Press Release 140/2014

German IT Security Prize Goes to Karlsruhe

First Place for ”Blurry Box®“: Method Protects Software against Attackers – Joint IT Security Research Project of FZI, KIT, and Wibu-Systems
The first place in the IT Security Contest was reached by the application of Kerckhoffs’s principle for software protection. With their Blurry Box® method, the Karlsruhe scientists won EUR 100,000. (© RUB, Photo: Sadrowski)

A mechanism that protects software against attackers even when the latter know this security mechanism: With the jointly developed innovative Blurry Box® security method, the Research Center for Information Technology (FZI), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), and Wibu-Systems AG won the first place in the 5th German IT Security Contest of the Horst Görtz Foundation. The prize money totals EUR 100,000.


“The Blurry Box method is based on Kerckhoffs’s principle. It is not the security method that is kept secret, but the exchangeable key. In this way, protection against unauthorized copying, manipulation, industrial espionage, and sabotage is enhanced,” Professor Jörn Müller-Quade, Holder of the Chair for Cryptography and Security of KIT and Director of the FZI, explains. The method can already be applied reliably and, at the same time, discussed publicly and developed further.


The German IT Security Prize is among the highest valued privately donated science awards in Germany. Main criteria for the evaluation of concepts and solutions by the jury of top-class IT security experts from science and industry are innovativeness, real market potential, and usability.


During yesterday’s awards ceremony at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, the project coordinators Professor Jörn Müller-Quade and Oliver Winzenried, CEO of Wibu-Systems AG, together with their team, were handed over the certificate for the first prize of the IT Security Contest and the prize money in the amount of EUR 100,000.


In the area of IT security in research, education, and science and with its numerous IT companies, the Karlsruhe Technology Region is rather strong. Here, scientists in cooperation with regional enterprises work on IT security solutions and concepts.


KASTEL at KIT is one of three national Competence Centers for Cyber Security funded by the federal government. Here, eleven chairs of KIT cooperate with the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies, and Image Exploitation, the FZI, and partners in the research and education sectors for the close-to-application development of security solutions.


Last week, the Research Center for Information Technology (FZI), an independent institution for technology transfer, was granted funding under the Baden-Württemberg Forward-IT initiative. It will now be established as a central contact point for small and medium-size enterprises having security-related problems. For their clients, the FZI scientists develop cryptography and verification methods as well as safety protocols and threat analyses. Research concentrates on IT security management and application security.


“Our research and transfer activities are characterized by an interdisciplinary approach to security: The cooperation of lawyers, IT security experts, cryptographers, and software engineers allows for the analysis of security of highly complex systems. This will be of increasing importance in the future, as more and more devices will be increasingly equipped with information technologies and the networks will become increasingly complex. We focus on this networking of devices and living environments and develop reliable and reproducible security guarantees,” KASTEL Manager and FZI Director Müller-Quade emphasizes.


In cooperation with a strong network of leading enterprises in the Karlsruhe Technology Region, such as Wibu-Systems AG, IT security competence is planned to be extended. The prize money granted by the Horst Görtz Foundation will be of great help.


The founder of the Horst Görtz Foundation, Dr. Horst Görtz, has been actively involved in the development of IT security in Germany for many years. With the German IT Security Prize, his Foundation wishes to contribute to strengthening and promoting IT security “made in Germany”.


Blurry Box® is a registered trademark of Wibu-Systems AG.


The FZI Research Center for Information Technology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is a non-profit institution for applied research in information technology and technology transfer. Its task is to provide businesses and public institutions with the latest research findings in information technology. It also qualifies young scientists for their career in academics or business as well as self-employment. Led by professors from various departments, research teams at FZI interdisciplinarily develop and prototype concepts, software, hardware, and systems solutions for their clients. With the FZI House of Living Labs, a unique research environment is available for applied research. The FZI has a branch office in Berlin.


The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is a public corporation according to the legislation of the state of Baden-Württemberg. It fulfills the mission of a university and the mission of a national research center of the Helmholtz Association. Research activities focus on energy, the natural and built environment as well as on society and technology and cover the whole range extending from fundamental aspects to application. With about 9400 employees, including more than 6000 staff members in the science and education sector, and 24500 students, KIT is one of the biggest research and education institutions in Europe. Work of KIT is based on the knowledge triangle of research, teaching, and innovation.


The photo of printing quality may be downloaded at

Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 10,000 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,800 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

le, 24.10.2014

Margarete Lehné
Chief Press Officer (acting)
Phone: +49 721 608-41105
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
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Contact for this press release:

Margarete Lehné
Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41157
Fax: +49 721 608-41157
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