Homeland Security chief announces plans to implement new rail and rail transit cybersecurity directive

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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Diligence is required to protect U.S. railroads from cyberattacks.
David C. Lester

Cybersecurity continues to be a major threat to the integrity and stability of our nation's railroad network, and the Department of Homeland Security is planning for the future.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas this week addressed the 12th Annual Billington CyberSecurity Summit, and part of his address included announcement of new measures to improve cybersecurity on railroad and rail transit operations. He announced the new rail measures in the context of overall U.S. transportation cybersecurity.

“TSA’s broad responsibilities cover security at our airports, highways and traffic management systems, pipelines, mass transit terminals and hubs, and subways and metros that carry billions of passengers every year.

“Our freight rail system is essential not only to our economic well-being, but also to the ability of our military to move equipment from “Fort to Port” when needed.

“In the aftermath of the Colonial attack, TSA issued two new security directives designed to strengthen the security of our nation’s pipelines, requiring pipeline owners and operators to designate a cybersecurity coordinator, report cyber incidents to CISA within 12 hours, implement a number of basic hygiene measures, develop contingency plans in the event of a cyber attack, and subject their systems to robust vulnerability testing.

“Applying lessons learned from that experience, TSA is now laying the foundation for a more secure and resilient aviation and surface transportation sector.”

“To strengthen the cybersecurity of our railroads and rail transit, TSA will issue a new security directive this year that will cover higher-risk railroad and rail transit entities and require them to identify a cybersecurity point person; report incidents to CISA; and put together a contingency and recovery plan in case they become a victim of malicious cyber activity.  We are coordinating and consulting with industry as we develop all of these plans.”

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas

Railway Track & Structures will continue to report on enhanced cybersecurity measures as they are developed and implemented.

Read more articles on rail and rail transit cybersecurity.

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