Rail Engineer • September 2016
SIGNALLING AND TELECOMS
DEPLOYING UNIDIRECTIONAL G AT E WAY S ANDREW GINTER
s a vital part of the national economy, the rail industry in the UK is undergoing an increase in demand for transporting passengers and freight. Unfortunately, with the rise of sophistication of cyber attacks, Britain’s critical infrastructure, and its rail system in particular, is becoming more and more vulnerable. Due to interconnected systems, entertainment devices and services, and the integration of digital signalling systems, the attack surface of modern rail systems continues to grow. Cyber attacks on rail systems are no longer a hypothetical threat. As IT/OT (information technology/operational technology) networks converge in the digital railway, cyber security is paramount. In 2015-2016, four cyber attacks were reported on the UK railway network. In August 2015, Japan Railways Hokkaido was attacked by an allegedly Chinese-backed group. A more successful attack was conducted in December 2015 by (allegedly) North Korean hackers on a South Korean supplier of railway control equipment. Also in December 2015, a series of attacks took place (allegedly by Russian-backed groups) on a range of industrial targets in the Ukraine.
Fortunately, and despite this disturbing trend, there are ways to reduce the risks of cyber attacks. They can be diminished by following modern best practices for securing industrial control systems (ICS), with a major part of the new regulations including the deployment of unidirectional security gateways.
DfT guidance The British rail industry is preparing itself to take on cyber security as it embraces digital rail technology. As the threat landscape has changed for rail, all stakeholders must now have a shared responsibility of ensuring the safety and reliability of critical national infrastructure.
Particularly for rail, the industry needs strong cyber security guidance to provide consistency between organisations and interconnections. This year, the Department for Transport (DfT) released ‘Rail Cyber Security – Guidance to Industry’, stating clearly that signalling networks should be protected with unidirectional gateways and there should be a clear separation between enterprise and operational networks. The DfT is also engaged in an RSSB-led development of a cyber security strategy for the rail industry. Waterfall’s Unidirectional Security Gateways are hardware-enforced protection which enable safe network integration. The