MUNICH — Researchers from Technische Universität München (TUM) have embarked on the SIBASE research project together with partners from industry and research after finding a security loophole in a mini combined heat and power (CHP) system of a large heating manufacturer.

The system was designed to allow remote access and maintenance from the Internet, but allowed an entry point for hackers.

The unusual feature of CHP systems is that they produce both heat and electricity, which is fed into the public grid. A number of mini CHP systems in detached houses can now be interconnected via the Internet to create virtual power plants with an impressive rating. The downside is that this makes them vulnerable to IT attacks. Hackers would be able to turn the controls up or down, which could lead to frost or heat damage.

To protect these networked systems, while also safeguarding know-how, intellectual property, and privacy, researchers from TUM and its partners from the Sicherheitsnetzwerk München (Munich Security Network) set up the SIBASE project. The aim is to create a security kit for safeguarding embedded systems.

The SIBASE research project for secure embedded systems is a collaboration between TUM, research partner Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, and the companies EADS, genua, Giesecke & Devrient, Infineon Technologies AG, Mixed Mode, Sysgo, and Siemens. The €14.5 million project is being funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) over a period of three years.

Publication date: 10/28/2013

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