Westermo and Eviden to jointly develop hardware to strengthen rail cybersecurity

Announcing the partnership between Westermo and Eviden at the 8th Railway Forum in Berlin, Thomas Riechmann, Eviden Vice President and COO Cybersecurity Services (left) shakes hands with Mikael Jidenius, Westermo Global Market Director - Trackside Networks (right).Westermo-Eviden

Westermo and Eviden announced a strategic partnership to develop security solutions for industrial data communications on 7 September 2023. Specifically, their joint project will focus on developing “crypto-secure” switches for railway applications.

Westermo Network Technologies, a specialist in industrial data communications, based in Västerås, Sweden, and Eviden, a France-based provider of managed security services (MSS), have entered into a partnership with the goal of developing high-level security solutions using “crypto-agile” operational technology and Internet of Things (IoT) devices for securing critical data communication in railway systems, as well as for other industries. They expect to receive rail industry certification for their first joint product by the end of 2023.

Westermo’s latest generation of Ethernet switches, a type of network hardware that is foundational to networking and the internet, offers additional hardware support for protecting critical data through end-to-end encryption in highly interconnected systems, as can be found in the rail industry, and thus helping critical infrastructure operators protect their systems from cyber-attacks. Thomas Riechmann, Vice President COO Cybersecurity Services at Eviden, said: “The IoT market is an exciting sector with huge economic potential. At the same time, the security risk here is very high due to multiple attack vectors in the communication between devices, companies, and the cloud. For this reason, we are delighted to partner with Westermo, contributing our cybersecurity expertise and comprehensive security portfolio, to enable end-to-end security for critical data communications.”

The first project to develop a crypto-agile switch range

Westermo and Eviden are collaborating in Germany to develop a new type of industrial Ethernet switch that will be more secure than existing switches. The new switches will be equipped with plug-in hardware security modules (HSMs) from Eviden, which will add an additional layer of security. The switches will also be able to update their crypto software over micro-SD memory cards, making them more resistant to future cyber threats.

The switches have dedicated hardware that can encrypt and decrypt data at high speeds. This hardware is separate from the CPU, which means that it does not slow down the performance of the switch. The switches support a variety of encryption algorithms, including AES-256, which is considered to be very secure. The switches can be configured to encrypt all traffic on the network or only specific traffic. The switches also have features that can help to prevent cyber-attacks, such as intrusion detection and prevention systems.

“Growing cyber threats and regulatory requirements will pose increasing security challenges for critical infrastructure operators in the coming years”, said Jenny Sjödahl, CEO of Westermo. “As a trusted provider of industrial data communication solutions, we are committed to ensuring that our customers’ networks remain secure and can be operated over the long term.”

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Author: Emma Dailey

Emma Dailey is an editor at RailTech.com and RailTech.be.

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