Cybersecurity in a Digitally Connected Railway System

Digitalisation can be a great opportunity for rail transport, but there are still some cybersecurity issues that need to be addressed.

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Digitalisation is fundamentally changing the mobility industry. The railway sector is facing increasing competition from other modes of transport. Above all, road transport is becoming more attractive compared to rail due to the rise of electric mobility, car sharing, and ridesharing as well as increasing levels of automation. Nevertheless, the railway sector is in an excellent position to benefit from the new digital potentials. Digitalisation improves the availability of rail vehicles and infrastructures, streamlines operations, and reduces labour and costs. It provides passengers with attractive and seamless mobility from A to B through shorter headways. It helps service providers make infrastructures more intelligent, improve travel comfort for passengers, guarantee availability, and sustainably increase added value over the entire life cycle, for example through data-based predictive maintenance.

On the other hand, the sector is exposed to new attacks in the area of security. As components become increasingly interconnected, more and more opportunities present themselves for hackers to infiltrate railway systems. Privacy protection is also becoming a challenge, as passengers expect their data and online services to be available at all times.

In this study, VdTÜV e.V. analyses which regulations need to be observed to ensure comprehensive security and which security measures are required. The growing threat of cyberattacks must be mitigated to allow manufacturers and system integrators in the railway sector to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the new digital age.


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Position paper:  Cybersecurity in railway system