Dr Richard Thomas PhD, BSc. (Hons), MSc., MBCS

Dr Richard Thomas

School of Computer Science
Industrial Fellow in Data Integration and Cybersecurity

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Richard Thomas is a UKRRIN  Industrial Fellow in Data Integration and Cybersecurity.

His Ph.D. Thesis reviewed the cybersecurity for some of the UK and European railway standards, identifying the challenges and proposing solutions to ensure future security. His research interests include the security of the ‘industrial internet-of-things’ and how we can leverage the wealth of data available from the rail sector. He also takes an interest in general cybersecurity topics including cybersecurity education and consumer issues, featuring on the BBC’s Rip Off Britain programme in mid-2018.

Richard was part of the Research Institute in Threats to Industrial Control Systems and is now a member of the Research Institute in Trustworthy Interconnected Cyberphysical Systems, receiving a grant to address the challenges the rail sector faces when moving towards compliance with the EU Network and Information Systems Directive.


  • Ph.D. in Computer Science, University of Birmingham, 2019
  • MSc. in Computer Security, University of Birmingham, 2015
  • BSc. (Hons) in Computer Science, University of Birmingham, 2014


Richard Thomas qualified with a BSc. (Hons) in Computer Science from the University of Birmingham in 2014, with a MSc. in Computer Security in 2015. He went on to study for a Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2018, with a particular focus on cybersecurity threats to the incoming European Rail Traffic Management (ERTMS) standard.

In 2018, he joined the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) as an Industrial Fellow in Data Integration and Cybersecurity in the UKRRIN Centre for Excellence in Digital Systems, based at the University of Birmingham.


Richard’s research interests lie in the areas of: cybersecurity of railway systems; assurance of industrial supply chains, data analytics; and cybersecurity issues associated with the ‘internet of things’.


  • de Ruiter, J., Thomas, R.J. and Chothia, T., 2016, June. A formal security analysis of ERTMS train to trackside protocols. In International Conference on Reliability, Safety and Security of Railway Systems (pp. 53-68). Springer, Cham.
  • Chothia, T., Ordean, M., de Ruiter, J. and Thomas, R.J., 2017, April. An Attack against message authentication in the ERTMS train to trackside communication protocols. In Proceedings of the 2017 ACM on Asia Conference on Computer and Communications Security (pp. 743-756). ACM.
  • Chothia, T., Holdcroft, S., Radu, A.I. and Thomas, R.J., 2017, August. Jail, Hero or Drug Lord? Turning a Cyber Security Course Into an 11 Week Choose Your Own Adventure Story. In 2017 USENIX Workshop on Advances in Security Education. Vancouver, BC.
  • Thomas, R.J., Ordean, M., Chothia, T. and de Ruiter, J., 2017, December. TRAKS: A Universal Key Management Scheme for ERTMS. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (pp. 327-338). ACM.

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