Progressive Railroading's third annual Secure Rail Conference held earlier this month in Orlando, Fla., featured 20 presentations on topics that addressed how railroads can improve the security of their assets, passengers and employees.
Many of this year's speakers specifically addressed cybersecurity risks and threats as their primary topic. In fact, the event's first session began with a panel discussion on how railroads can manage cybersecurity risk. BTB Security Managing Partner Ron Schlecht kicked off the conversation with his observation that the application of cyber technology has spread quickly through the rail industry. Although physical vulnerabilities to rail systems remain, the greatest security risk to the industry right now may be found online rather than onboard.
"Now everything is IT connected," added panelist Nick Chodorow, chief information officer of the Belt Railway Co. of Chicago. "My team doesn't understand what that entirely means to be an IT-based network, so we're bringing in vendors to help us understand where our [security] vulnerabilities are and where someone might be able to get into our network. Those are things my peers would not have thought about in the past."
The two-day conference also featured the Product Showcase Room, where attendees were free to visit and network. The room featured new products, services and technologies from Strukton Rail North America Inc., Railhead Corp., Safety Vision, Frauscher Sensor Technology USA Inc., Parsons, DPS Telecom, RPI Group, BTB Security, Pacific Star Communications Inc. (PacStar) and Rockwell Collins Inc.
If you were unable to attend this year's conference, you can read about the highlights in this feature story on ProgressiveRailroading.com.
Planning for Secure Rail 2018 will get underway soon, so stay tuned.