SECurity of Railways against Electromagnetic aTtacks

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SECRET is a research project in the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7-SST-2011-RTD1), call transport published on 20 July 2010

SECRET project objectives

  • identify the vulnerability points at different levels (from the electronic to the systemic vision)
  • identify EM attack scenarios and risk assessment (service degradation, potential accidents, economic impacts…)
  • identify public equipment which can be used to generate EM attacks
  • develop protection rules to strengthen the infrastructure (at electronic, architecture and systemic levels)
  • develop EM attack detection devices and processes
  • develop resilient architecture able to adequately react in case of EM attack detection
  • extract recommendations to ensure resiliency and contribute to IRS

Technical content / scope

SECRET addresses the protection of railway infrastructure against EM attacks. Railway infrastructure is an attractive target for EM attacks, because of its familiarity and ease of access, with extended economic and security consequences.

Today, the European rail network is evolving to harmonize the management system. This is reflected by new integrated technologies, adequate procedures and centralization of command centres. The new technologies facilitate the implementation of a harmonized system and improve the network competitiveness.

However, they are also highly vulnerable to EM attacks (HPM and EMP). Railway actors fear this growing EM vulnerability and have no knowledge on the extent and severity of consequences.

The risk of EM attacks is also increasing due to the higher use of interoperable systems (command/control, information systems). The harmonization of the European railway network results in a harmonized EM vulnerability. Thus, a device to generate EM attacks will have the same impact anywhere in Europe, facilitating the implementation of simultaneous EM attacks.

Meanwhile, with the proliferation of wireless systems, access to radiated emission equipment is radically democratized, which facilitates the manufacture of EM interference transmitters able to disturb the technologies used for management of the railway network.


  1. (Coordinator) IFSTTAR (France)
  2. ALSTOM TRANSPORT S.A. (Belgium)
  3. Fraunhofer Institute IAIS Germany)
  4. Politecnico di Torino (Italy)
  5. SNCF (France)
  6. TRIALOG (France )
  7. UIC (International)
  8. University of Liege, Institut Montefiore (Belgium)
  9. University of the BasqueCountry (Spain)
  10. ZANASI Alessandro Srl (Italy)


1 August 2012 - 30 November 2015

UIC Role

  • Expression of end user to needs for the whole rail sector
  • dissemination of the results among its members - Management of classified data
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Wednesday 1 August 2012