Railway cybersecurity must never be taken lightly

Posted on March 7, 2018 by - Also by this author

This short news item about cybersecurity will surprise you. It’s easy to shrug it off, but it does make the point that cracking an organization’s cyber defenses doesn’t always take a sophisticated hack by a foreign government or crime syndicate. Many security breaches are traced back to human error, from lack of compliance with security policies to configuration errors. Even the best-trained staff can be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of daily alerts that need to be tackled. However, automation makes execution of repeatable actions without human intervention and orchestration chains possible, speeding up the investigation and mitigation of incidents.

Cracking an organization’s cyber defenses doesn’t always take a sophisticated hack by a foreign government or crime syndicate.

Cybersecurity is a growing issue for many railway operators as they adopt IP-based network technologies to deliver broadband coverage onboard and for mission-critical train control systems. That’s because these networks tend to be more open and more interconnected. The more parts of a railway communication infrastructure exposed to the internet, the more vulnerabilities might arise. Besides, there is a massive cybersecurity skillset shortage globally, rendering human-centric and manually intensive incident response strategies insufficient.

Consequently, railway communications security must be stepped up. Key capabilities to efficiently protect networks include:

  • Security automation that encompasses business processes.
  • Incident response plans.
  • Regulations and policies.
  • End-to-end security that encompasses network operations and processes.
  • Security analytics to correlate security-related information from across the network.
  • Devices and cloud layers to spot suspicious anomalies and provide insight into threats.
  • Multiple layers of encryption to protect network traffic.

Adding machine learning to the mix enables organizations to identify potential compromises by using threat intelligence information across the network, device, and cloud layers. Such a multi-layered and active defense-in-depth approach provides the right balance of costs with the protection needed to defend against today’s security threats.

The risks are hard to understate. In the U.S., cybersecurity is a serious economic and national threat with the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) creating a framework to support the protection of critical infrastructure. In Europe, the EU has proposed a cybersecurity strategy outlining its vision, clarifying roles and responsibilities, and defining actions required to protect citizens. In Asia, some governments have established national cybersecurity policies.

So, it’s only natural that railway operators need to deploy equally serious protection measures. Organizations must focus on

  • Detecting and mitigating new threats,
  • Reducing the vulnerable surface area,
  • Improving analytics to correlate data from multiple domains and to help identify suspicious, malicious, or inadvertent anomalies.

Combining threat intelligence data and security analytics makes it possible to detect threats and prescribe the appropriate response more effectively, providing strategic mitigation to strategic threats.

This way operators not only protect themselves against potential loss of revenue and the high costs of service restoration and passenger compensation, but they can build their brand as an operator that helps their passengers to spend worry-free, secure time onboard.

Karsten Oberle is Global Practice Lead within Transportation Sales in the Nokia TEPS (Transportation, Energy, and Public Sector) Division. To view a video about Nokia's cybersecurity for rail, click here

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More Transit Dispatches Blog Posts

August 7, 2018

System, Service Planning Approaches Incorporating Private Microtransit - Pt. 2

When considering integrating private microtransit, it’s important to look at the potential impact to your fixed-route service. One way of doing that is putting some thoughtful business rules or a radius around the microtransit service.

July 25, 2018

A Creative Approach to Establishing a Transit System's Safety Culture

Safety must be the top priority of all transportation organizations. Establishing an environment in which everyone — employees and the public — makes safety their first thought before performing any task requires creativity.

June 26, 2018

Microtransit and Designing for Integrated Mobility – Pt. 1

Transit agencies across the country are experiencing explosive growth in demand for accessible transit ridership. A key driver of this increased demand is an aging population that is bringing new mobility challenges ...

June 12, 2018

Transit Investment Feeds Economic Boom, Resulting in New Funding Needs

Investment in mass transit leads to many rewards — for the region served by a transportation authority; for the passengers who use transit to get to work, school, appointments, shopping and recreational destinations; and for communities located near transportation stations and hubs.

June 11, 2018

Electric Bikeshare: Expanding the Possibilities of Public Transportation

It’s increasingly apparent that even the most extensive public transit systems still fall short in providing end-to-end solutions that cover the complex transportation needs of residents in many American cities. To address this issue, city planners are turning to a mutually beneficial solution that helps cities, commuters and private businesses:

See More

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close