Security Engineering Projects

UNICARagil – Disruptive Modular Architectures for Agile, Automated Vehicle Concepts


UNICARagil is a collaborative project carried out by a consortium of seven German universities and six industrial partners, with funding provided by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany. In the scope of this project, disruptive modular structures for agile, automated vehicle concepts are researched and developed. Four prototype vehicles of different characteristics based on the same modular platform are going to be build up over a period of four years. The four fully automated and driverless vehicles demonstrate disruptive architectures in hardware and software, as well as disruptive concepts in safety, security, verification and validation.

The Security Engineering Group is responsible for the development of a security concept such that attacks on the autonomous vehicles cannot be carried out easily. We aim to integrate security aspects already during design phase. In this way, we guarantee that our measures become an integral part of the future vehicle.

For more information, please contact or visit the official project website.

Funded by: BMBF

CROSSING – Cryptography-Based Security Solutions (DFG Collaborative Research Center)

Crossing Logo

A fundamental prerequisite for the development of society and the economy is that the actors and processes of present and future IT infrastructures can justifiably trust each other. Cryptography is an essential enabler of such trust, supporting important protection goals such as confidentiality, integrity, authenticity, and non-repudiation. Despite remarkable growth over the last 35 years in both the theory and practice of cryptography, today's solutions do not remotely meet all the requirements that arise in new and next generation computing environments. The goal of CROSSING is to provide cryptography-based security solutions enabling trust in new and next generation computing environments. The solutions will meet the efficiency and security requirements of the new environments and will have sound implementations. They will be easy to use for developers, administrators, and end users of IT, even if they are not cryptography experts.

Funded by: DFG

Privacy and Trust for Mobile Users (DFG Doctoral college)

The Doctoral College “Privacy and Trust for Mobile Users” was launched in October 2015. It is a highly interdisciplinary collaboration between Computer Science and the fields of Law, Economics, Sociology, and usability research funded as Research Training Group by the German National Science Foundation. Mobile information and communication technology has become virtually ubiquitous due to the proliferation of smartphones and tablet computers; large sections of the society use it to their advantage. In reference to the relationship users-network, public debates highlight the increasing transparency of users – in the sense of a surveillance society – while the network is deemed to become increasingly nontransparent, i.e. inscrutable. The proposed Research Training Group (RTG) plans major contributions to reversing this trend: It shall enable better privacy protection for users and better transparency, i.e. assessability of the network; Privacy protection shall be customizable to personal interests yet manageable by the lay person; Privacy-opposing economic or societal interests shall be better reconciled.

Funded by: DFG

NICER – Networked Infrastructureless Cooperation for Emergency Response

Krisen, Katastrophen und Großschadensereignisse werden durch Naturgewalt, menschliches oder technisches Versagen sowie Gewalt und Terror ausgelöst. Sie bedrohen Menschenleben, die öffentliche Sicherheit im betroffenen Gebiet und die Wirtschaft überregional. Technische Infrastrukturen werden dabei beschädigt oder fallen aus. Der LOEWE-Schwerpunkt NICER (von Englisch „Networked Infrastructureless Cooperation for Emergency Response“) erforscht, wie infrastrukturlose Informations- und Kommunikations-technologie im Krisenfall Menschen vernetzen und damit eine Kooperation zur Bewältigung der Krise ermöglichen kann.

Funded by: LOEWE, Hessische Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung Wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz

Innovationsallianz Deutsche Bahn – TU Darmstadt: Cyberyscurity for Critical Infrastructures (CYSIS)

Control and safety systems play a central role in the safe operations of trains in the railway networks worldwide. In the past, signalling systems were constantly refined to reflect changes in technology and achieve a high level of safety and reliability. Due to the increasing use of electronic signaling systems, new threats with regard to security emerged. In collabration with Deutsche Bahn Netz we focus on topics like risk management for critical infrastructures, the security design of the next generation signal boxes, and the threat analysis for railway infrastructures. The research is performed in the context of the alliance of innovation between TU Darmstadt and Deutsche Bahn.

Funded by: Deutsche Bahn

Enhancing Critical Infrastructure Protection with innovative SECurity framework (CIPSEC)

In recent years, the majority of the world's CCIPSEC Logoritical Infrastructures CIs evolved to become more flexible, cost efficient and able to offer better services and conditions for business opportunities. Towards this evolution, CIs and companies offering CI services had to adopt many of the recent advances of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) field. This adaptation however, was rather hasty and without thorough evaluation of its impact on security. The result was to leave CIs vulnerable to a whole new set of threats and attacks that impose high levels of risk to the public safety, economy and welfare of the population. In so far, the main approach to protect CIs is to handle them as comprehensive entities and offer them a complete solution for their overall infrastructures and systems (IT&OT departments). However, complete CI protection solutions exist in the form of individual products from individual companies. These products integrate only in tools/solutions designed by the same company, thus offering limited technical solutions. The main aim of CIPSEC is to create a unified security framework that orchestrates state-of-the-art heterogeneous security products to offer high levels of protection in IT (information technology) and OT (operational technology) departments of CIs. As part of this framework CIPSEC will offer a complete security ecosystem of additional services that can support the proposed technical solutions to work reliably and at professional quality. These services include vulnerability tests and recommendations, key personnel training courses, public-private partnerships (PPPs) forensics analysis, standardization and protection against cascading effects. All solutions and services will be validated in three pilots performed in three different CI environments (transportation, health, environment). CIPSEC will also develop a marketing strategy for optimal positioning of its solutions in the CI security market.

More information:

A video explaining the project:

Funded by: European Comission (H2020)

HASELNUSS: Hardware-based Security Platform for Railway Command and Control Systems


Information Technology (IT) is increasingly utilized in railway systems to introduce new functions and improve process efficiency. Due to the digitalization of the railway infrastructure and the replacement of proprietary networking infrastructures with IP-based infrastructures the risks of cyberattacks increases and new IT security requirements appear. As the railway system is a critical infrastructure, that is strongly regulated by the German IT security act (IT-Sicherheitsgesetz), appropriate security solutions need to be developed. The aim of HASELNUSS is the development of a customized, hardware-based security platform for the railway command and control system that provides the required security functions without jeopardizing safety. The platform features provisions to ensure the system integrity and constitutes the foundation for secure infrastructure networking. It includes secure patch and update management, health monitoring, anomaly and attack detection as well as countermeasures against side-channel attacks. The developed security platform will be implemented in demonstrators during the project.

More information:

Funded by: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Center for Research in Security and Privacy

More than 400 researchers in Darmstadt are working on the key research topics in cybersecurity. Their activities are combined within CRISP, the Center for Research in Security and Privacy. CRISP is comprised of several partner institutions: Technische Universität Darmstadt with its profile area for cybersecurity and privacy protection CYSEC, the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences (h_da), and the Fraunhofer Institutes for Secure Information Technology (Fraunhofer SIT) and for Computer Graphics Research (IGD), both located in Darmstadt. This partnership represents the largest alliance of research institutes in the area of cybersecurity within Europe. The research projects are interdisciplinary,involving various subject areas such as informatics/computer science, engineering, philosophy, physics, psychology, law and economics – and they cooperate both nationally and internationally with other research and industry partners.

Funded by: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Hessen State Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts (HMWK)