Welcome to PROPHYLAXE – Security for the Internet of Things

Lock and network cable with computer keyboard background

Security is a key issue in the envisioned “Internet of Things” (IoT) which involves machine-type communication of many, many battery driven nodes with low-complex wireless transceivers. Applications range from telemedicine, facility management, smart home networks etc. Secure solutions for such applications are mandatory not only because of sensitive personal information but also due to data integrity requirements etc.

Current security solutions for IoT fall far short due to the scalability problem: Nodes must be flexible managed and distributed in the network. Asymmetric schemes used on application layer (e.g. in web browsers) are too complex as well as computational- and energy intensive. Symmetric key schemes are 100 … 1000 times less complex (“lightweight security”) but assume a common secret key for the nodes.

Physical Layer Security is a promising new approach to establish security in IoT and to solve the scalability problem. It uses the principle of “physically unclonable function”, such as the wireless channel, to establish a unique secret key between the communication partners which is impossible to intercept. It makes use of information-theoretic results which can even guarantee “perfect secrecy”. Since keys are automatically installed, key distribution in these systems is easy to manage and requires no user interaction.

PROPHYLAXE – Providing Physical Layer Security for the Internet of Things, is a strategic research project supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (Bundesregierung stärkt die IT-Sicherheitsforschung) within BMBF program “IT-Sicherheitsforschung”, 4th call, which makes use of Physical Layer Security to foster new applications for the IoT.

Project facts:
Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institut
Priv.-Doz. Dr. habil. Gerhard Wunder
Schedule: 01.03.2013 – 31.08.2015
This project is supported by BMBF