UIC to Host Online Event to Mark 2021 Security Week

The Covid-19 pandemic led not only to a global health emergency but also introduced unique security challenges for the rail sector-UIC

The UIC Security Division is organising the seventh ‘Security Week’ event in June 2021. Because of the ongoing pandemic, the event will be organised online as a set of three online sessions, during the three first weeks, on Wednesdays from 10am to 13pm CEST. Each session will focus on one of the following topics which were selected by the Steering Committee of the UIC Security Platform:

  • Covid-19: The Security Landscape for Rail & Public Transport (with the support of UITP) (on the 2nd of June)
  • Adapting Behaviour to New Cyber Threats (on the 9th of June)
  • International Cooperation in Rail Security (on the 16th of June)

Security Weeks 2021 is open to UIC members, railway security experts, representatives of railway companies, infrastructure managers, but also external relevant parties such as representatives from authorities, practitioners, trainers, communication experts, researchers, or members of the academia.

Covid-19: The Security Landscape for Rail & Public Transport

The Covid-19 pandemic led not only to a global health emergency but also introduced unique security challenges for the rail sector. Generally, criminals have taken advantage of the pandemic and adopted their modi operandi to reflect Covid-19 narratives. For example, the push to use digital instead of paper tickets led to an increase in fraudulent ticket sales for some rail operators. Further, the enforcement of Covid-19 related hygiene measures on railway premises has led to an increased aggression towards staff in some cases.

Looking to the future, the health crisis will most likely be followed by an economic one, which is expected to lead to an increase in criminal activities such as metal theft or illegal migration.

This session will address how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the global railway security landscape by sharing lessons learned from UIC security platform members and UITP Security Committee examining the changing security picture throughout the pandemic thanks to the UIC Covid-19 Task Force questionnaires and discuss how the rail security sector can prepare for the post-Covid-19 future.

Adapting Behaviour to New Cyber Threats

Cybersecurity is a growing concern for the railway sector. While cybercrime was already expanding in the last years, the trends of increased digitalisation and implementation of cyber-based tools only accelerated due to the restrictions associated with the pandemic. For example, online scams went viral as the pandemic gave criminals new opportunities to exploit the fact that more and more employees worked from home. This new cybercriminal context revealed once more that public awareness and human behaviour can be the main vulnerabilities, but also key mitigation measures, against attacks when properly developed. Furthermore, more and more services turned to digitalization quicker, in order to reduce the amount of person-to-object potential contamination sites.

The objective of this session is to share experiences between rail companies and security experts about how cyber threats evolved during the pandemic. The session also aims to analyze how the human factor has adapted to the new attacks and to provide recommendations on how to improve behavioural adaptation.

International Cooperation in Rail Security

Enhancing international cooperation in railway security has always been one of the top priorities for the sector. Sharing knowledge and best practices across railways is crucial to create a common understanding of opportunities and barriers for the railway sector. Cooperation also allows railway actors to exchange information on security-related events.

The UIC Security Platform provides a trusted space for railway security actors to come together and cooperate through both its own tools and its participation in international projects. This session will present the latest results from the Network of Quick Responders and demonstrate the Rail security Hub – our interactive tool for experience exchange.

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