An increasing number of unsecured, computer-guided production machinery and networks in production facilities are gradually evolving into gateways for data theft. New security technologies may directly shield the sensitive data that is kept there. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology SIT in Darmstadt exhibited how these security gaps can be closed up at this year's CeBIT. They presented, for example, a software application that immediately encrypts manufacturing data as soon as they emerge. Integrated into computer and equipment, they ensure that both communicate with each other through a protected transportation channel and that only licensed actions are executed. "To the best of our knowledge, no comparable safeguard has previously existed for manufacturing data that reside directly in the machine tool," states Thomas Dexheimer from the SIT's Security Testlab. Digital Rights Management (DRM) controls all important parameters of the assignment, such as designated use, quantity, etc. This way, brand manufacturers are able to guarantee that even external producers can only produce an authorized quantity, as instructed in advance - and no additional pirated units.
The Trusted Platform Module is for secured networks. This relates to a small computer chip that can encrypt, decrypt, and digitally sign the data. Installed into a network component, it indicates which software is running on the component, and assigns a distinct identity to it. "As soon as the software changes in a component, the adjacent component registers this occurrence and notifies the administrator. Hacker attacks can be exposed quickly and easily this way," says Dr. Carsten Rudolph, "Trust and Compliance" department head at SIT.