Security Automation Solution for Creating a Cyber-Resilient Railway System

PETRAS CoSTCMoRS Project Team Awarded CyberASAP Grant to Commercialise Research Results


Dr. Hongmei (Mary) He, School of Computer Science and Informatics at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has been awarded a CyberASAP grant to commercialise the research results of their PETRAS project, CoSTCMoRS (Cognitive and Socio-Technical Cyber Security for Modern Railway Systems).

The CyberASAP project, DRS’OSA, is led by Mary He, together with Prof. Eerke Boiten, DMU, Prof. Jeremy Watson, UCL and Dr. Uchenna Ani, Keele University, as well as seven consulting project partners, including East West Rail, Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, COSTAIN, National Skills Academy for Rail, Vega Systems Limited and Cerberus Security Laboratories Ltd. The DRS’OSA project has passed Phase 1A for value proposition and is now in Phase 1B for market validation.

The CyberASAP (Cyber Security Academic Start-up Accelerator Programme) initiative is funded by the UK Government Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) and delivered through KTN and Innovate UK. Now entering its sixth year, CyberASAP provides academics with the expertise, knowledge and training needed to convert their research into technologies, products, and services in this key sector of the global economy. The programme creates a pipeline to move great cybersecurity ideas out of the university lab and into the commercial market.

Currently, smart railway initiatives can potentially pose major cyber risks to railway systems and services. The attack surface is significantly increased by the introduction of advanced IoT technologies. The railway is a critical national infrastructure. Malicious cyberattacks on the rail infrastructure could have far more serious consequences, including risks to human life. A holistic security solution is needed.

DRS’OSA offers an innovative security automation solution – Security ERP for creating a cyber-resilient railway system. The innovative solution is at the forefront of evolutionary cybersecurity by combining real-time cyber-attack detection with cyber incident management, addressing all socio-technical aspects of cybersecurity. The security ERP responds quickly to alert as soon as a cyberattack is detected, schedules resources to quickly recover compromised or damaged components, provides a user-friendly interface, and optimises employee workload.

This work is timely and critical to supporting the UK’s digital rail strategy. It will provide a holistic security solution for the UK’s digital railway plan, and improve the safety of railway systems and their users by mitigating the impact of a security incident that could affect the safety of rail services. In particular, the innovative solution will fill the gaps in the protection of national infrastructure, and it could provide a paradigm for protecting other national infrastructures.