Trusted Systems Group

Practical Aspects of Cybersecurity WS 16/17

Lecture type Proseminar
Credits 5 CP
Instructor Dr.-Ing. Sven Bugiel
Teaching Assistants Erik Derr
Time/Place See modus operandi
Kick-off 2016-11-03, 16:00-18:00
Campus E9.1 (CISPA), Room 0.06
Language English
LSF Here


  • 03.11.2016: Moved kick-off meeting
  • 02.11.2016: Updated schedule according to participant number
  • 17.10.2016: Course website online


This Proseminar conveys students a basic competence in understanding, evaluating, and presenting scientific articles. The seminar will be held "conference style", i.e., students take on the roles of academic reviewers, which have to understand and evaluate the scientific contributions of assigned papers and discuss those papers' contents, as well as of paper authors, which have to present scientific results in a precise and clear way to an audience.

The course tries to strike a balance between a certain diversity of topics and at the same time not requiring students to acquire background knowledge in too many different areas. Thus, the course will focus every year on two to three selected areas of practical cybersecurity from which the scientific papers are chosen.

The areas for winter term 2016/17 are:

  • Mobile Security: Research on mobile malware, system security extensions to the Android OS, analysis of apps and the state of the mobile ecosystem.
  • Passwords: Analysis of leaked password databases, improving password cracking techniques, new techniques to prevent password cracking, safer storage of/alternatives to passwords
  • Cloud security: New attack vectors in cloud settings, analyzing cloud infrastructures, security extensions to cloud infrastructures

The number of papers per topic will be determined based on the participants' interests.


There are no formal requirements for participation. But the course aims at students in the 2nd semester.

Requirements for obtaining credit points (Scheinvergabe)

  • attending the kick-off meeting
  • writing reviews for two assigned papers
  • actively discussing those assigned papers and their reviews at a "program committee meeting" with all course participants
  • Sending your presentation slides before 2017-01-08 to your assigned teaching assistant and giving a rehearsal talk at least one week before your actual presentation.
  • presenting one assigned paper at the "conference(s)" (15min presentation + 10min Q&A)


The official registration for the seminar will occur at the kick-off meeting. The students have to pre-register before 2016-10-30, 23:59:59 by sending an e-mail to including a) your full name, b) your matriculation number, and c) your preferred paper are (see description above). For your final registration you have to show up in the kick-off meeting. Places for the final registration will be provided/repeated in the order of pre-registration until all places are taken.

Please note that the number of participants is limited to 15!

Modus operandi

The seminar will be held in a conference style, where each participant is both program committee member and paper author. This process is divided in the following three phases review phase, committee meeting, and conference. See also the following tentative course schedule for an overview of the respective deadlines.

Review phase

As committee member, you have to read and understand two assigned scientific papers and their contributions. It is your job to write a review about the merits, drawbacks, and errors of each paper. This will be done in an online review system. In this course, we will tell each participant if he should be rather a proponent or an opponent of the assigned papers in order to guarantee a certain level of discussion at the committee meeting.

Program committee meeting

At the committee meeting, all participants have to be physically present to discuss the scientific papers and their reviews. Every paper will be assigned a discussion lead (the paper "author") that will summarize the reviews and lead the discussion between all participants on the topic of the paper. The paper reviewers should at this meeting be able to answer potential questions on the paper and be able to argue in favor of their review.


Every participant will also be the author of one of the select scientific papers and will give a short presentation about the assigned paper at a "conference", i.e., a meeting with all course participants.

Time/Place Description
2016-10-30, 23:59:59 Pre-registration deadline Passed
2016-11-07, 16:00-18:00
Campus E9.1 (CISPA), Room 0.06
Kick-off meeting and introductory lecture
2016-12-23, 23:59:59 Deadline for reviews (round 1)
2017-01-12, 23:59:59 Deadline for reviews (round 2)
2017-01-19, 16:00-19:00
Campus E9.1 (CISPA), Room 0.07
Committee meeting
2017-01-22, 23:59:59 Deadline for presentation draft
2017-01-23 – 2017-02-02 Rehearsal talks
2017-02-09, 16:00-19:00
Campus E9.1 (CISPA), Room 0.06


Here is a list of recommended literature on how to prepare a good presentation and a good report:

Why English?

Like other groups, we decided to hold this Proseminar in English for several reasons:

  • The research papers, books, and other literature that is provided to you is written in English.
  • For most notions that occur in the security and computer science literature the English notion has been commonly adopted in German (e.g., "stack" instead of "Kellerspeicher") or are sometimes ambiguous in German. For instance, both "security" and "safety' translate to "Sicherheit", but have a different meaning in the literature. So for a German talk you would most likely resort to a presentation in "Denglisch".
  • The proseminar provides you with a safe space to practice your English. Speaking and writing in English will be required of you in most of your follow-up courses and seminars (if not all) and in your future career.
  • English is fun!

The TAs speak both German and English and will help you in case of problems. Moreover, your grade will not be influenced by your language skills! We strongly encourage you for above mentioned reasons to present in English, but we allow presentations in German if favoured by the speaker.