Secure Software Delivery and Installation in Embedded Systems

  • André Adelsbach
  • Ulrich Huber
  • Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3439)


Increasingly, software (SW) in embedded systems can be updated due to the rising share of flashable electronic control units (ECUs). However, current SW installation procedures are insecure: an adversary can install SW in a given ECU without any sender authentication or compatibility assessment. In addition, SW is installed on an all-or-nothing base: with the installation, the user acquires full access rights to any functionality. Concepts for solving individual deficiencies of current procedures have been proposed, but no unified solution has been published so far.

In this paper we propose a method for secure SW delivery and installation in embedded systems. The automotive industry serves as a case example leading to complex trust relations and illustrates typically involved parties and their demands. Our solution combines several cryptographic techniques. For example, public key broadcast encryption enables secure SW distribution from any provider to all relevant embedded systems. Trusted computing allows to bind the distributed SW to a trustworthy configuration of the embedded system, which then fulfills a variety of security requirements. Finally, we outline the management of flexible access rights to individual functionalities of the installed SW, thus enabling new business models.


Embed System Trusted Third Party Message Authentication Code Broadcast Channel Electronic Control Unit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Adelsbach, A., Huber, U., Sadeghi, A.R.: Secure software delivery and installation in embedded systems. Full version,
  2. 2.
    Heinisch, C., Simons, M.: Loading flashware from external interfaces such as CD-ROM or W-LAN and programming ECUs by an on-board SW-component (SAE Technical Paper Series 2004-01-0678). [20],
  3. 3.
    Heinrich, A., Müller, K., Fehrling, J., Paggel, A., Schneider, I.: Version management for transparency and process reliability in the ECU development. [19], pp. 219–230Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Schmitt, M.: Software-update, configuration and programming of individual vehicles on the aftermarket with an intelligent data-configurator. [19], pp. 1021–1046Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Alminger, H., Josefsson, O.: Software handling during the vehicle lifecycle. [19], pp. 1047–1055Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Huber, M., Weber, T., Miehling, T.: Standard software for in-vehicle flash reprogramming. [19], pp. 1011–1020Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Oeftiger, U.: Diagnose und Reparatur elektronisch unterstützter Fahrzeuge. [8]Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Euroforum (ed.): Jahrestagung Elektronik-Systeme im Automobil, Fachtag Design – Test – Diagnose elektronischer Systeme, Munich (2004)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    BMW Car IT: Das Potenzial von Software im Fahrzeug. Press report, BMW Group (2002),
  10. 10.
    Stölzl, S.: Software products for vehicles. [19], pp. 1073–1088Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Dodis, Y., Fazio, N.: Public key broadcast encryption for stateless receivers. In: Feigenbaum, J. (ed.) DRM 2002. LNCS, vol. 2696, pp. 61–80. Springer, Heidelberg (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fiat, A., Naor, M.: Broadcast encryption. In: Stinson, D.R. (ed.) CRYPTO 1993. LNCS, vol. 773, pp. 480–491. Springer, Heidelberg (1994), Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Naor, D., Naor, M., Lotspiech, J.: Revocation and tracing schemes for stateless receivers. In: Kilian, J. (ed.) CRYPTO 2001. LNCS, vol. 2139, pp. 41–62. Springer, Heidelberg (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Sadeghi, A.R., Stüble, C.: Property-based attestation for computing platforms: Caring about properties, not mechanisms (2004)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Daimler Chrysler AG: Functional specification of a flash driver version 1.3. Specification, Herstellerinitiative Software,
  16. 16.
    Dallmayr, C., Schlüter, O.: ECU software development with diagnostics and flash down-loading according to international standards (SAE Technical Paper Series 2004-01-0273). [20] ,
  17. 17.
    Müller, M.: IT-Security in Fahrzeugnetzen. Elektronik Automotive, 54–59 (2004), ISSN: 1614-0125Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    An, J.H., Dodis, Y., Rabin, T.: On the security of joint signature and encryption. In: Knudsen, L.R. (ed.) EUROCRYPT 2002. LNCS, vol. 2332, pp. 83–107. Springer, Heidelberg (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    VDI Society for Automotive and Traffic Systems Technology, ed.: Electronic Systems for Vehicles. In VDI Society for Automotive and Traffic Systems Technology, ed.: Electronic Systems for Vehicles, VDI Berichte 1789, Congress, Baden-Baden, Germany, VDI Verlag GmbH Düsseldorf (2003)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), ed.: SAE World Congress. In: Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), ed.: 2004 SAE World Congress, Detroit, Michigan, March 8–11, 2004, Detroit, Michigan (2004),

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • André Adelsbach
    • 1
  • Ulrich Huber
    • 1
  • Ahmad-Reza Sadeghi
    • 1
  1. 1.Horst Görtz Institute for IT SecurityRuhr-University BochumGermany

Personalised recommendations