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DHS: Cybersecurity Coordinators and Vulnerability Assessments Mandatory for Rail Companies

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued new cybersecurity directives for the rail industry designed to protect freight and passenger rail lines from cyber-attacks. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) identified rail services as high risk and is mandating the changes be implemented immediately. The new rules make it mandatory for rail company owners and operators to have a cybersecurity coordinator, report cybersecurity attacks to CISA in 24 hours or less, and create a cybersecurity incident response plan. The rules also require owners to complete cybersecurity vulnerability assessments. Some policy makers pushed back against the mandatory reporting regulation, but DHS noted that the new requirements were baseline protections all organizations should follow.

Analyst Notes

These are the latest cybersecurity directives handed down by DHS this year as the agency seeks to improve critical infrastructure cybersecurity measures. The TSA is increasing the cybersecurity of the transportation sector through security directives, appropriately tailored regulations, and voluntary engagement with industry professionals. The TSA is also releasing guidance recommending that all other lower-risk transportation owners and operators voluntarily implement the same measures. This falls in line with the current administration’s whole of government approach to protecting critical infrastructure from cyber threats.