Rail transportation systems are increasingly relying on information and communications technologies. Modern industrial control systems which are based on the new communications technologies have replaced the traditional mainframes and obscure protocols which were formerly the backbone of the industry. The cited evolution, however, has enabled a new level of vulnerability through external connectivity, which introduces new risks to public safety and continuous operation of mission critical services. As a means for risk mitigation, cybersecurity has gained an unprecedented level of attention and importance in the context of mission-critical services, in addition to the traditional focus on reliability, availability, maintainability, and safety.
In the presented article, the cybersecurity state of affairs for rail transportation systems is investigated and complex security engineering challenges in these mission-critical cyber-physical systems are addressed. The subject of cybersecurity in rail transportation is looked upon from an enterprise-wide point of view, instead of the traditional IT/technological angle. As a result, after a detailed elaboration of the threat vectors and vulnerability scenarios, an interdisciplinary array of mitigation approaches (countermeasures/safeguards) are proposed which are based upon a complete alignment of business aspects and include a multi-front strategy of prevention and recovery-based mitigation through improving system resilience.