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How Rail Industries Use OT Security to Prevent Cyber Attacks

IT and operational technology (OT) systems in trains must be protected for national security reasons. Several confirmed cybersecurity incidents involving train infrastructure have occurred throughout the world. Although the majority of these assaults were carried out with the intent of installing ransomware for financial gain.

The fact that an attacker was able to reach so deep into a train operator’s network should serve as a warning to many. Even a very tiny cyber-physical attack might be immensely devastating. This is because it can disrupt a digital signaling system. It can endanger passengers or destroy equipment.

What Is OT Cybersecurity?

OT security refers to hardware and software that detects a change in physical equipment by monitoring them. OT cybersecurity is also known as the software, hardware, and techniques used to safeguard OT infrastructure.

How OT Security Is Used by Rail Industries to Prevent Cyber Attacks

1. Rail Operators Use Security Controls and Access Management

Security controls are the settings that a company uses to protect various sorts of data and infrastructure. Security control is any protection or countermeasure used to avoid, identify and mitigate, security hazards to physical property, information, computer systems, or other assets.

Access management is also a crucial part of data security because it decides who has access to and utilizes corporate data and resources. It is an important aspect of data security. Through authentication and permissions, access control rules guarantee that users are who they say they are. It also guarantees that they have proper access to business data and permission. Security controls and access management help ensure that the right people have access to the control systems.

2. For Threat Detection, Asset Management, and Monitoring

Threat intelligence data is extremely useful in identifying dangers. It provides visual clarity you need to immediately recognize dangers and locate them inside your interconnected systems.

Railway cybersecurity relies on dynamic OT asset mapping. It’s nearly hard to spot dangers on time, much alone isolate and neutralize them, without the ability to obtain a simplified visual portrayal of your complex systems and architecture. With OT asset mapping, when a threat is discovered, you’ll be able to see it in the context of your whole network clusters and sub-networks.

With OT asset mapping you may apply safety limitations, and achieve high integrity levels. It also allows you to fulfill the most demanding railway safety regulations by having both wide and granular insight into your OT networks and architecture.

Many train operators also need asset management and vulnerability monitoring. It is recommended to use OT cyber security vendors. They provide asset management and monitoring and network monitoring systems with automated threat ingestion capabilities.

3. Through Backup and Restore

The act of producing and maintaining copies of data that may be used to safeguard businesses against data loss is known as backup and recovery. The data from a backup is usually restored to its original location, or to another location where it may be utilized instead of the lost or damaged data.

The purpose of a backup is to create a duplicate of the data that can be retrieved if the main data fails. Primary data failures can be caused by hardware or software failures, data corruption, or a human-initiated event like a hostile attack (virus or malware) or data deletion. Backup copies allow data to be restored from an earlier point in time, which can help a firm recover after an unplanned event.

Creating an adequate backup of OT data is critical for ensuring data availability in rail industries even after a data breach. To do this, make a backup copy of the OT data and then run a test restoration to confirm that the complete backup and restore system is up to date and correct.

4. Through Employee Education

Rail industries use OT security best practices which are employee education to prevent cyber-attacks. Railways lower the danger of an attack or data leak by actively integrating employees in cybersecurity upgrades.

Railway employees, for example, may receive access to end-user training and collaboration tools. They may also receive guidance on how to implement these regulations, including what to do if a cyber-incident occurs.

The first step in introducing cybersecurity education to employees is to provide a clear message about what is going on in your firm in terms of cybersecurity. A message of this nature must have three properties which are it must be relatable, understandable, and divertible.

  • Relatable – When discussing external dangers, focus on personal computer security and home network penetration rather than the central network. Employees will be able to connect to the threat if it is presented in terms of their phone or laptop. This gives individuals a personal investment in the security strategy: no one wants to be the cause of a data leak that affects the entire organization.
  • Understandable: Avoid technical language that may cause employees to become confused. When feasible, utilize simple language that is understandable to non-technical people.
  • Diversification – A simple email summarizing everything might not be sufficient. Consider how many emails a single employee receives. By diversifying your communications approach it guarantees that employees read the message instead of rejecting it as simply another announcement

5. Through Anomaly Detection in OT Systems

Anomaly detection helps detect cyber-attack threats in real-time. It detects unusual user activity and protects businesses from dangers. Activities that are out of the ordinary for the user are detected. Techniques for detecting behavior anomalies are critical for cyber network security. It can aid in the detection of odd behavior.

Rail industries can quickly detect changes in their OT assets, including ports and services, users, software, patches, and firewall rules. They can respond swiftly to these changes


As technology advances, railways and metros must increase their cybersecurity measures. This can only be accomplished by enforcing OT security practices. These practices help ensure railway assets are safeguarded by clear and rigorous protocols and a comprehensive defensive system.

By proactively detecting, categorizing, and monitoring your OT infrastructure, rail industries may avoid and reduce OT dangers.


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