Our motivation: Research that benefits people

Industry 4.0 – Securely Networked

Fraunhofer Representative Office Beijing
© Fraunhofer
  • Secure Digital Business  

    Cloud Computing, Industry 4.0, Smart Data, the Internet of Things and Services – the digital transformation of the economy is already underway. But being able to leverage the economic potentials of this development means not only maintaining full control over data, but also having access to secure and reliable communication systems.

    The digital transformation of production represents enormous opportunities, especially for Germany as one of the world's most important industrialized nations, and the corporate sector is aware of the fact. Industry 4.0 applications such as sensor technology solutions, cyber-physical systems and exchanging planning data with suppliers and customers are already establishing themselves. By 2020 German business plans to invest €40 billion per year in digital production applications, according to a study by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Two thirds of the companies surveyed are already actively working on the digitalization and networking of their value creation chains.

    However, this also means rising demands on security. Today modern production facilities are already networked with one another. In the course of developments related to Industry 4.0, production networks are increasingly becoming corporate networks or even networks including external companies. This generates new opportunities for attacking industrial facilities. In addition to viruses and trojan horses, custom-tailored malware is an additional threat to production systems linked via the Internet. Such attacks can steal system parameters, take over control of machines, manipulate control units and interrupt processes.

    The fact that such concerns are already relevant and not just dark visions of the future was demonstrated all too dramatically by the computer worm Stuxnet, which was developed specifically to attack industrial facilities. And the security report of the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) also contains examples of just how dangerous attacks on production facilities can be. Thus for example hackers succeeded in gaining control of a blast furnace in a steel plant. The result: It was no longer possible to shut down the blast furnace and the entire plant was damaged.

© Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Contact Publishing Notes Data Protection Policy