Product Protection

Big economic damages which reach always new record values originate from the dishonest imitation of products, components and design. The negative effects of technology theft and product piracy are a serious menace. The manufacturers lose shares of the market and suffer image damages. Consumers use (unconsciously) inferior products whose security, functional ability and reliability stands in question. Even national economies are weakened, in the end, by investment decline, job dismantling and tax failures.

Embedded systems are a component of many modern capital goods and consumer goods. If no preventive protection technology is used, attacks on hardware and software in embedded systems are possible. The attack-scope ranges from specific modifications up to entire reverse engineering and product piracy. By suitable measures in the electronics and software it is possible to thwart such attacks.


Fraunhofer AISEC develops technological preventive measures on the basis of the newest scientific knowledge to counteract product piracy and to protect enterprise values. The application-oriented security experts of AISEC have many years of project experience and proven professional competence.

Within the scope of the research offensive Innovations Against Product Piracy funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, employees of the Fraunhofer AISEC (at that time still under the name Fraunhofer SIT) have developed innovative solutions for the protection of embedded systems and have supported the involved industrial partners to apply preventive measures in three different products. This work was done during the joint research project Gestaltung von Piraterierobusten Produkten und Prozessen (Creation of piracy-robust products and processes).

Fraunhofer AISEC is a member of the consortium Product- and Know-how Protection ( within the VDMA (Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau - German Engineering Federation).

Skills and services at a glance

  • Modern laboratory for security analysis and assessment of embedded systems
  • Product specific security solutions
  • Hard- and software based protection measures and imitation barriers (protection against: manipulation, reverse engineering and product counterfeiting)
  • Identification of components and spare parts
  • Design of counterfeit-proof embedded systems
  • Applicable implementation of state of the art cryptography
  • Imitation protection with physical unclonable functions


Protecting Embedded Systems against Product Piracy


Product Protection: Technical measures to combat piracy and reverse engineering

Information sheet

Machines with built-in copy protection

Research news

  • V. Immler, M. Hennig, L. Kürzinger and G. Sigl. “Practical Aspects of Quantization and Tamper-Sensitivity for Physically Obfuscated Keys”. In: Cryptography and Security in Computing Systems. 2016.
  • M. Hiller, L. Kürzinger, G. Sigl, S. Müelich, S. Puchinger and M. Bossert. “LowArea Reed Decoding in a Generalized Concatenated Code Construction for PUF”. In: Proceedings of the IEEE Computer Society Annual Symposium on VLSI (ISVLSI). 2015.
  • O. Schimmel and M. Hennig. „Kopier- und Manipulationsschutz für eingebettete Systeme“. In: Datenschutz und Datensicherheit – DuD, Volume 38, Issue 11, pp 742 – 746, November 2014.


  • PiratPro – Gestaltung von Piraterierobusten Produkten und Prozessen (Creation of piracy-robust products and processes)
  • For a manufacturer of software protection dongles cryptogtaphic procedures were valued and developed
  • For a luxury goods manufacturer measures were developed for the prevention of grey market trade
  • For a car company mechanisms were developed for the detection of original spare parts
  • The vulnerability of embedded systems against reverse engineering has been practically tested and possibilities for improvement were shown (e.g. smart meter)
  • For different small and medium-size companies product-redesigns on PCB- level and firmware code were developed to prevent product piracy