Cybersecurity in rail: Protecting the industry's biggest assets

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Cybersecurity in rail: Protecting the industry's biggest assets

About the speaker
  • Shilpa Maniar joined the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Group (CISG) as Director Critical Infrastructure Reform and International Engagement in November 2022. In this role, Shilpa is responsible for leading reforms to the Security of Critical Infrastructure Act 2018 following recent significant cyber incidents, and is closely connected with the development of the 2023-2030 Australian Cyber Security Strategy. Shilpa is also responsible for leading the CISG’s efforts to build secure and resilient infrastructure with Australia’s international partners, leveraging existing forums such as the Critical 5 and Quad, while deepening bilateral engagements. Shilpa has extensive experience in coordination, policy and legal roles across the Home Affairs Portfolio. As the Director of Ministerial Executive Coordination, and acting Assistant Secretary of Ministerial and Parliamentary Branch, from November 2021 to November 2022, Shilpa played a central role in leading the portfolio’s efforts in the lead up to the Federal election, including the caretaker period, pre-election consultation with the opposition and the incoming government briefs, as well as coordinating the transition of the new Ministry. During this period, Shilpa also performed relief duties as Chief of Staff to the Secretary. Prior to joining Ministerial and Parliamentary Branch, Shilpa worked in various roles in the Australian Border Force (ABF), including leading the maturity of their strategy and policy capability, managing 24/7 operational capabilities including the Australian Border Operations Centre and National Border Targeting Centre, and as Executive Officer to the Assistant Commissioner of Border Patrol and Coordination Command. Prior to her roles in the ABF, Shilpa was a Departmental Liaison Officer in the Office of the Hon Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Home Affairs, and a Senior Legal Officer in the Department’s Legal Division, where she worked on a number of projects including the establishment of the ABF. Shilpa joined the then Department of Immigration and Border Protection as a Graduate in 2014. Shilpa was admitted as a legal practitioner to the ACT Supreme Court in 2015 after finishing her Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice through the Australian National University and graduating from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Law/Arts (French/Classical Languages).

Key takeaways

The rail sector is a prime target for cyber attacks due to its high-value assets and essential services.

Rail faces diverse cyber threats, including overreliance on operational technology and the storage of sensitive personal and financial data

Government regulation and industry collaboration are vital for mitigating cyber risks and safeguarding critical infrastructure in rail