Signal jamming attacks against communication-based train control: Attack impact and countermeasure

Subhash Lakshminarayana, Girish Revadigar, Jabir Shabbir Karachiwala, Sristi Lakshmi Sravana Kumar, Yih Chun Hu, Sang Yoon Chang, David K.Y. Yau

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

Abstract

We study the impact of signal jamming attacks against the communication based train control (CBTC) systems and develop the countermeasures to limit the attacks' impact. CBTC supports the train operation automation and moving-block signaling, which improves the transport efficiency. We consider an attacker jamming the wireless communication between the trains or the train to wayside access point, which can disable CBTC and the corresponding benefits. In contrast to prior work studying jamming only at the physical or link layer, we study the real impact of such attacks on end users, namely train journey time and passenger congestion. Our analysis employs a detailed model of leaky medium-based communication system (leaky waveguide or leaky feeder/coaxial cable) popularly used in CBTC systems. To counteract the jamming attacks, we develop a mitigation approach based on frequency hopping spread spectrum taking into account domain-specific structure of the leaky-medium CBTC systems. Specifically, compared with existing implementations of FHSS, we apply FHSS not only between the transmitter-receiver pair but also at the track-side repeaters. To demonstrate the feasibility of implementing this technology in CBTC systems, we develop a FHSS repeater prototype using software-defined radios on both leaky-medium and open-air (free-wave) channels. We perform extensive simulations driven by realistic running profiles of trains and real-world passenger data to provide insights into the jamming attack's impact and the effectiveness of the proposed countermeasure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWiSec 2018 - Proceedings of the 11th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages160-171
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450357319
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 18 2018
Event11th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks, WiSec 2018 - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: Jun 18 2018Jun 20 2018

Publication series

NameWiSec 2018 - Proceedings of the 11th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks

Other

Other11th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks, WiSec 2018
CountrySweden
CityStockholm
Period6/18/186/20/18

Keywords

  • Attack impact
  • Communication-based train control
  • Frequency hopping spread spectrum
  • Signal jamming attack

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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  • Cite this

    Lakshminarayana, S., Revadigar, G., Karachiwala, J. S., Sravana Kumar, S. L., Hu, Y. C., Chang, S. Y., & Yau, D. K. Y. (2018). Signal jamming attacks against communication-based train control: Attack impact and countermeasure. In WiSec 2018 - Proceedings of the 11th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks (pp. 160-171). (WiSec 2018 - Proceedings of the 11th ACM Conference on Security and Privacy in Wireless and Mobile Networks). Association for Computing Machinery, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1145/3212480.3212500