IT security for vehicle access to Salzburg’s Old Town

IT security experts of the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences conduct research for a safe access to Salzburg’s Old Town

The access to the old part of Salzburg has been regulated for some time by retractable bollards that are operated by vehicle drivers with access authorization via a manual remote control.
To enable an automated access to the Old Town, which provides higher safety from unauthorized entry, Siemens AG Salzburg commissioned the Center for Secure Energy Informatics at the Information Technology & Systems Management degree program to evaluate possible solutions.

The “Poller Project” was prepared by master student Florian Ramspott and researchers from the center, Michael Fischinger, Norbert Egger and Christian Neureiter; the showcase was presented now.
In the approach of the IT security experts, the vehicle sends data to the bollard system via Bluetooth, the bollard system reads the signal accordingly and authenticates the vehicle. Using demonstrators, Ramspott, Fischinger and Egger showed which data and signals are protected to prevent possible manipulation of the bollards. The system is based on a special software architecture (FREDOSAR), which was developed by the experts of the center for projects in the IOT context. The solution for the safe entry of Salzburg’s Old Town lies in encrypted data transmission with state-of-the-art security levels.

Wolfgang Schneider, Branch Manager of Siemens Salzburg, was pleased that “the project on bollard safety is another successful example of the benefits of research at the Center for Secure Energy Informatics”.


Award for master thesis

Christian Promper, alumnus of the master course Information Technology & Systems Management, was awarded with the “AK Wissenschaftspreis 2017” for his thesis titled “Anomaly Detection in Smart Grids with Imbalanced Data Methods” supervised by Dominik Engel.
This year’s research question of the Salzburg Chamber of Labor was how to improve the working and living conditions of workers in terms of distributive justice.

Detection of anomalies in Smart Grids
In his thesis, Christian Promper dealt with anomaly detection in Smart Grids. The detection of anomalies plays an important role for the trouble-free future energy supply with Smart Grids.
“Currently there is little experience in smart grid anomaly detection. Since anomalies are rare, the use of common detection methods causes poor detection of anomalies, because the imbalance results in significantly more data items being attributed to common behaviour rather than anomalies within smart grids,” says Promper.
As part of his work, he therefore examined various methods to improve the detection rate for rare irregularities in data sets. In a first step Promper examined various ways to account for imbalanced data in general. In addition, Promper created a three-layer smart grid architecture with intrusion detection systems using imbalanced data methods at each level. This proposed approach outperformed common methods.

Center for Secure Energy opens

Yesterday the Center for Secure Energy Informatics (CSE) was opened.
As the successor of the Josef Ressel Center (2012 – 2017) the CSE extends the existing cooperation with company partners as well as the research fields.

Robert Bosch GmbH, Lieber Lieber Software and Successfactory joined the CSE as new partners in addition to the existing partners Salzburg AG, Salzburg Wohnbau and Siemens.

Besides the new partners the CSE extends its field of research to Electromobility, Smart Home, Internet of Things and Blockchain Technology.

The CSE has been inaugurated on November 7 by the leadership of Salzburg University of Applied Sciendes, by Ministerialrätin Dr. Ulrike Unterer (vice president Christian Doppler Forschungsgesell-schaft) and Dr. Wilfried Haslauer (governor of Salzburg).

FH Salzburg, Eröffnung Zentrum für sichere Energieinformatik – 07.11.2017 Foto: FH/Kolarik Andreas, Wolfgang Schneider, Roland Wernik, Walter Tenschert, Dominik Engl

FH Salzburg, Eröffnung Zentrum für sichere Energieinformatik – 07.11.2017 Foto: FH/Kolarik Andreas, LH Willfried Haslauer, Dominik Engl

Tariff selection for electric vehicles

Fabian Knirsch together with Andreas Unterweger and Dominik Engel researched the use of privacy preserving blockchain technology in the energy trade for electric vehicles charging stations.

Last week Fabian presented their results on “Privacy-preserving block-chain-based electric vehicle charging with dynamic tariff decisions” at the D-A-CH+ Energieinformatik 2017, the renowned conference in the field of energy informatics.

Electric vehicles are gaining widespread adoption and are a key component in the establishment of the smart grid. Beside the increasing number of electric vehicles, a dense and widespread charging infrastructure will be required.
This offers the opportunity for a broad range of different energy providers and charging station operators, both of which can offer energy at different prices depending on demand and supply. While customers benefit from a liberalized market and a wide selection of tariff options, such dynamic pricing use cases are subject to privacy issues and allow to detect the customer’s position and to track vehicles for, e.g., targeted advertisements.
This paper presents a reliable, automated and privacy-preserving selection of charging stations based on pricing and the distance to the electric vehicle. The protocol builds on a blockchain where electric vehicles signal their demand and charging stations send bids similar to an auction. The electric vehicle owner then decides on a particular charging station based on the supply-side offers it receives. This paper shows that the use of blockchains increases the reliability and the transparency of this approach while preserving the privacy of the electric vehicle owners.

For further details, please see:

  • [PDF] [DOI] F. Knirsch, A. Unterweger, and D. Engel, “Privacy-preserving blockchain-based electric vehicle charging with dynamic tariff decisions,” Computer Science – Research and Development, 2017.
    author = {Knirsch, Fabian and Unterweger, Andreas and Engel, Dominik},
    title = {Privacy-preserving blockchain-based electric vehicle charging with dynamic tariff decisions},
    journal = {Computer Science - Research and Development},
    year = {2017},
    month = {9},
    issn = {1865-2042},
    doi = {10.1007/s00450-017-0348-5},
    pdf = {},
    url = {},

Phd thesis on ‘A Domain-Specific, Model Driven Engineering Approach for Systems Engineering in the Smart Grid’

Book Cover: A Domain-Specific, Model Driven Engineering Approach for Systems Engineering in the Smart GridChristian Neureiter, the original author of the SGAM Toolbox, has successfully completed his PhD thesis on “A Domain-Specific, Model Driven Engineering Approach for Systems Engineering in the Smart Grid”.

The doctoral thesis is available at under the same title.

The research presented in this book covers considerations on how to utilize Systems Engineering (SE) and Model Driven Engineering (MDE) concepts for the development of robust and dependable Smart Grids. It discusses the specification and implementation of a standards-based Domain Specific Language (DSL), denoted as SGAM Toolbox. Furthermore, it demonstrates the application of this toolbox on basis of different case studies. The implementation results are evaluated in different ways and a summarizing scientific discussion identifies different issues that require future research. One of the intentions of this book is to complement scientific considerations with concepts for practical applicability. Thus, the described results (especially the SGAM Toolbox) are publicly available.

Virtualization of the Smart Grid

With the increased use of energy from renewable sources, electricity will be generated in a distributed way and the current power grid will transform to a Smart Grid. This creates new demands on the supply networks and the ICT infrastructure.

In VirtueGrid, a new project at the research center, Armin Veichtlbauer, Oliver Langthaler and Ulrich Pache examine how far the ICT infrastructure can support current and future requirements through virtualization.

“The focus of VirtueGrid is the question how we can create a reliable, efficient and secure infrastructure that best fulfills all technical and legal aspects. Subsequent adaptations in the Smart Grid should be possible flexibly via software configuration,” explains project manager Armin Veichtlbauer.

Therefore, in the VirtueGrid project, different scenarios are defined and solution concepts are developed using network virtualization techniques. The concepts are evaluated together with the project partners in three stages with simulations, laboratory tests, and field tests.

Communication in the Smart Grid

In industrial communication, OPC UA simplifies the exchange of data between machines and devices and enables a high level of data exchange between manufacturers and platforms.

Therefore researcher Armin Veichtlbauer and ITS Masterstudent Martin Ortmayer examined how the communication protocol is suitable for exchanging data between field devices and with back-end solutions in the OpenNES project. The aim was also to evaluate whether a deployment as a middleware solution for an open and interoperable communication infrastructure is possible for the smart grid.

Armin Veichtlbauer recently presented the results of these investigations at INDIN 2017, the “IEEE 15th International Conference of Industrial Informatics”.
Based on a prototype it was show that the integration of OPC UA in field devices is possible. The integration was evaluated according to criteria such as the size of the storage requirement, the CPU load and the delay in communication. The researcher could prove that OPC UA can be used sensibly for the communication of field devices. Their study also provides an estimate of the costs in terms of time and storage requirements for a selected platform.

Further details can be found in the publication:

  • [PDF] A. Veichtlbauer, M. Ortmayer, and T. Heistracher, “OPC UA Integration for Field Devices,” in Proceedings of the IEEE 15th International Conference on Industrial Informatics (INDIN 2017), Emden, Germany, 2017. to appear.
    author = {Armin Veichtlbauer and Martin Ortmayer and Thomas Heistracher},
    title = {{OPC UA Integration for Field Devices}},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE 15th International Conference on Industrial Informatics (INDIN 2017)},
    year = {2017},
    address = {Emden, Germany},
    month = jul,
    note = {to appear.},
    pdf = {},

Presentation “Digital Salzburg” at the European Forum Alpbach

The masterplan for ICT in Salzburg was presented at the European Forum in Alpbach on August 25, 2017. We are excited that Energy Informatics is part of the strategy for future ICT in Salzburg.

Dominik Engel presented the vision of the Center for Secure Energy Informatics to be established in Salzburg.

For more information see (in German).

Presentation of Energy Informatics as a focus field in the future of Salzburg’s ICT strategy: the Governor of Salzburg, Wilfried Haslauer, Environmental Secretary Martina Berthold and Head of Center Dominik Engel. (c) ITG/Zinner

Successful PhD Defense

Today, Christian Neureiter has successfully defended his PhD thesis on “A Domain-Specific, Model Driven Engineering Approach for Systems Engineering in the Smart Grid” at the University of Oldenburg. Congratulations, Dr. Neureiter!

Models for the energy revolution

Keeping an overview in the Smart Grid

The realization of the Smart Grid plays a fundamental role towards implementing the turnaround in energy revolution. However, since the electricity network is very complex, it is necessary to provide a working basis through abstracted models for all involved parties.

To fulfil this need, Christian Neureiter and colleagues of the Josef Ressel Center recently developed a tool for the model-based development and evaluation of Smart Grid architectures. Based on the popular modeling platform Enterprise Architect from Sparx Systems, it also succeeded in combining European and American standards and concepts for the Smart Grid.

In the meantime, not only energy generators from Austria and Germany, but also from Italy, Sweden, Canada, New Zealand and Mexico rely on the innovative tool from Austria.