Amir Levintal, the CEO of Cylus, discusses how an advanced security approach is needed to protect the rail-network and its customers and clients from the cyber-attacks that have taken over the internet these days.
As the world urbanizes and the mobility systems undergo advancement, people have several options to commute from one place to another. They can use cars, buses, trains, and even aero-planes. In this competitive landscape which seems to be increasing, it is about time that railways offer commuters trains that move faster and are more readily available. And all this must be done without compromising the safety of the passengers. In order to achieve this, trains are required to be more connected to the modern technology. Increased connectivity will surely make our railways and metros faster, safer, more efficient, comfortable, and more punctual. But this will leave our trains and metros susceptible to potentially lethal and highly disruptive sort of cyber-attacks.
A threat gaining steam
The risk of railway cyber-attacks is not new. Around ten years ago, a Polish teenager made it to the headlines after he allegedly breached into the Lodz tram system, altered tracks, and derailed four trams, which led to several injuries and fortunately no deaths. Other recent such hacks include those attempted by North Korea on South Korea, and also the ones which targeted the UK rail system6 and the Deutsche Bahn7.
As railway systems grow more connected, hackers also grow more sophisticated equipped, these types of attacks will only grow, and the fallout could be devastating. In countries where millions of people rely on trains and metros for their daily commute to get to schools and offices, shutdowns of major rail systems can lead to very unpleasant results and a very bad reputation. Therefore, it is the need of time to make the cyber-security systems associated with transport better so as to avoid any such disruptive hacking incident that occurred in the past.