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Hardware-Based Safety Platform for Railway Control and Safety Technology

Hardware-Based Safety Platform for Railway Control and Safety Technology

Digitalisation increases the risk of cyber attacks on the railway infrastructure. In the BMBF project HASELNUSS, a research network is developing a hardware-based security platform adapted to the special requirements of the Deutsche Bahn.


Information technology (IT) is increasingly being used to introduce new functionalities and to increase process efficiency in railway facilities. As a result of the digitalisation of the railway infrastructure and the linking up of control and security technology, however, the risk of cyber attacks is also increasing. Since the railway systems are also part of the critical infrastructures in Germany, they are correspondingly strictly regulated by IT security law. This digital transformation of the railway leads to new requirements for IT-based systems in the railway sector and requires new IT security solutions.


The aim of the HASELNUSS research project is to develop a hardware-based security platform for control and security technology that is adapted to the special requirements of the railways and provides the necessary IT security functions without influencing functional security. The platform offers measures to ensure system integrity and forms the basis for secure networking of the railway infrastructure.


The HASELNUSS architecture is based on a hardware security module of the latest generation, the "Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0", which serves as a security anchor, and the microkernel-based operating system PikeOS, which allows a secure coexistence of critical and non-critical applications and is easy to verify. On this basis, services for secure patch and update management, health monitoring, anomaly and attack detection are implemented.

The developed security platform will then be implemented in demonstrators and practically tested in the DB Netz AG test centre and in the Darmstadt railway operations field.


Participants and funding


The Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology in Darmstadt coordinates the project. A team from the University of Passau under the direction of Prof. Dr. Stefan Katzenbeisser, Chair of Computer Engineering, is involved in the project. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the project over a period of 3 years.


Project period 01.01.2017 - 31.12.2019
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