Designing a secure data communications system for automatic train control

The communication-based train control systems for the urban rail environment rely on accurate and secure communications between the system components, which typically include computers on-board the trains, along the wayside and in a control centre. Radio links are used for the mobile train-to-wayside communications, and these links are interconnected to the control system through an Ethernet fibre optic backbone. The radio links, however, are vulnerable to unwanted intrusion and potential security attacks. The challenge for the network designer is to put in place sufficient controls and operating practices that the train control system is not just secure from operational disruptions but is also secured against deliberate attack by malicious intruders. The data communication system (DCS) is implemented using straightforward principles such as commercial off-the-shelf equipment, open standards, stand-alone network operation, and compliance to relevant network security and communication standards. To meet the challenge of securing such a network, a strict assessment process is employed to identify and classify the possible threats, assess the potential harm they can cause, and determine what levels of protection are required and what residual risk there is to safety and operational integrity. The Thales ComTracTM DCS network design is robust, provides the full operational availability needed by the train operators, and above all is secure.


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  • Accession Number: 01350692
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 24 2011 7:10PM