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Ep.24 Cyber security on our rail network, Paul Appleton & George Bearfield

On this week’s episode of RTM’s Track Talk, host Ailsa Cowen is joined by two guests. Paul Appleton, Deputy Director of Railway Safety and HM Deputy Chief Inspector of Railways at ORR and George Bearfield, Health and Safety Director at Rock Rail. They discuss the increasing awareness of cyber safety in the rail world and why our cyber security is vital.

Paul spoke of how all our new modern trains are all heavily software-based. He explained how we’ve moved away from the electromechanical based systems meaning we need to make sure that we’re all ready to deal with any cyber security issues that may arise.

George reiterated how the risk to our cyber security is live and growing and Paul echoed his point by saying “sheer awareness” is a big issue.

Paul described that one of the biggest issues you find is that each part of the industry will have and operate its “own private language” which causes issues and that it’s not the safety departments responsibility to run the train system safely, it’s everybody's.

George said the “UK is generally world-class when it comes to cyber security, from the likes of GCHQ and right back to Alan Turing, the Bletchley code breakers”, meaning we know how to do this.

Paul and George repeat the message throughout that knowing our vulnerabilities, what are the things we need to protect against and learning are of high importance for the future. 

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