The United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced a new cybersecurity security directive regulating designated passenger and freight railroad carriers. Building on the TSA’s work to strengthen defenses in other transportation modes, this security directive is designed to further enhance cybersecurity preparedness and resilience for the nation’s railroad operations.
Developed with extensive input from industry stakeholders and federal partners, including the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), this Enhancing Rail Cybersecurity – SD 1580/82-2022-01 strengthens cybersecurity requirements and focuses on performance-based measures to achieve critical cybersecurity outcomes.
The security directive requires that TSA-specified passenger and freight railroad carriers take action to prevent disruption and degradation to their infrastructure to achieve the following critical security outcomes:
- Develop network segmentation policies and controls to ensure that the Operational Technology (OT) system can continue to safely operate if an Information Technology (IT) system has been compromised and vice versa
- Create access control measures to secure and prevent unauthorized access to critical cyber systems
- Build continuous monitoring and detection policies and procedures to detect cybersecurity threats and correct anomalies that affect critical cyber system operations
- Reduce the risk of exploitation of unpatched systems through application of security patches and updates for operating systems, applications, drivers, and firmware on critical cyber systems in a timely manner using a risk-based methodology
Passenger and freight railroad carriers are required to:
- Establish and execute a TSA-approved Cybersecurity Implementation Plan that describes the specific cybersecurity measures the passenger and freight rail carriers are utilizing to achieve the security outcomes set forth in the security directive
- Establish a Cybersecurity Assessment Program to proactively test and regularly audit the effectiveness of cybersecurity measures and identify and resolve vulnerabilities within devices, networks, and systems
This is the latest in TSA’s performance-based security directives; previous security directives include requirements such as reporting significant cybersecurity incidents to CISA, establishing a cybersecurity point of contact, developing, and adopting a cybersecurity incident response plan, and completing a cybersecurity vulnerability assessment.