KFKI, Wibu AG team on integrated security for industrial networks - Embedded.com

KFKI, Wibu AG team on integrated security for industrial networks

With a mission to develop an integrated security framework that can handle the mamy challenges of the Industrial Internet of Things, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and Wibu Systems AG have launched an intensive long term cooperative strategy.

According to Oliver Winzenried, CEO and founder of Wibu, they have begun intensive reseafch into finding suitable protection mechanisms against a number of different threats, and developing adequate defense solutions appropriate to the factory of the future.

Once defined and developed, he said they will be implemented in a system prototype for the production line of the SmartFactoryKL that DFKI has created. “Industrial companies will then be facilitated in the adoption of intelligent production technologies,” said Winzennied, “fully embracing the Industry 4.0 era in a secure way.”

According to Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wahlster, CEO DFKI,d. Wibu-Systems will be responsible for the adaptation and extension of its CodeMeter protection technology, so that RFID tags can be used as a protection hardware alternative to its CmDongles, and the authorization and right allocation can be executed via software. 

“DFKI will develop an integrated security concept and setup the production line for the testing and evaluation of the security technologies,” he said. “The protection concept will be flexible, retrofitted in existing production systems and it will repress potential manipulation attacks, unauthorized activations, know-how thefts and illegal imports of new software.

SmartFoctoryKL is the brain child of DFKI's Detlef Zuehlke who also founded the Center for Human-Machine-Interaction (ZMMI) which provides research and services in the area of the design of human-machine-systems for industrial applications.

Industry 4.0 is a project in the high-tech strategy of the German government, which promotes the computerization of traditional industries such as manufacturing with the goal of creating the intelligent factory (Smart Factory), which is characterized by adaptability, resource efficiency and ergonomics as well as the integration of customers and business partners in business and value processes.

In the United States similar efforts are under way. In addition to the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition, this is a large part of the direction being taken by General Electric with its Industrial Internet initiative, which is to take what has been learned about computing as well as wired and wireless connectivity over the last decade or more to advances in machine control, facilities, fleets and networks to create an Industrial Network based on intelligent machines and make use of advanced analytics to ensure efficient operation.

While most expers believe that such things as Industry 4.0 will not come to fruition for about 10-20 years, Wahlster emphasizes the importance of the initiative as well as that of security. “With Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things finds its way into the factories,” he said. “In order to use the advantages of cyber-physical production systems unaffected by external threats, Security by Design should play a central role already during the planning phase. This is the only way that would exclude sabotage and industrial espionage.”

Similar to Industry 4.0 initiative itself, security of the IoT and of all networks in the industrial environment is still in development according to Winzenried. Until then, he said, the issue of security in modern the industrial production environment must be dealt with by increasing manufacturers’ awareness of the serious security issues involved, and increasing their use of existing, if only partial, solutions.

“The rising pattern of single machines being networked becomes a target for perpetrators,” he said. “They exploit system weaknesses to intrude and interfere with production processes, thus causing immense damage or misusing crucial know- how.”

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