Photo: Pakutaso
national

Train driver’s locked tablet with forgotten password leads to big delay on Fukushima line

39 Comments
By SoraNews24

The punctuality of trains in Japan is sacred. Thousands of commuters rely on it so much that differences of less than a minute can cause a disruption and result in a company apology. So, when a train racks up a delay of 23 minutes it’s usually a pretty big deal here.

Usually these kinds of longer delays are caused by highly unusual situations like a bird flying inside the train or a cute dog on the tracks that refuses cookies. But this time it was simply the result of one train driver forgetting the password to unlock his tablet.

In June JR East digitized the timetables issued to train drivers by instead giving them a tablet that displayed the correct arrival and departure times and could be updated automatically. However, when one driver left Koriyama Station at 6:18 p.m. on August 20 and about three minutes into his route he went to his tablet to check the schedule. However, his attempts to unlock it were unsuccessful as his passwords were rejected.

The delay was caused by the driver having to repeatedly check the timetable during stops at stations such as Asakanagamori and Yayagawa along the way to the final destination. The cumulative total of these checks was 23 minutes by the time it reached Mito and some 60 passengers were said to have been affected by the delay. According to reports drivers are given multiple tablets for different tasks, and in this case the driver lost track of the timetable tablet in particular.

This is actually the second time in as many months such a delay occurred. On July 8, at 6:55 p.m. a driver was getting ready to depart from JR Ishinomaki Station in neighboring Miyagi Prefecture, bound for Sendai. However, just before his departure the driver went to check the schedule on his tablet but couldn’t because he forgot the password.

This driver decided to wait at the station until someone could give him a paper copy of the timetable. However, even this method resulted in a 22-minute delay that affected about 120 people.

A rep from JR Fukushima said that they would provide more guidance to drivers about remembering passwords. A simpler solution would probably be to just disable the lock, since a schedule isn’t exactly classified information that they would have to worry about falling into the wrong hands.

Either way, they’ll have to deal with the problem one way or another, because Japanese people simply do not tolerate late trains.

*Source: Asahi Shimbun, *Kahoku Shimpo

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Train driver sues Japan Rail…over 56 yen for a one-minute delay

-- Japanese train company issues official apology for “inexcusable” 25-second early departure

-- JR East to re-educate employees after frequent overruns on JR Keiyo Line

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

39 Comments
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A simpler solution would probably be to just disable the lock, since a schedule isn’t exactly classified information that they would have to worry about falling into the wrong hands.

Not all information and device are that critical to be put password.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Either way, they’ll have to deal with the problem one way or another, because Japanese people simply do not tolerate late trains.

Doesn't this just puncture the image the world has of the Japanese who can put up with just about anything?

They can stand in lines for hours for a COVID test, or to shake the hands of their favorite idol, who many never show up, but they can't tolerate a minute or too late train? Hmmm.

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

Just use a 4-digit pin for crying out loud. Typing a modern password on a touch screen is like, hello?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Either way, they’ll have to deal with the problem one way or another, because Japanese people simply do not tolerate late trains.

Man, come to Hokkaido and try our train system! We celebrate when it running on time!

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I offer 2 solutions to this problem of the inaccessible timetable. Driverless trains. Fax machine tethered to a cell phone.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Why not use other authentication methods? Like fingerprints or other biometric info?

For another point, I don't think that they have to be super-punctual on schedule despite the virtue of Japanese public transportation systems. Being too obsessed with punctuality could cause more serious problems.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

You don't need to password protect a timetable. Given the mess this caused, just revert to a printed copy. Digital tickets are another disaster. Paper ones are easier. Lost count of how many times I've seen people have problems getting their smartphone to display a rail ticket.

So many tales of the 'pivot to digital' failing. If paper works best, use it. You won't end life on Earth by doing so. Recharging all these devices and the e-waste they become when the OS is no longer supported and the sealed battery cannot be replaced may impact more.

quote: Just use a 4-digit pin for crying out loud.

The problem isn't having a simple password, it is that most people have dozens of the things and get them mixed up. Because you aren't supposed to use the same one twice.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

GNR48

PINs are normally less hackable for mobile devices. That's because they must be entered physically on the device by the person holding the device. Passwords, by contrast, can be entered remotely, by anyone anywhere, like Russia or N. Korea, who has the password.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security/identity-protection/hello-for-business/hello-why-pin-is-better-than-password

1 ( +3 / -2 )

morons……..

Don’t they all have fingerprint or facial ID on tablets in 2022? Or was this an outdated device?

why not simplify it for these geniuses and use the Spaceballs/Trump method and keep all passwords as 1-2-3-4-5?

or better yet, just tape the password onto the back of the tablet for imbecile use?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

If JR East issues drivers tablets with schedules, etc, it could put facial recognition software or fingerprint recognition software on the tablets and combine all the tablets into one per driver. I will miss the printed schedules, as I love to stand in the first car of a commuter train and see things almost as the driver sees them. I loved looking at the printed schedule by the front windshield and watch to see how close to the second the drivers closed the doors and adhered to the schedules. And now, my grandchildren like the first car of the train too, for the same reason.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

An A380 or Boeing 777 uses a single pad/ tablet for all of its tasks flying around the world, landing and taxiing; why do JR need multiple pads to drive a train, a much less complex piece of machinery.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

PIN and facial rec.

On the point of remembering passwords, I use a passport manager, Dashlane so I only need to remember my master password and not about 100 others. Every password is unique and very strong.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

why not simplify it for these geniuses and use and keep all passwords as 1-2-3-4?

But that would be far too easy for a criminal to guess!

Best to use an obscure passcode known only to yourself such as 1203 (my dog’s birthday: 12 March!) which I use for my cash card and all my credit cards.

TT

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

According to reports drivers are given multiple tablets for different tasks

What a nightmare! I imagine the drivers got handed one, then two, then three tablets and they were afraid to say 'it's too many' so naturally, an incident has to happen before any changes are made.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

According to reports drivers are given multiple tablets for different tasks, ...............

I'd love to hear the reason why.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Use paper for that. Simple

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I use a passport manager, Dashlane so I only need to remember my master password and not about 100 others.

Eh? I just tried to use 'Dashlane' for this site, but it says your password has to have numbers in it, so I've had to leave it as 'TomTwatt1203'.

TT

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

very easy old school fix

paper printout of the timetable

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Why aren’t these integrated into the train’s cockpit? What’s the need for any tablet at all?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

A. Why do they require a password to view train schedule information?

B. If they must have a password, why not make it the same for all driver tablets, and keep it simple?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Harry_Gatto

"According to reports drivers are given multiple tablets for different tasks, ..............."

I'd love to hear the reason why.

Because having all info needed by the driver on a single tablet would be simple and efficient. And, this is Japan.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

He should have just turned the tablet and check the pw stuck to the back :-)

I mean - there are many institutions that do that on PCs, etc. because they have guidelines for setting passwords on devices but in reality they stick it visibly so different users can use it.

For the case with the train the delay was the least problem. It might have been much worse as the driver was under pressure and could have caused accident. Instead of looking at the doors and concentrate on operating the train he was sweating to check the tablet.

Using electronic timetable is justified as the schedule might change for various reasons and that is updated constantly on the tablet. They have to reduce the burdain on the drivers and make things more simple.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No wonder Japan thinks a lot to go digital.

Only if there was a hanko instead of a password for the tab

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

It is regrettable.”

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

According to reports drivers are given multiple tablets for different tasks

The entire point of a tablet is to be able to do multiple things on it. Why are they designating different tablets for different tasks? Such a typical Japanese move of making things more complicated than necessary. Also, have they not heard of biometrics? Most devices nowadays have multiple ways of locking and unlocking. Japan continues to baffle with their incompetency when it comes to tech. They can install toilets that have more buttons than is needed but can't use a tablet properly. So weird.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

They company should set the password same as the driver's birthday, if the driver forget, he will be fired !.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

They did it without tablets until about a decade ago. Seemed to work just fine then...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Very bad for Japan! This country has obviously entered a new period of stagnation, not unlike that of the late Shogunate. Time to open up to the rest of the world so the Japanese can hear alternative ideas, have their preconceived notions challenged, learn how to utilize new technology to improve efficiency, and once again modernize as a major economic player.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Since employees have their own company IDs, why don't they use their fingerprints. Less memorization and you can access your tablet quickly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The entire point of a tablet is to be able to do multiple things on it. Why are they designating different tablets for different tasks?

A multifunctional tablet is very dangerous during driving. Probably less dangerous on a rail, but simulating a dedicated fixed screen that needs minimum attention to operate is still safer.

But password-locking this screen will kill all the advantages

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There should not even be a password to begin with. The paper schedules that were used from the 1800s until just a few months ago certainly didn't need them.

The average person is drowning in usernames and passwords in today's world and it only gets worse when some devices and services have unnecessary rules about what characters have to appear in them. Quite a few of these devices do not need this level of security and a train schedule is certainly one of them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's so highly advanced and efficient we are so impressed.

Clearly Japan has mastered the fine art of punctuality.

Bravo !

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The line in question is apparently the JR Suigun Line, which runs between Koriyama and Mito. The trains only have two cars running on a single track, so the train going the other direction has to wait on a siding while the other one passes. August gets a lot of visitors who go camping and fishing along the Kuji River. So it's easy to see why a delay would be a serous problem affecting the entire line.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

1Password is your friend but to login you need password as well. Two solution would be Face ID or Fingerprint unlock registered. Unless is Android, then is different story.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Encourage more remote work and flex time, then fewer people feel rushed to commute on time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Use paper for that. Simple

Train systems are interdependent. When a train ahead or behind deviates from the schedule, all others impacted need to be notified. It is a safety thing.

Using biometrics is a total security failure too. Laypeople get confused by the true lack of security all fingerprint and facial recognition methods provide. These are not secure and cannot be changed. Don't ever use a fingerprint to secure something important. Please.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/10/technology/fingerprint-security-smartphones-apple-google-samsung.html

https://www.csoonline.com/article/3330695/6-reasons-biometrics-are-bad-authenticators-and-1-acceptable-use.html

A password manager is a good idea, provided you have another device with the password DB available. Never put your passwords online if they include access to financial or purchase accounts or email accounts tied to any financial or purchase accounts. Keep those off-line, but replicated to at least 3 different devices, with 1 hopefully 600km away - for disaster reasons. KeePass (and F/LOSS programs that share the same DB) is a good option that has programs for every platform. KeePassXC is the main tool on Linux. No need to pay for this software. Paying doesn't mean "better".

Quoting or linking to how MSFT does security is useless. MSFT doesn't make tablets that anyone actually chooses to use.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It’s amazing how they globally and for many decades have operated all those steam locomotives and first diesel or electric trains without all that digitalization, tablets and passwords, and it had worked too.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Usually these kinds of longer delays are caused by highly unusual situations like a bird flying inside the train or a cute dog on the tracks that refuses cookies. But this time it was simply the result of one train driver forgetting the password to unlock his tablet.

I certainly hope these tablets they’re taking are ‘uppers’ rather than ‘downers’? We don’t want these pill-popping train drivers falling asleep at the wheel!

TT

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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