Security analysis of urban railway systems: The need for a cyber-physical perspective

Binbin Chen, Christoph Schmittner, Zhendong Ma, William G. Temple, Xinshu Dong, Douglas L. Jones, William H. Sanders

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


Urban railway systems are increasingly relying on information and communications technologies (ICT). This evolution makes cybersecurity an important concern, in addition to the traditional focus on reliability, availability, maintainability and safety. In this paper, we examine two examples of cyber-intensive systems in urban railway environments—a communications-based train control system, and a mobile app that provides transit information to commuters—and use them to study the challenges for conducting security analysis in this domain. We show the need for a cyber-physical perspective in order to understand the cross-domain attack/defense and the complicated physical consequence of cyber breaches. We present security analysis results from two different methods that are used in the safety and ICT security engineering domains respectively, and use them as concrete references to discuss the way to move forward.

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


OtherInternational Conference on Computer Safety, Reliability, and Securitym, SAFECOMP 2015 and held 3rd International Workshop on Assurance Cases for Software-Intensive Systems ASSURE 2015, Workshop on Dependable Embedded and Cyber-Physical Systems and Systems-of-Systems, DECSoS 2015, 2nd International Workshop on the Integration of Safety and Security Engineering, ISSE 2015, Workshop on Reliability and Security Aspects for Critical Infrastructure Protection, ReSA4CI 2015, and 4th InternationalWorkshop on NextGeneration of System Assurance Approaches for Safety-Critical Systems SASSUR, 2015


  • Cyber-physical systems
  • Security analysis
  • Urban railway systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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