Safeguarding the Railways: The Importance of Cybersecurity for ICS & OT

Railway systems are critical infrastructure that must remain secure against cyber threats that could potentially cause catastrophic consequences. A railway cyberattack could cause disruption to rail services, leading to significant economic losses and even loss of life.

A cyberattack on a rail system can contribute to train derailment or collisions, leading to fatalities and injuries. An adverse cyber rail event could cause widespread panic and erode public trust in rail services. We’ve already seen instances of cyberattacks targeting the rail industry in Iran in 2021 and Belarus in 2022, and many more disruptions go unreported.

The adoption of new technologies, increased interconnectivity, and proliferation of IoT devices, have made railway systems more vulnerable to cyberattacks. As a result, cybersecurity experts, product manufacturers, and asset owners in the railway industry must come together to share best practices, act on intelligence, and ensure comprehensive protection of the operational technology (OT) that drives the industry.

Cybersecurity blind spots have prompted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to push guidelines and mandates to Class 1 rail and rail transportation in general. The DHS, through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), has mandated rail carriers take steps to improve their cybersecurity posture and assigned a dedicated team of individuals to work on cybersecurity recommendations and improvements in the industry. This all speaks to why it’s more important than ever for railway industry mainstays to begin prioritizing OT cybersecurity immediately.

Like all organizations with OT assets, the rail industry's evolving cybersecurity challenges are becoming impossible to ignore. Doing so would be ill-advised due to how IoT devices are directly contributing to these increasing risks. Devices are left susceptible to exploitation by
cybercriminals, which can negatively impact safety and security and send
shockwaves through the rail industry.

Some of the challenges posed by IoT proliferation in therail industry involve device management, authentication, and security.

Device management involves monitoring and maintaining the health of IoT devices, ensuring they are functioning correctly and addressing any issues that arise. However, with the sheer number of IoT devices being deployed in the rail industry, this can quickly become a complex and time-consuming task.

Access control is another aspect of maintaining strong security in the rail industry. It’s important to ensure only authorized personnel can access IoT devices and data, which is no easy task when considering users require authorization across multiple devices.

Security is especially relevant to IoT proliferation in the rail industry. These devices can be vulnerable to cyberattacks, and a breach could potentially lead to catastrophic consequences. For these reasons and more, it’s essential to have robust ICS security measures in place to safeguard against cyber threats.

We offer a range of cybersecurity products and services that benefit the rail industry in the areas of IoT device management, authentication, and security solutions. Our team of experts work closely with clients to identify vulnerabilities and design customized solutions to mitigate cyber threats. With our help, rail industry clients can confidently deploy IoT devices while maintaining the highest level of security.

We have substantial OT cybersecurity experience in the rail industry through active engagements with Class 1 railroad and other transportation entities providing cybersecurity support with asset visibility and yard auditing. Velta Technology’s strategic partnerships position us to serve the rail industry.

Give us a call today or email us today at and we’ll share how we can help strengthen the internal visibility and response mechanisms of your rail ICS systems.