Digitization has taken many sectors by storm, and it is also the number one topic in the rail industry. Self-driving trains and networked processes are quickly becoming the norm. This enables more efficient, optimized operation. However, the new opportunities come with new challenges: Cybersecurity is rapidly gaining importance in the industry.
Rail Operators Should Establish Cybersecure Structures
Critical delays are not the only potential consequence of cyberattacks. “In the rail industry, the risks still aren’t being discussed enough,” says Sedat Sezgün, Head of Rail at HIMA. “However, more attention should be paid to the topic. To protect their own systems, companies need to implement more countermeasures.”
Restricting access and establishing separate networks are just two ways to build secure IT structures in rail applications. “Safety systems from HIMA provide complete protection for everything that runs on rails,” says Sezgün. “And they can also monitor railroad crossings and signaling and interlocking technology.” One of the main challenges for rail operators is to consider cybersecurity from the outset, and not implement it retrospectively.
Moving into the Digital Future with HIMA
HIMA offers its customers safety control systems based on their own operating system that is specially developed for safety applications in the digital age. “Because the systems are exclusively composed of safety modules, common cyberattacks such as XSS have no chance of success,” says Sezgün. This means that they are more robust than other PC-based systems, which require frequent updates to fix security vulnerabilities.
The physical separation of the process control system and communication system in HIMA products also has a positive impact on IT security. Even in the case of an attack on the communications processor, the system can continue to run safely. “That is what makes our controllers extremely cybersecure,” says Sezgün. In addition, SILworX software provides a secure programming environment for HIMax and HIMatrix that can withstand attempted manipulation and user error.