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Enhancing Cybersecurity Resilience in the Railway Industry

20 July 2023 | 

The railway industry is indeed undergoing a significant transformation, and cybersecurity must be at the forefront of this evolution. Implementing the principles of the cybersecurity triad - confidentiality, integrity, and availability - is crucial in safeguarding railway signaling systems. 

The product security lifecycle and the "change is certain" attitude provide a robust foundation for resilience and safety. Building partnerships and establishing clear communication channels among stakeholders contribute to a secure and reliable railway infrastructure. By embracing cybersecurity measures and recognizing its importance, the UniAC[2] axle counting system can confidently adapt to the changing landscape and mitigate potential threats effectively.

How UniAC[2] holistic approach builds a strong and secure future

The railway industry is undergoing a transformative phase, and with it comes the pressing need for adaptive and robust cybersecurity systems. As new threats continue to emerge and vulnerabilities are exposed, the importance of acknowledging and addressing cybersecurity in railway signaling cannot be underestimated. The consequences of a successful attack on these systems can be severe, ranging from compromising safety to causing financial losses and extensive downtimes. Therefore, preparedness and quick response measures are essential to mitigate the impact of such incidents.

Read more on how UniAC[2] axle counting system implements critical elements of the cybersecurity triad and delve into the significance of the product security lifecycle with the "change is certain" attitude in maintaining cyber resilience.

The Product Security Lifecycle: A Continuous Concern

Given the dynamic nature of the threat landscape, the railway industry faces a high demand for maintaining a full product security lifecycle. Monitoring vulnerability databases alone is insufficient; suppliers must be fully aware of subcomponents and their bill of materials to effectively monitor new vulnerabilities based on system information. The Heartbleed vulnerability serves as a cautionary example of the significance of this approach. Selecting certified components that offer security patches within a specified time frame is the first step in managing these challenges. Creating a Bill of Materials during the development phase provides a base for effective vulnerability monitoring, ensuring vigilance even for devices without internet connectivity. As the industry progresses, the ability to deploy and execute security changes swiftly becomes crucial for resilience and system safety.


The "change is certain" Attitude: Embracing Security with Safety

Addressing security is a necessary component of ensuring system safety. The railway safety engineering community has come to realize this fact after initially viewing security as a connectivity-related issue. The EULYNX Security Cluster's uniform specification for digital interlocking technology security has been a significant step towards integrating security as an integral part of the railway safety context. Current trends emphasize the need for "defense in depth" architecture, with subsystems designed based on "security by design" principles. Transitioning to Baseline 4 compliant systems can be challenging, but proactive consideration of security during the design process can help meet these demands. The axle counting system UniAC[2] developed by voestalpine Signaling Poland, the Competence Unit of Axle Counting Systems inside voestalpine Railway Systems, the global leader for railway infrastructure system solutions, demonstrate readiness to fulfill the new Baseline 4 requirements.


Partnership in Cybersecurity Resilience: A Chain of Trust

Building partnerships is vital for ensuring cybersecurity in railway signaling systems and involves a chain of trust among all parties involved, including the User, Asset Owner, Integrator, and Product Supplier. Mutual understanding is key, and adhering to international standards like IEC62443 helps synchronize efforts and fosters trust among partners. Establishing a Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) with clear communication channels helps address cybersecurity issues efficiently. voestalpine Signaling Poland have introduced a special e-mail address to address this aspect: It is directly connected to a priority ticket handling queue which fully tracks the activities and gives clean audit history of the security issue handling.

Customer Benefits

  • Enhanced Safety: Robust cybersecurity measures ensure the integrity of railway signaling systems, safeguarding critical decision-making data and protecting against potential threats like tampering and spoofing, thereby enhancing overall safety for passengers and personnel.





  • Reduced Downtime: By prioritizing availability and resilience, the implementation of strong cybersecurity practices minimizes system downtime, leading to fewer disruptions in railway operations and improved customer satisfaction.


  • Financial Protection: Effective cybersecurity measures help prevent potential cyberattacks that could lead to financial losses for both railway companies and their customers, offering a shield against cyber-related financial risks.


  • Trust and Reliability: Customers can place their trust in railway companies that prioritize cybersecurity, ensuring that sensitive information and critical systems are protected, promoting a sense of reliability and dependability.


  • Future-Proof Solutions: Partnering with suppliers who emphasize cybersecurity in their product security lifecycle and adhere to industry standards provides customers with future-proof solutions that stay ahead of evolving cybersecurity threats.