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The Importance of Rail Cybersecurity in Times of Economic Uncertainty

Daniella Julius
Content Marketing Manager
In the face of an ever-changing macroeconomic landscape, cybersecurity-related spending will likely remain a priority in 2023. Specifically, we anticipate that investments in rail cybersecurity will increase.
The Importance of Rail Cybersecurity in Times of Economic Uncertainty

As the world continues to face economic uncertainty, companies worldwide are looking for ways to cut costs and stay afloat. However, in the face of an ever-changing macroeconomic landscape, cybersecurity-related spending will likely remain a priority in 2023. Specifically, we anticipate that investments in rail cybersecurity will increase, and here’s why:

  1. One of the most significant factors driving growth in rail cybersecurity solution investment is the rise in attacks and disruptions on rail systems worldwide. 2022’s attack targets included Belarus, Italy, Denmark, and others. These threats are likely to increase during an economic downturn, as hackers and cybercriminals see an opportunity to take advantage of businesses that may be struggling financially. As growing attacks pose a significant threat to the safety and security of both trackside and rolling stock, the potential consequences of such an attack can be devastating. It can lead to disruption of services, potential damage to infrastructure, and in the worst case, loss of lives. As the threat of attacks on rail systems continues to rise, the demand for rail-specific security will also increase.
  1. Another key driver for growth in investment in cybersecurity is the increasing digitalization of the rail industry. While automation and digital solutions improve efficiency and reduce cost, they expose rail systems to new security threats. For example, CBTC (Communication-Based Train Control) systems, which are used to control train movements and improve capacity, use communication networks that were not installed with cybersecurity by default. PTC (Positive Train Control) systems, used to prevent accidents, are also based on wireless communications and exposed to an additional attack surface. According to a study by MarketsandMarkets, the global market for rail cybersecurity is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.4% from 2021 to 2027. The increasing adoption of advanced rail technologies in the rail industry is a significant driver of this growth, as these connected technologies are exposed to cybersecurity threats.  
  1. Regulatory pressure is also playing a role in expanding the need for rail cybersecurity, with governments and industry associations worldwide implementing new regulations and guidelines to protect critical infrastructure. Regulations such as CENELEC TS 50701 (based heavily on IEC 62443) and the recent TSA Directives in the United States are pushing the industry forward to a more cyber-secure future by including requirements for security assessments, the appointment of a cybersecurity coordinator, incident response plans, and more.
  1. There is a growing global focus on securing critical infrastructure, of which rail is part. Governments and industries worldwide recognize the need to secure critical infrastructure, including transportation systems, industrial control systems, and power grids. As rail systems are considered critical infrastructure because of their importance in the movement of commerce and people, the demand for security solutions to protect these systems will continue to rise.
  1. Finally, the growing awareness of rail security among the public may contribute to increased investments as well. With the increased media coverage of real-time incidents, the potential risks and threats on railway systems, and a growing concern from the public, we expect this to impact investment in rail cybersecurity solutions worldwide.

It is no secret that companies worldwide refocus efforts and cut costs in the face of economic uncertainty. However, we expect that investments in rail cybersecurity will continue to be viewed as a priority and a necessity. Not only does it protect the safety and security of rail systems and the public, but it also helps to comply with new regulations and directives implemented to secure critical infrastructure.

Originally published
January 23, 2023
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updated
January 24, 2023
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