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Embedded systems are an established part of life. Their security requirements underline the importance of properly formulated, implemented, and enforced security policies throughout their life-cycle. Currently, security is just an afterthought, and most solutions are meant to thwart particular attacks. However, the increasing number of security breaches, the ensuing economical losses, and potential dangers all emphasize the importance of fundamental security solutions. This paper first surveys the current situation and then proposes a holistic approach where security is considered from the beginning of the design of embedded systems throughout their entire life-cycle. In our approach, the entire system life-cycle is analyzed and appropriate countermeasures are incorporated in the design. Obviously, prevention is not the complete solution. A 4-level defense strategy assures not only that a system has been properly designed in terms of security, but also that the liabilities of its designers are adequately covered.