Author(s): M. Hartong, R. Goel & D. Wijesekera
Since the late 1980s, Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) Systems for
freight and passenger rail have been under development in the United States.
These systems have been advertised as offering significant enhancements in
safety by ensuring positive train separation, enforcing speed restrictions, and
improving roadway worker protection.
In order to maximize the effect of these
safety enhancements, it is necessary for CBTC systems to address security issues
common to wireless computer communication systems.
This paper introduces
the role that CBTC systems play in railroad methods of operations, as well as the
vulnerabilities of communications systems being manifested in CBTC.
provides a classification of attacks against CBTC systems, and identifies the
security controls to mitigate these attacks.
The level of risks associated with these security issues have increased from
the first CBTC system introduction, primary because of increases in the means of
exploiting the associated vulnerabilities.
Exploitation that could compromise the
system safety capabilities can take the form of any number of different types of
Failure of the CBTC system designer to adequately
address these attacks could allow a malicious party to exploit CBTC
vulnerabilities, effectively neutralizing the safety advantages of a CBTC system.
Recent non-CBTC train-to-train collisions causing release of toxic inhalants and
resulting deaths illustrate that a lack of CBTC system safety capabilities could
have catastrophic results.
Fortunately, these attacks can be mitigated using
various security controls.
Understanding the attacks and the respective mitigating
security mechanisms is therefore key to effectively implementing CBTC safety
security, communications based train control, wireless,
communications systems, positive train control.
Size: 353 kb
Paper DOI: 10.2495/CR060681
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This paper can be found in the following bookComputers in Railways X: Computer System Design and Operation in the Railway and Other Transit Systems Buy