Securing balise-based train control systems using cryptographic random fountains

J. Harshan, Sang Yoon Chang, Seungmin Kang, Yih Chun Hu

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

Abstract

In modern train control systems, a moving train retrieves its location information through passive transponders called balises, which are placed on the sleepers of the track at regular intervals. When the train-borne antenna energizes them using tele-powering signals, balises backscatter preprogrammed telegrams, which carry information about the train's current location. Since the telegrams are static in the existing implementations, the uplink signals from the balises could be recorded by an adversary and then replayed at a different location of the track, leading to what is well-known as the replay attack. Such an attack, while the legitimate balise is still functional, introduces ambiguity to the train about its location, can impact the physical operations of the trains. For balise-to-train communication, we propose a new communication framework referred to as cryptographic random fountains (CRF), where each balise, instead of transmitting telegrams with fixed information, transmits telegrams containing random signals. A salient feature of CRF is the use of challenge-response based interaction between the train and the balise for communication integrity. We present a thorough security analysis of CRF to showcase its ability to mitigate sophisticated replay attacks. Finally, we also discuss the implementation aspects of our framework.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2017 IEEE Conference on Communications and Network Security, CNS 2017
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages405-410
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781538606834
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 19 2017
Event2017 IEEE Conference on Communications and Network Security, CNS 2017 - Las Vegas, United States
Duration: Oct 9 2017Oct 11 2017

Publication series

Name2017 IEEE Conference on Communications and Network Security, CNS 2017
Volume2017-January

Other

Other2017 IEEE Conference on Communications and Network Security, CNS 2017
CountryUnited States
CityLas Vegas
Period10/9/1710/11/17

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Securing balise-based train control systems using cryptographic random fountains'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Harshan, J., Chang, S. Y., Kang, S., & Hu, Y. C. (2017). Securing balise-based train control systems using cryptographic random fountains. In 2017 IEEE Conference on Communications and Network Security, CNS 2017 (pp. 405-410). (2017 IEEE Conference on Communications and Network Security, CNS 2017; Vol. 2017-January). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/CNS.2017.8228689