Doctoral Students

My Former PhD Students

  • Prof. Dr. Tobias Schmidbauer: Novel Sophisticated Network-level Covert Channels, FernUniversität in Hagen. Defended: Apr-19, 2023. (Second advisor: Jörg Keller, FernUniversität in Hagen).
    • Became a research professor at TH Nürnberg in 2024.

External Reviewer of Doctoral Committees

I was external reviewer for the following PhD student evaluations:

  • Dr. Damjan Fujs, University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), Faculty of Computer and Information Science, Thesis: Tailoring security-related software requirements and training based on security categorization of users, external reviewer Nov-2021 – Mar-2024 (regular meetings), defended: Mar-2024.
  • Dr. Marco Zuppelli, University of Genoa (Italy), Dipartimento di Informatica, Bioingegneria, Robotica ed Ingegneria dei Sistemi. Thesis: Detection and Mitigation of Steganographic Malware, external reviewer, defended: Nov-2022.
  • Dr. Saffija Kasem-Madani, University of Bonn (Germany), Institute Computer Science IV, Thesis: Massgeschneiderte Nutzbarkeitserhaltende Pseudonymisierung, external reviewer, defended: Oct-2022.
  • Ass. Prof. Dr. Aleksandar Velinov, Goce Delčev University of Štip (North Macedonia), Faculty of Computer Science, Thesis: Security improvement of IoT Communications by Analysis of Network Covert Channels, external reviewer in Jul-2021.

Current PhD Students

I currently have 7 doctoral students/candidates for becoming a PhD student under my supervision. Of these, 2 students are close to finalize their PhD.

Bachelor/Master Theses

I am currently offering thesis topics within, but not limited to, the following areas:

  • network covert channels / network steganography / network information hiding
  • security of smart buildings / Internet of Things (IoT) / smart cities
  • design and implementation of extensions for selected open source software projects
  • topics under the umbrella of my funded projects

All mentioned topics require either network-level programming skills, knowledge of network protocols and/or skills in information security. In general, I support the open source publication of developed code (under the condition of a good code quality). As shown below, I support the publication of scientific results. Moreover, I encourage my students to give public talks about their work. Good written and oral communication in the English language, coupled with relevant skills in the chosen research field are considered a strong advantage.

As a researcher who encourages collaboration, progress and originality, I do not sign any NDAs (“Sperrvermerke”) anymore (starting April, 2019). I strongly encourage my potential students to gain valuable experience in researching and presenting their original work. Once you started to work on a thesis under my supervision, please send email requests as early as possible as my response time (not just for students, but for all emails) is currently about 1 week (Nov, 2023).

Outstanding Theses

I have mentored excellent students in the role of major supervisor for the following theses. While the works of several students have led to peer-reviewed publications, the following students provided above-average scientific contributions.

  • Mr Peter Backs: Automatisches Routing in einem Mikroprotokoll für Covert-Channel Netze, Master’s thesis, University of Hagen, 2011/12.
    • contribution to international workshop paper (ISTP’12); first author
  • Mr Matthias Naumann: Kontrollprotokolle für steganografische Kanäle, Master’s thesis, University of Hagen, 2013/2014.
    • contribution to paper in ranked international journal (Wiley SCN); first author
  • Ms Jaspreet Kaur: Countering Covert Channel-internal Control Protocols with Covert Channel-internal Control Protocols, Master’s thesis, University of Bonn, 2014.
    • key contribution to best paper award-winning international workshop paper (IWCC’15) + paper in ranked international journal (Wiley SCN); first author each
  • Ms Eva Anhaus: Data Leakage Protection für Gebäude, Bachelor’s thesis, University of Hagen, 2014.
    • key author of national workshop paper (D-A-CH Security’15); first author
  • Mr Sebastian Zillien:
    • Detection of Re-transmission-based Network Covert Channels, Bachelor’s thesis, Worms University of Applied Sciences, 2018.
      • key contribution to international conference paper (NordSec’18); first author
    • Reconnection-based Covert Channels in Wireless Networks, Master’s thesis, Worms University of Applied Sciences, 2020.
      • key contribution to ranked international conference paper (IFIP SEC’21); first author
      • thesis was awarded the IHK-Preis 2021 zur Förderung des akademischen Nachwuchses
  • Mr Florian Link: Die Umsetzung einer Detektionsmethode für Network Covert Channels am Beispiel des Size Modulation Pattern, Master’s thesis, Worms University of Applied Sciences, 2019.
    • contributed key results to paper in a ranked international journal (J.UCS), second author
  • Mr Tobias Schmidbauer: Nutzung von ARP und NDP Caches zum Datenaustausch zwischen zwei nicht direkt miteinander verbundenen Systemen, Master’s Thesis, University of Hagen, 2019.
    • key contribution to international workshop paper (CUING’19); first author
    • Later became my PhD student and successfully defended his thesis.
    • Became professor at TH Nürnberg.
  • Mr Jeff Schymiczek: Detection of Computationally Intensive Reversible Covert Channels with Shape Analysis of Empirical Probability Distributions, Bachelor’s thesis, Worms University of Applied Sciences, 2022.

University-level Teaching

I teach at Worms University of Applied Sciences and the University of Hagen. Previously, I gave classes at the University of Bonn, the NTNU COINS PhD Summer School, HS Biberach (Akademie) and the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences.

FernUniversität in Hagen (since 2011/since 2021)

  • Seminar on Network Steganography (M.Sc. program; anticipated for summer term 2024)
  • Seminar 01952 ``Metriken für Software-Qualität und -Sicherheit’’ (Part II, 15 seminar students).
  • 01731 Network Steganography (M.Sc. program; since winter term 2021)
  • 01599b Information Security Practicum (M.Sc. program; winter term 2022/23, examining group 2)
  • Theses advisor (since 2011)

Worms University of Applied Sciences (since 2016)

In Worms, I teach (or taught) the following courses (starting winter term 2016):

  • Security of Distributed Systems and the Internet-of-Things (M.Sc., 2023-now)
  • Network Information Hiding (M.Sc., starting winter term 2023)
  • Cryptography (B.Sc., 2016-now)
  • Mobile Security (M.Sc., 2018-2023)
  • Security and Privacy in the Internet of Things (M.Sc., 2016-now)
  • Network Security (B.Sc., 2017-now)
  • Computer Networks/Networks and Information Security (B.Sc., 2016-2020)
  • Operating Systems (B.Sc., 2016-2023)
  • Machine Learning (B.Sc., occasionally)
  • MSc Seminar II (M.Sc., 2016/occasionally)
  • Inofficial free online class: Network Information Hiding
  • Research Seminar in Computer Science (2019-now)
  • Team-oriented project (B.Sc., occasionally)

NTNU/COINS PhD Summer School (2018)

I contributed a full-day lecture on my covert channel research to the COINS PhD summer school on Lesvos (Metochi monastery annex).

Akademie at Biberach University of Applied Sciences (2017-2021)

  • Part of Building Automation Networks, M.Eng. program (summer 2017-summer 2021)

University of Bonn (2014-2016)

  • Advanced IT-Security (M.Sc. program; contributed selected lectures on network security over multiple semesters summer 2015-summer 2016)
  • Master Lab advisor (summer 2015-summer 2016)
  • Master’s Project with Seminar advisor (winter 2014/15)
  • Advisor of several theses and seminar students (summer 2014-summer 2016)

Augsburg University of Applied Sciences (2011-2014)

  • Data Communication (summer 2011-summer 2014)
  • Tunneling and Covert Channels (winter 2013/14)
  • Project Groups (co-supervision; summer 2011-summer 2013)
  • Environmental Computer Science (co-supervision; summer 2013)
  • Research Methodology 101 (part of Startklar program; winter 2012/13)
  • Linux Basics (for bureau of women’s representative; several years in a row)