Seminar Privacy Enhancing Technologies


Semester: Summer 2017
Course type: Block Seminar
Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Konrad Rieck
Audience: Computer Science Bachelor
Credits: 5 ECTS
Hours: 2
Capacity: max. 8 Students
Room: BRICS 107/108


 Date  Step    
 05.04. 15:00 - 16:00  Assignment of topics    
 First week in May  Appointment with assistant    
 30.05.  Submit final paper    
 20.06.  Submit review of two fellow students    
 04.07.  Camera-ready version of your paper    
 12.07. 14:00 - 18:30  Presentation    


The seminar is concerned with privacy enhancing technologies. Different techniques for protecting the privacy of users are discussed as well as attacks against these techniques.


The seminar is organized like a real academic conference. You need to prepare a written paper (german or english) about the selected topic with 20 pages in the default TU-BS style. After submitting your final paper at our conference system, you write two reviews about submitted paper of your fellow students to give them feedback. Of course, you will have time to improve your own final paper. Finally, you need to give a talk of 20 minutes on the topic + 10 minutes discussion / defending your work.


The seminar is organized by the Institute of System Security. For questions and further details, please contact

Seminar Topics

The Tor network

The Tor network is currently the most popular low-latency anonymization network and protects the privacy of more than a million users every day. This paper is supposed to give an overview on the Tor network and discuss the techniques that are used by the network to provide anonymity to its users.

Tor website fingerprinting

This paper will discuss so-called website fingerprinting attacks on Tor which allow an attacker to deanonymize Tor users despite the protection through the Tor network.

Browser fingerprinting

A large number of online shops and ad networks use techniques that allow a precise (re-)identification of individual internet users across multiple websites. To this end, various information leaked by the web browser is accumulated and linked to a user, thus allowing companies to track a users browsing behaviour with high precision. This paper will discuss commonly used techniques and defenses for browser fingerprinting.

Device fingerprinting

Similar to browser fingerprinting, there are corresponding techniques to track mobile devices and to re-identify a specific user.


Since its introduction in 2008, the popularity of the digital currency Bitcoin is steadily growing and Bitcoin has thus become an accepted payment option in many stores worldwide. This paper will explain the principle ideas on which Bitcoin is based upon. Moreover, it should discuss its strengths and weaknesses compared to other digital currencies.

Social networks

Nowadays, many people share lots of sensitive information via social media networks like Facebook or Instagram. This paper is going to examine the security and privacy implications of this behaviour and discuss techniques that can help to link sensitive data of an individual from various sources, thus allowing companies to create detailed user profiles.

PIN cracking

Instead of spending time with brute-force attacks, adversariers can also try to determine the PIN code of users by exploiting side-channels. Recent works, for instance, analyzed video materials of users entering their PIN code or exploited hardware interrupts to reconstruct a password.

Internet censorship

This paper will discuss sophisticated internet censorship techniques employed by repressive governments to prevent people i.e. from accessing content that is politically unaccepted by these regimes. Moreover, the paper is supposed to discuss possible countermeasures.

  aktualisiert am 27.02.2018
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