagon’s military systems and President Barack Obama’s emails, to oil refineries and watery utility plants.

    The threat is real and with Amtrak’s latest train engine systems being highly advanced on a technical level, it is quite possible that a cyber attack of some kind if to blame.

    We’ve previously reported that America’s transportation systems are not secure and would serve as an optimal target for rogue or foreign hackers, as the fall out from such an attack could literally paralyze the entire country for days or weeks.

    Can you imagine the panic it would cause across the nation if the public were to find out that cyber attackers were responsible for the Amtrak crash?


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      1. Q: “Can you imagine the panic it would cause across the nation if the public were to find out that cyber attackers were responsible for the Amtrak crash?”

        I hope it panics the California Liberal Politicians enough to stop funding the high speed rail between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

        And to redirect those funds to increase the water supply for the mega-drought instead.

        • My guess? This guy’s blood tests positive for alcohol/drugs. I’m sure they drew it at the hospital.
          We’ll see……..

            • Werewolves of London again.

              • It was the Russians. Or the Chinese. Maybe ISIS or Iran. They hate US for our Freedoms. 🙁

                • Lol

                • Israeli Government Anti-Semitism Conference Endorses Internet Censorship
                  The Jerusalem Post (Israel)

                  A government-convened international conference on anti-Semitism in Jerusalem on Thursday issued an action plan calling for Internet censorship as a remedy for anti-Jewish sentiment. Recommendations coming out of the three-day meeting included the scrubbing of Holocaust denial websites from the Internet and the omission of “hate websites and content” from web searches. Convened by the Foreign Ministry and the Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs Ministry, the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism (GFCA) is a biennial gathering bringing together Jewish community leaders, civil society representatives and diplomats to discuss ways to grapple rising levels of anti-Jewish prejudice.

                  • Well jqp, if that goes through, looks like you’ll have nothing left to live for does it.

                    • One can only hope !

            • Mac Slavo: “To be clear, there is as of yet no evidence that the train’s computer systems were hacked or that terrorism is to blame … but given that the government is often hard-pressed to admit terrorism….”

              Thanks Mac for laying out the dilemma.

              I’m usually one of those wait-and-see folks who want to see arguments and evidence that’s “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

              At the same time, the government officials are worried about how much to disclose the real truth to the general public, fearing that honest actual truth-telling disclosure would engender a mass panic with serious financial consequences (assuming that they can find and do have and know the real causes and origins of a disaster).

              Reminds me of one of my favorite movies where Jack Nicholson bellows out: “You can’t handle the truth!”

              Of course, as played out in the movie, the truth came out and Jack Nicholson’s character was taken to the brig for hiding the truth.

              • I’m at a mental loss here. A hacker could speed the train up but the train had no safeguards to slow it down? Apparently the instrumentation / control system has the ability to accept commands from a remote source and there are no protocol interlocks incorporated? Hell, a software program would be all that it needed not requiring multi millions. oops I forgot to include graft in the estimate. Make that billions, aka Boss Tweed.

                • K2
                  The guy pulled the break to try and slow down the train, but it was too late. This was on the news last night.

                  • Sarge, I would say the engineeer is in the clear and my money is on a POS hacker causing this. 8 people were killed on that train so the hacker needs to be found and given 2 bullets to the head.

                    • Speaking of the latest misdirection is that the train was shot at…I can see it now…problem…reaction…solution for our guns.

                    • Government are the ones who have the ability to hack, or facilitate their privateers to hack locomotive computers. We’ve seen them and their obliging mainstream media ready to come out immediately after this wreck, hysterically and theatrically fomenting clamors from the compliant and government-dependent public for more unnecessary subsidy for government-owned and operated AMTRAK and disastrous re-regulation of the otherwise privately-owned and operated railroad system in America.

                    • No. two .22 rimfire bullets to the abdomen, after which he is staked out on an ant-hill, Comanche fashion.

                      Frankly I don’t have any respect at all for the aboriginal tribes that inhabited this continent before we got here, but you gotta give ’em credit for understanding how to do torture on a tight budget.

            • Then I stand corrected. Thx for info.

            • Mac, if this proves to be a cyber attack, I can imagine the chaos that would ensue. I once spent a month in the Northeast back in the late 70s and I can testify to how dependent people who work in NY but live outside of it are for those trains. The chaos would be unimaginable; out of this world. electronics are truly our Achilles heel.

          • It clearly states in the article that the engineer was NOT on drugs nor was he intoxicated…I suggest you read the article in it’s entirety BEFORE you make accusations, Old Gringo!

          • I went to an train accident investigation school a number of years ago and was shocked st see how basic and simple driving a train was. I expected it to look like a cockpit in an air plane but it was the total opposite.

            There were three things the engineer had to do.
            1. pull the chord that sounds the horn.
            2. push the button that is the “dead man switch” at least once every 60 seconds or the train would automatically stop.
            3. the control lever had 0 to 8 and reverse 0 – 8. That was it. nothing else.

            If this engineer is truly a victim rather than a reckless engineer, I wonder about the “rock or gun shot” that hit the window before the crash.

            The train may have been attacked in an attempt to disable the engineer so he could not stop the train. His “could not remember” may have been because the engineer was knocked out.


        • If they try to fix the water problem, all that will happen is more water waste would take place causing even more shortage. Each time I walk through sidewalks, I see water shooting out of people water sprinklers on the streets and running down alongside the curve every day and people know that we have shortage. Where I live the city announced that the will give a $500.00 ticket to anybody caught wasting water or I think even washing their car or something like that. But it does not look like they are enforcing it. Now you do something about the highjacking the water payment rate and watch them quickly adjust their vile attitudes.

        • X2 on that! Having 39 million people rely on a water system designed to serve around 15 million is EPIC BULLSHIT! Auburn dam, as well as the long list of other water service expansion products sent down in flames should have been built 30 years ago! Fuck the EPA and double fuck the CARB/CAFE! ALL THE ENVIRO-HYPE is just wealth theft from working class to pay extortion to the wealthiest elites and their scam corporations…

        • In a story that lost coverage because of this crash, the ISIS cyber folks the day before announced that it would launch a cyber attack that would scare Americans – I think this happened either the next day or 2 days later.

      2. Not to mention a Wells Fargo exec was on board…hmm, another offing?

        • Be a kind of spectacular way to do it, but one that would divert from the fact it was done by the sheer magnitude of “collateral damage”.

          • Victor…
            They have no qualms about collateral damage to get at a individual/s. Malaysia flight 370 should provide you with an example…

        • Wasn’t there another train derailment/crash where three bank employees were killed?

          I read something, somewhere just can’t recall where.

        • Pretty unlikely way to get rid of some CEO, don’t you think, considering there is absolutely no guarantee the train wreck, if it does occur, will actually kill the guy.

          What are ‘they’ going to do, derail three or four trains until the guy finally gets killed?

      3. Too much tech is not a good thing!!
        I like old school things the best, no hacking, no glitches ect. I don’t trust a lot of all the new computer driven transportation at all. I know somemone that has one of those new cars that brake when your too close for the computer and it almost got him in a head on collision the other day when it locked it’s brakes up while he was passing a car that was going 20 under the speed limit. Crazy times we live in.

        • Wonder if Michael Hastings was having similar thoughts in the last few seconds of his life?

          Or maybe it was just his way to avoid admitting he didn’t have all that secret information he was getting ready to reveal that government black ops agent types were desperate to keep secret, after all none of it ever surfaced in investigation after his accident.

        • Probably were given Moochele’s rendition of school lunches.

          • Good one!

            • Now THAT’s funny…and not…

          • I think you’re onto something here!

            It’s been a while since we had a “poison in the mail” false flag.

      4. Hope the individual was not texting or smoking pot? This is a to common event lately. Get it to gether all. The BOX does not change the facts. With all respect intended.

      5. Off topic…

        Dissecting the April jobs report

        “while the headline screamed about 223,000 new jobs created, it never mentioned that LAST MONTH’S JOBS FIGURE WAS REVISED DOWNWARD by more than 30 PERCENT. Yes, I said 30 percent from 126,000 new jobs to 85,000.”

        “How did the government arrive at that figure of 223,000 new jobs created? It was composed of 252,000 full-time jobs lost and 437,000 part-time jobs gained.

        Did you know that? Of course not. Because the media never reported it. Tell me what’s good news about 252,000 full-time jobs being eliminated, while they are replaced by 440,000 horrible low-wage, part-time jobs (the kind that cannot feed a traditional family without food stamps)?”

        “By the way, those 252,000 full-time jobs lost were the biggest drop in full-time jobs in a year. How is this reported as “good news?” How is this reported as proof of a “recovery?”

        Why aren’t the media reporting we have an economic disaster on our hands? Why isn’t it the story of the year that the prospects of getting a full-time job have declined dramatically from one year ago?”

        Also not mentioned is the “record low for Americans not in the labor force? Some 93,194,000 of our fellow citizens of working age are not working. That’s the record for the most-ever not working.”

        • Major jobs revision down yet the S&P 500 closed in record territory.

      6. I was thinking the same thing last night about a cyber attack. Even if it was we will never know they will blame it on the engineer.

        If it was a cyber attack and people found out about it can you imagine how much chaos this would cause.

        Now they want to have driverless cars. Other words when they are hacked they would be Bumper Cars. I loved them when I was a kid.

        • Could be like that dude that struck a tree and burned up in California a year ago. They said his car might of been hacked and accelerated by itself.

      7. ever see what a runaway diesel can do?

        go look up “runaway diesel” on the Utube

        now imagine that huge diesel -coupled to an electric motor .. going haywire ..

        yep its possible, im not saying this is it.. but Ive had industrial Diesels run away in my presence , and its fuckin scary as hell

        going from 70 MPH to 100 or more in a flat minuet?.. very dam easy

      8. O/T
        just had to post it

        im sure someone will use it soon

        Marbury vs.Madison 1803 “A Law repugnant to the constitution is void.”

        • Doesn’t do much good unless the Court sees it the same way as you do.

          And they usually don’t, the opposite in fact.

          • Aware

        • I think that has since changed. Obama V Madison 2009 “The Constitution is repugnant and is void to his law.”

        • Maybe in the old America it was. Not anymore as the Mandarins now control everything.

      9. Denzel Washington’ movie. ‘Unstoppable’.

        Watch it!!

        • I was thinking of that movie too! It was a terrific movie with both Denzel and Chris Pine, the Captain Kirk of the new series of Star Trek movies.

          Wasn’t a cyber attack though.

        • Great movie….

      10. This is something I’ve been wondering about in the back of my mind since it happened (but not enough to be the first to mention it and brand myself as a paranoid tinfoil hatter).

        The first thing I thought when I heard the engineer was going over a hundred miles an hour when it hit the curve was to wonder if he was yelling “Allahu Akbar” as he went into the curve (and there is no reason to think that is the case, it was just because of that alleged -but phony- cyber attack threat on Monday was still fresh on my mind).

        Maybe I’m just paranoid, or maybe just reading sites like this too much, these things don’t actually happen in the real world.

      11. Live by technology…
        ….die by technology.

        Just wait till the bicycle goes mandatory hi-tech.

        Live Free or Die…giddie up Bessie

      12. Live by technology… ….die by technology.

        Just wait till the bicycle goes mandatory hi-tech.

        Live Free or Die…giddie up Bessie

      13. hey there’s some shit in the game..if they can control these new cars cyberly( and that my friends HAS been proven) why not a train engine?

        • and two separate train crashes like a day apart, in close proximity to each other .. maybe a new toy is being tested

          • DARPA

            • FUBAR

              • SNAFU

                • PATRIOT

                  • KOMMIES
                    Inside and Out

                • B.O.H.I.C.A!

          • maybe it was Jethro Tull

            Locomotive Breath

            In the shuffling madness
            of the locomotive breath,
            runs the all-time loser,
            headlong to his death.
            He feels the piston scraping
            steam breaking on his brow
            old Charlie stole the handle and
            the train won’t stop going
            no way to slow down.

        • Enemy:
          I have a friend that just retired from the Rail Road, I won’t say which one, but he said that he is worried about trains being cyber attacked or a computer crash.
          They have safeties on the engines that can shut them down , but guess what they are run by computers.
          They also have a kill switch that will stop the engine from running, but how long does it take to stop a fully loaded freight train to stop???
          I have always been worried about a terrorist attack coming from the use of the trains.
          Just think about a train loaded with toxic or highly flammable chemicals blowing up or derailing on an overpass on any major Interstate highway or on a bridge crossing the Mississippi, Ohio or any other river.
          So anything is possible and any computer can be hacked at anytime. That’s why the military< I think its the Air Force that have a special unit that is all they do is monitor the Net for cyber attack.
          Bruce Wills was in a move that some dud hacked every thing in New York, I don't remember the name of that movie, but TSHTF big time.
          These Da$% computers are going to be the down fall that starts he crash of the world.
          Here in the hospital that I work at you can hardly run the boiler room by hand anymore because of those DA$& computer and it has bit us in the back side a couple of times.
          S.T.S.F.P. N. Reb

          • Practically all chip sets used in computers are made in China, Japan or Korea. Just build in a trap door. This has actually happened on a Navy cruiser. Every year thousands of new PCs are delivered to Navy ships all containing chip sets made in those countries. Since China is such a friend of ours nothing to worry about.

        • talon, enemy

          Exactly, and why do you think that instantly they are out there clamoring for this “positive train control” or whatever it’s called. I imagine though, that is just a fancy name for computer controlled train tech. That way tptb can control it, and anytime a hacker (gov or otherwise) wants to they can as well. The gov’t wants control over everything at the push of a button, they want the trains, planes, and automobiles, they want your home security cameras, and TV’s, internet accessible garge doors and door locks, etc. etc. etc. I can’t for the life of me understand why people don’t think ahead when they put all this tech in their homes. I for one would never own a self driving car or self parking or any with all the coputer assisted features. Though in the future (if we make it that long) I fear we won’t have the choice. In closing though, I have a feeling this is not the last we’ll hear about a train incident, I feel like they have an agenda now and if this one doesn’t solve it they’ll make sure something else in the future does.

      14. I think a hacker attack is very possible and very likely. The NTSB will NEVER release any findings that this may have been what happened though. Our government WANTS an all electronic society so that they can control and monitor everything we do. Electronic banking, smart meters on your utilities, NSA monitoring of phones, computer networks and all aspects of everything you do. We are living in an age that unless you live under a rock, use only cash or barter and have no electronics or utilities and stay away from all means of video survalliance, YOU ARE MONITORED BY BIG BROTHER.

        • However, if anyone goes off grid to avoid monitoring and detection, the State will hunt you down with extreme prejudice!

        • Texasprepper…
          The only item in your post I would contend with is this. In 1871 the government of the United States of America dissolved and in its place…”the corporation” replaced it. By the 1913 act of treason by Woody Wilson put the wheels in motion and Congrease went right along with it. The country that EOTS spoke of in 1803 ceased to exist. If we are ever to return to a place we can call our government and our country…you fill in the solution…

          Live Free or Die…in the land of your birth

          • Boy you got that right .. I knew someone would pick up on that

        • Either a hacker caused the accident or the engineer forgot about that 50 MPH curve until the last few seconds. The typical speed past that 50 MPH curve goes up to over 100 MPH. The engineer had run that route for only 3 weeks and it was after dark by the time he got to that area so he may not have been very familiar with after-dark landmarks to know precisely where he was at. Thus far, drug tests and mental issues appear to be non-existent.

        • tex

          Yep!! like talon said above. Live by tech, die by tech. Big brother is here, and we are doing most the heavy lifting for him by putting these cameras in our homes, buying all these self parking smart sensor driving yada yada cars. We have gotten so close to absolute surveillance within just the last 15 years it’s mindblowing. I thought it would have taken longer, but when I look around and I see all the sheep just glued face down to their phones like androids. I don’t even know what else to say but God help us. How did we get this far

      15. My friend just finished up in airplane repair business. Only a couple of companies are legally allowed to repair the large aircraft equipment. The one he worked operated internally totally fly-by-night. It paid just over 1/2 what similar engineers make (though was in Florida). And the mgt had zero engineering capability.

        There is little doubt in my mind this was a software or hardware error. I’ve done many projects. Today almost EVERY project is “agile”, git-her-done, no time to plan. Even the largest techs (like Google and others) seem to just ship it and let the users find the bugs. I would strongly suggest this is a “bug” and not a hacker. Its actually amazing this sort of thing happens so infrequently. But be prepared for it to become common-place. Tech society built on thrown-together tech where 1/2 of the practitioners are self-taught and, in my experience, 95% of the managers have ZERO relevant education but still insist on making technology decisions.

        • It’s like the boss in Dilbert telling him that his computer code had too many semicolons in it.

      16. Michael Hastings

      17. Friend recently quit airline repair industry. Its even worse. He constantly told me he couldn’t believe accidents weren’t happening every day. Only a couple of companies licensed to repair the big stuff and they are shoddy. I’ve seen it almost continually in tech consulting: managers with 95% of them have no engineering training nor even computer science but regularly make tech decisions involving critical operations, big dollars, and even lives.

      18. This cyber train wreck is just another peice of the puzzle…

      19. Unarmed Brendon Glenn shot & killed by LAPD, body cameras magically turn off.

        Magically .. isnt that so great?

        • Or, maybe their batteries were dead from being on all shift? Body camera batteries do NOT last a full 8, 10 or 12 hour shift yet. When you are on calls all the time, batteries in cameras, flashlights and radios often fail because of the needs of the public. Dirty little secret of law enforcement.
          Or, it could be a mystical magical conspiracy that these officers all conspired to murder the “innocent unarmed Brendon Glenn?” I’m sure that no qualified answer will satisfy those seeking to quantify and qualify their own personal agendas and pet theories.

      20. Too many gadgets in the home,car,plane,wherever. Imagine the chaos when the electricity goes off or a major EMP. We should work on manual backup to everything electric in our homes. I think its a matter of time when we will experience a man made EMP.

      21. The engine in the Amtrak crash was manufactured by Siemens in Sacramento CA. Remember the Stuxnet virus (created by CIA and Mossad) that was used to infect Iran’s Siemens controllers and ruin the centrifuges they operated? Some say that is why the operators at Fukushima lost control of the reactors (their instruments were working, but the controls were not responding). If the Siemens controllers are designed to be accessed by a Web interface, any script-kid in Tel Aviv can be an industrial terrorist. So much for the “Internet of Things”.

        Industryweek reported this was the first of 70 locomotives for the Northeast corridor rolled out from the Siemens factory.

      22. Waiting for the ISIS cyber boogyman to take credit…….. Wait disnt they threaten to do cyber shit last week?

      23. Latest I’ve heard is that they had an automatic speed control system installed on the train but. apparently, no one ever thought to actually turn it on.

        Well, ……….. It *is* a government run operation.

      24. Rumor has it that an eye witness seen George Bush jump off the train right before it jumped the tracks. So maybe they can blame George for one more thing.

      25. Rumor has it that someone seen George Bush jump from the train right before it left the tracks. Just one more thing they can blame George for.

      26. One way or another it was a digital failure. But these won’t ever fail. A new healthcare system rollout, driverless cars, DARPA’s self determining killer robot, computer controlled nuclear plants, computer controlled airplanes….digital currency, automatic debits, the electric grid. Need an Update? You have got to ask why?

      27. Regardless of cause, I find it difficult if not impossible to comprehend how the train could have increased it’s speed that much and the engineer not known about it. Somebody isn’t teling the truth.

        • Hmmmmmmm, me too.

        • I say the engineer did it. No way however to prove it if the manual control settings are not recorded. Years ago people operating mass transit and committing suicide while doing so just were not even an issue. Welcome to modern times. Me, me, me! It’s all about me! And how unhappy I am.

      28. Amtrak prides itself on it’s extremely “diverse” work environment. Nuff said. This white guy who conducted the train looks like an oil driller or a former/currentt drug user. Good thing we have the Jews Media to thank for corrupting our entire nation through it’s daily fear news shows, pornography, jewlywood, rap “music”, and every other degenerate art form the hook noses propagate.

        The real kicker is I was raised Jewish and am sick of all this kike shit. What does that tell you goyim? You ready to open your eyes yet?

      29. Can you imagine the rightful outrage is should cause the public if the police admit that it was government sabotage of AMTRAK’s government train for the purpose of waving it (as has been done) as a bloody shirt to foment more knee-jerk clamors from a compliant public for more unnecessary government subsidy and regulation that all but destroyed railroading in the early Twentieth Century?

      30. I could be Hackers from China, maybe Russia, I know terrorists from ISIS and never a plain old insurance job or the government trying to push past some new BS rules to make us all ho so safe.

        Don’t ask me why but building often start to catch fire during a recession or if planning permission is not granted to knock them down but we can all blame it on the growning number of down and outs who have gave in with the broken system of banker takes all.

      31. Two words, Stuxnet virus.

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