On train automatic stop control using balises: Attacks and a software-only countermeasure

William G. Temple, Bao Anh N. Tran, Binbin Chen, Zbigniew T Kalbarczyk, William H Sanders

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

The components and systems involved in railway operation are subject to stringent reliability and safety requirements, but up until now the cyber security of those same systems has been largely under-explored. In this work, we examine a widely-used railway technology, track beacons or balises, which provide a train with its position on the track and often assist with accurate stopping at stations. Balises have been identified as one potential weak link in train signalling systems. We evaluate an automatic train stop controller that is used in real deployment and show that attackers who can compromise the availability or integrity of the balises' data can cause the trains to stop dozens of meters away from the right position, disrupting train service. To address this risk, we have developed a novel countermeasure that ensures the correct stopping of the trains in the presence of attacks, with only a small extra stopping delay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2017 IEEE 22nd Pacific Rim International Symposium on Dependable Computing, PRDC 2017
EditorsMasato Kitakami, Dong Seong Kim, Vijay Varadharajan
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Pages274-283
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781509056514
DOIs
StatePublished - May 5 2017
Event22nd IEEE Pacific Rim International Symposium on Dependable Computing, PRDC 2017 - Christchurch, New Zealand
Duration: Jan 22 2017Jan 25 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of IEEE Pacific Rim International Symposium on Dependable Computing, PRDC
ISSN (Print)1541-0110

Other

Other22nd IEEE Pacific Rim International Symposium on Dependable Computing, PRDC 2017
CountryNew Zealand
CityChristchurch
Period1/22/171/25/17

Keywords

  • Balise
  • Cyber physical system security
  • Railway system
  • Simulation
  • Train automatic stop control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Software

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