In the field of IT security, there is often no direct path to the goal. The problems are usually complex and a great deal of know-how, experience and persistence are required to find intelligent solutions. But this is precisely what excites us – and the research results enable the development of useful innovations time and again to better safeguard modern information technology.
To find truly good solutions, it is often useful to bundle various competences, perspectives and resources. It is for this reason that genua participates in research projects: Here, we work together with universities, research institutes and other companies to solve fundamental problems in the area of IT security. Participants exchange and discuss know-how, with all sides benefiting from the collectively produced results. The sponsored projects thereby make an important contribution to the transfer of knowledge and strengthen Germany as a research and business location.
New Research Project
Quantum computers are expected to soon solve highly complex computational tasks extremely quickly. They therefore already pose a threat to current encryption algorithms. In the research project QuaSiModO (Quantum-Safe VPN Modules and Operation Modes), new quantum-resistant algorithms are studied, tested and implemented in VPN standards and VPN implementations. genua is the coordinator of the collaboration; project partners include ADVA Optical Networking SE, the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich as well as Fraunhofer AISEC.
The project runs until August 2022 and is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Further information about the project
New Research Project QuaSiModO Starts
Federal Ministry of Education and Research
QuaSiModO: Quantum-Safe virtual private networks (German article)
Magazine: Spektrum der Wissenschaft
Quantum Cryptography: Race against the big code-breaker (German article)
New Research Project
With partners from business and science, genua has been developing new IT security technologies for the improved monitoring and shielding of complex communication networks against cyberattacks in the WINTERMUTE research project since May 2020. The project focuses on the AI-supported situation assessment for enforcing security and improving usability for network management.
In cooperation with the research partners of WINTERMUTE, genua performs the role of the consortium leader. Project partners include the Human-Computer Interaction research group at the University of Bremen, the Privacy and Security in Information Systems group at the University of Bamberg, the Chair of Communication Networks at the University of Würzburg as academic partner, acs plus GmbH as well as IsarNet Software Solutions GmbH. The project runs until 2023 and receives funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Further information about the project
Artificial intelligence secures communication networks
Search Machine for Security Holes in Industrial Control Systems
Industrial control systems (ICS) are used nearly everywhere today. In the industry, for example, they control the turbines of power plants and production robots on assembly lines. In the public sector, they control computer tomographs in clinics or locking and air conditioning technology in buildings. The ICSs are, however, not designed for access from the Internet and are therefore either insufficiently or not at all protected against attacks – making them an easy target for hackers.
In the research project RiskViz, methods and tools are therefore being developed to obtain information about the vulnerability of such industrial systems in a legally compliant and responsible way. In the first step, a search machine was developed that detects the security issues of internal networks. Project partners were the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences as consortium leader, the Freie Universität Berlin, Koramis, the Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security, the Lechwerke AG, Munich Re, the Technologie Centrum Westbayern, and genua.
The project expired in 2018 and was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Intelligent Intrusion Detection Systems for Industrial Networks
Critical infrastructure such as energy and water supplies are essential for the entire population and must therefore be especially well protected against cyberattacks. At the same time, intervention in the internal function of the security solution should be only minimal. Conventional approaches can be applied here either not at all or only to a limited extent.
The objective of the INDI project was to use non-invasive data collection, machine-based learning methods and controlled network separation to create a security solution that optimally combines security and reliability. The research consortium comprised the University of Goettingen, the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, a renowned energy supplier and genua.
The project expired in 2017 and was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Early Detection and Defense Against Advanced Persistent Threats
Current security technologies such as virus scanners or sandboxes are not able to detect targeted attacks – they are usually identified only months or years later following suspicious actions in the internal network or after detecting the flow of sensitive data. The objective of the APT Sweeper project was therefore to detect and defend against malicious software early on. New here was the focus on the context and structure of the data transfer in the case of e-mail and web traffic. In this project, we cooperated with the FAU Erlangen, the University of Goettingen as well as our associated partners Siemens and the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).
The project expired in June 2017 and was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Securing Virtualized Networks
Significant improvements in efficiency can be achieved with virtualized systems and, increasingly, virtualized networks. The dissapearance of physical systems and borders poses a challenge for IT security, however: Where can acces be monitored, how can sensitive data be reliably separated? In the SarDiNe research project, our experts developed new security solutions for virtualized networks. Project partners were the Technical University of Munich, the University of Wuerzburg, the infosim company and the German IT security specialist genua as consortium leader.
The project expired in February 2018 and was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
A Digital Signature for Post-Quantum Cryptography
As soon as the first quantum computers are operational, the currently used public-key encryption technique will no longer offer protection: A quantum computer will be able to crack the difficult-to-solve computational tasks on which this encryption is based in a very short amount of time. The same applies for digital signatures: They are also based on public key techniques and will be insecure in the post-quantum era. For example, software manufacturers use digital signatures today to guarantee their customers that software updates are authentic. A team of researchers from the Technical University of Darmstadt and genua took on this challenge and, in the squareUP project, developed a market ready signature technique that can withstand quantum computers.
The project expired in 2017 and was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the Bavarian Ministry for Economic Affairs.
Hardware-Accelerated Firewall Without Backdoors
Requirements for the speed of firewalls are constantly increasing. Classic firewalls are already being pushed to their limits today, which explains the increased prevalence of hardware acceleration. However, today's hardware firewalls have a number of disadvantages: Their development is very complex and, unlike software, they are very inflexible, making it difficult to adapt to new requirements. In addition, practically undetectable backdoors can be implemented in hardware – this scenario is already reality. Using reconfigurable logic blocks (FPGAs), the HardFIRE concept has solved the aforementioned problems by providing flexibility and speed and giving the manufacturer complete control of the function.
The project expired in 2016 and was supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
Secure Smart Grid Load Balancer
The SSGLB system is intended to allow network operators to stabilize their networks by drawing a control reserve on short notice from larger customer household devices that can be temporarily switched off. This is achieved by connecting a so-called MicroSmartMeter (MSM) upstream of the customer end devices. This detects the potential control reserve based on the load and exchanges status information with the network operator. The network operator is thereby able to switch noncritical end devices, such as washing machines, on and off as necessary. A peak load can thereby be pushed to times of lower load. The end customers thus profit from financial benefits. In the SGLB project, genua worked together with EBSnet | eEnergy Software GmbH, evopro systems engineering AG, R-Tech GmbH, SenerTec-Center Nord-Ost Bayern GmbH, STADTWERKE KELHEIM GmbH & Co KG and the Regensburg University of Applied Sciences.
The project expired in September 2016 and was supported by the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Modular Security System for Secure Embedded Systems
Embedded systems – i.e., small computers – control an increasing number of processes in modern daily life: Numerous systems are embedded in cars, airplanes, medical devices and production machines that control vital processes. These systems must be protected against tampering and attacks. In the SIBASE project, a modular security system was developed for embedded systems. genua collaborated here with numerous partners: The Technical University of Munich, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Giesecke & Devrient GmbH, Infineon AG, Mixed Mode GmbH, SYSGO AG and Siemens AG.
The project expired in November 2016 and was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Firewall for Virtualization Hosts
Several virtual machines can be operated on the same hardware, thereby saving resources and costs. Problematic, however, is the safeguarding of the virtual machines, as the communication within the host system cannot be detected with conventional firewalls. The Brandenburg Technical University Cottbus and genua therefore developed a firewall for virtualization hosts in the "vmFIRE" project.
The project expired in November 2014 and was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Mobile Internet Joint Project:
Work and Payment
Although it is convenient to work and make payments via the mobile Internet and while it opens many new opportunities, the processes used here must be reliably secured. For this purpose, genua developed a laptop in this project that satisfies the highest security requirements using microkernel and separation technology. Project partners were the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Allianz Managed Operations & Services, Giesecke & Devrient GmbH, Virality GmbH and Wirecard AG.
The project expired in November 2014 and was supported by the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport, and Technology.
The goal of the PADIOFIRE project was to develop a new type of firewall for the comprehensive analysis of Web 2.0 applications. This is necessary as current firewalls are, in particular, unable to analyze Web 2.0 protocols, which are nested within each other on the application layer. Our project partners were the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus and the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. genua was responsible here for the asynchronous coupling of the firewall and analysis mechanisms.
The project expired in September 2013 and was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Security Framework for VoIP
In the SUNsHINE project, a security framework was developed for detecting and defending against fraudulent attacks in the widely used area of Voice-over IP communication (VoIP). Our partners were the University of Duisburg-Essen, Fraunhofer FOKUS and the ISACO GmbH. As a firewall specialist, our focus in the project was on the packet analysis in VoIP protocols.
The project expired in July 2013 and was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
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