Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructures (CYSIS)

Innovationsallianz Deutsche Bahn – TU Darmstadt: Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructures (CYSIS)

The CYSIS working group was established by Deutsche Bahn AG and TU Darmstadt within the framework of the Innovation Alliance and the existing DB RailLab on 25 January 2016. The purpose of the group is to discuss the cybersecurity challenges faced by the increasing digitalisation of the railway sector.

CYSIS forms a basis for an intensive exchange of information between industry and academia in the railway sector, in order to benefit from each other's knowledge. Effective defense mechanisms and countermeasures are investigated with the assistance of partners from academia, including CYSEC, the Profile Area of Cybersecurity at TU Darmstadt. CYSIS regularly publishes whitepapers and technical guidelines.


CYSIS consists of the following subgroups, which meet on a regular basis:

  • Resilient Architectures (completed): The group discussed resilient architecturesfor railway signalling. A whitepaper has been published. It presents requirements for signalling systems in order to be prepared against cyberattacks.
  • Business Continuity Management (completed): The operators of signalling systems need to be prepared for dealing with attacks. Concepts are developed to maintain a minimum of train operation even under attack.
  • Security for Safety (completed): Train operation needs to be security aware. To build security in future interlocking systems, design decisions have to be made now. The decisions cover the system architecture, the lifecycle, the operation and the homologation process with the National Safety Authority. The subgroup created a whitepaper and a short version was published in Signal + Draht 5/2018 in English and German.
  • ETCS and Security (completed): Security aspects of the European Train Control System (ETCS) are investigated. It is currently the only signalling system in Germany that utilizes wireless information transmission, which has a significantly larger attack surface.
  • Holistic Security (completed): Typically, security is regarded separately in railway signalling, rolling stock, and fixed installations. For a strong security concept, a holistic approach is required that includes the consideration of all three parts together.
  • Internet of Railway Things (completed): The group discusses essential security aspects of railway IoT by means of two realistic use cases. The security includes security requirements, attack vectors, threats, countermeasures, security architectures, and more.