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Safeguarding Rolling Stock: Tailored Cybersecurity Solutions for the Railway Industry

Shahaf Rozanski
Shahaf Rozanski
VP Product
Given the extensive reliance on technology in modern rolling stock, ensuring an industry-specific cybersecurity solution is essential.
Safeguarding Rolling Stocks: Tailored Cybersecurity Solutions for the Railway Industry

Rolling stock refers to the vehicles used in the railway industry to transport passengers and freight. It encompasses many vehicles, including locomotives, passenger coaches, freight wagons, and multiple units. Rolling stock plays a critical part in the railway infrastructure and plays a vital role in transporting people and goods worldwide.

Rolling stock systems include a complex network of interconnected components that work together to ensure safe and efficient operations. These components include braking systems, signaling systems, passenger information systems, control systems, and more. Each of these systems has its own set of vulnerabilities and cybersecurity considerations.

Given the extensive reliance on technology in modern rolling stocks, ensuring robust cybersecurity measures is crucial. In this blog post, we delve into the distinctive aspects of rolling stocks that impact the considerations in selecting an effective cybersecurity solution. By addressing these factors and selecting the right solution, railway operators can mitigate risks, ensuring the safety and reliability of their transportation systems.

1. Legacy Systems: Accommodating the Blend of Old and New

The railway industry relies on legacy and modern systems, presenting a need for adaptable cybersecurity solutions. An effective solution should seamlessly integrate with diverse technologies, including legacy infrastructure such as CAN/MVB buses and modern Ethernet-based assets and networks. This integration ensures a cohesive security framework covering  old and new components, facilitating comprehensive threat detection and asset visibility.

2. Complex System: Protecting the Interconnected Components

Rolling stock consists  of various interconnected systems, creating a complex attack surface. A robust cybersecurity solution must address the integration points and ensure secure functioning across the rolling stock ecosystem. It should provide monitoring and protection for propulsion, braking, signaling, and passenger information systems, ensuring the security of all critical components.

3. Limited Connectivity: Overcoming Connectivity Challenges

The diverse terrains and geographic regions traversed by rolling stock often result in limited connectivity. To address this challenge, cybersecurity solutions should incorporate  offline security measures, utilizing local storage for critical data analysis. Additionally, smart data transfer protocols can minimize the cyber solution's impact on train-to-ground communication, ensuring data synchronization when connectivity is intermittent.

4. Long Lifespan: Ensuring Long-Term Security Support

The lifespan of rolling stocks is significantly longer than that of other technological assets. An effective cybersecurity solution should accommodate this longevity by providing continuous support. This includes regular updates, continuous vulnerability assessments, and prioritized patch recommendations to keep the systems resilient and protected against evolving threats throughout their extended lifespan.

5. Dynamic Environment and Changing Rolling Stock Configuration

The dynamic nature of the rolling stock environment, including maintenance activities, coupling, and the addition of new trains, introduces additional cybersecurity considerations. A comprehensive solution should treat each train in the fleet as a separate component, allowing for baselining and protection during normal operations. Moreover, the solution should provide fleet-wide visibility and posture analysis, preventing false alarms while accommodating changes in rolling stock configuration.

6. Limited Space for New Hardware: Compact and Integrated Solutions

The physical space available for additional hardware in rolling stocks is often limited. However, cybersecurity solutions can address this constraint effectively. Look for compact and integrated solutions that can be seamlessly incorporated into the existing rolling stock hardware. For instance, CylusOne, a rail tech cybersecurity platform, provides unique capabilities tailored to rolling stock protection.

CylusOne, the Leading Rail Tech Security Platform

CylusOne, the leading Rail Tech Security Platform, was designed to protect railways  and, as such, provide unique capabilities addressing the uniqueness of rolling stock protection.

1. Enhanced Protocol Support: CylusOne provides robust support for industry-standard rolling stock (RS) protocols such as TRDP, CIP, and IPTCom, ensuring seamless integration with diverse rolling stock systems. Additionally, it seamlessly handles various bus technologies, including CAN, MVB, and Ethernet, empowering railway operators with comprehensive connectivity options.

2. Complete Infrastructure Visibility: CylusOne strategically connects to key locations within the rolling stock infrastructure, encompassing critical networks such as Control, Comfort, and Signaling. This comprehensive coverage grants operators full visibility into their RS assets, allowing them to monitor and safeguard their systems proactively. .

3. Streamlined Maintenance and Coupling: With CylusOne, maintenance activities, and train coupling no longer trigger unnecessary alarms. The solution intelligently generates distinct asset baselines for each train, seamlessly adapting to fleet changes. This ensures hassle-free integration of new trains into the existing system, eliminating cyber security concerns associated with fleet expansion.

4. Reliable Operation with Limited Connectivity: CylusOne optimizes train-to-ground communication by utilizing a minimal portion of the bandwidth, leaving ample capacity for operational needs. Additionally, it provides robust data storage capabilities, enabling continuous cyber security protection even in areas with limited or no network connection. Operators can rest assured knowing their rolling stocks are safeguarded regardless of connectivity challenges.

5. Enhanced Network Segmentation: CylusOne offers advanced virtual segmentation, protecting communication between different networks within the train. By implementing stringent access controls and isolating critical components, the solution effectively mitigates the risk of unauthorized access or compromise, ensuring the integrity and security of vital data.

6. Proactive Vulnerability Detection and Prioritization: CylusOne goes beyond basic monitoring by actively detecting vulnerabilities within the rolling stock infrastructure. Leveraging intelligent algorithms, it accurately assesses the importance of assets and prioritizes vulnerabilities accordingly. This enables operators to apply effective patching strategies, minimizing vulnerabilities and reducing potential cyber risks.

By leveraging CylusOne's advanced capabilities, railway operators can confidently protect their rolling stock assets, ensuring uninterrupted operations, optimal safety, and robust cyber security. 

Final Thoughts 

Selecting an effective cybersecurity solution for rolling stocks involves considering the distinctive challenges posed by legacy systems, complex interconnections, limited connectivity, long lifespan, dynamic environment, and limited space. By leveraging specialized solutions like CylusOne, railway operators can protect  their rolling stock fleet, maintaining the safety, security, and reliability of their transportation systems.

Originally published
June 8, 2023
June 8, 2023

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