Thesis Topics

On this page, you will find a list of available thesis topics that are available in our institute. Information about on-going and past theses can be found on this page. Some of the thesis descriptions are in German.

Note that because many of our topics are issued in German, some of the descriptions on this page are also German only. We are currently working on providing complete translations.

Open Theses

“Designing and Validating a Trust Model based on Subjective Logic for the Automotive Domain,” Bachelor's thesis, Master's thesis, D. Mauksch (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2021 – Open.
In this thesis, we want to investigate the design of a trust model to allow modeling of the security-related trust relationships between different entities and data items. This can be useful, for example, to determine whether to trust another vehicle or data received from that other vehicle through car-2-x communication. In the end, we aim for a reasoning framework that allows to automatically answer questions on whether to trust another entity or data in a cooperative traffic system or not. The model should be based on subjective logic, a powerful, probabilistic logic that allows reasoning under uncertainty. The resulting model should be generic enough to be used in various scenarios, like the aforementioned misbehavior detection in connected cars, evaluating trust in over-the-air software updates, or assessing trust of in-vehicle components. It can be built on earlier works in our institute that already described such a model for the specific purpose of misbehavior detection and where we aim now for a more generic model. Beyond designing the trust model, the thesis should also evaluate it by showing its applicability to the three scenarios, and by providing a proof-of-concept implementation of a reasoning framework to allow inference over that model.
“Graph Machine Learning on Evolving Graphs,” Master's thesis, B. Erb (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2021 – Open.
Event-sourced graphs are a concept to capture graphs that are continuously evolving, e.g. based on a stream of live changes. Goal of this thesis is (a) to provide an overview of existing graph machine learning concepts, (b) to assess the applicability of machine learning mechansims on event-sourced graphs, and (c) to prove the feasibility with a prototype implementation. Basic knowledge of general machine learning concepts is a plus for this thesis.
“Over-the-air Update of Individual Compontents in a Binary,” Bachelor's thesis, Master's thesis, D. Mauksch (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2021 – Open.
Software vulnerabilities pose critical threats to safety-relevant systems like vehicles. For example, a bug in a library embedded into a control program of a braking electronic-control-unit (ECU) inside a vehicle might be exploited by attackers to infiltrate the ECU and disable the breaks. More and more of today's vehicle allow over-the-air update of their software, but this typically requires updating a full firmware or at least a monolitic binary. So even if the mentioned library is patched, it still takes substantial time to integrate the new library version with the binary, and create and distribute a new firmware. In this work, we aim to speed up this process by allowing updates of libraries without the need to update the full binary or full firmware. To this end, the thesis should investigate system-level mechanisms to achieve one or both of the following goals: 1. Isolate a faulty library by dissecting it from a binary and executing it in a sandboxed environment. 2. Replacing the faulty library with an updated version without the need to alter the rest of the binary and maintaining compatibility at the API. Feasibility of the concepts should be demonstrated in a proof-of-concept implementation.
“Power Consumption Analysis of Storage Architectures in Wireless Sensor Networks,” Master's thesis or Project, D. Meißner (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2021 – Open.
Wireless Sensor Networks consist of sensor nodes that utilize low-power wide area networks to periodically transmit sensor readings (e.g., temperature, humidity, pollution levels) to backend services. These sensor nodes are typically battery-powered and their processing capabilities hence limited. This directly results in a trade-off between temporal resolution of transmitted sensor data and battery lifespan. As part of a research project at the Institute of Distributed System, we research novel storage mechanisms at the sensor node to reduce the temporal resolution by default, but still allowing for high-resolution on-demand access of past readings. The goal of this topic is to investigate the power consumption characteristics of LoRa sensor devices in regard to storing sensor readings in non-volatile memory on the sensor node and transmitting data to the network. This problem can be investigated through the means of network simulations (e.g., using the FLoRa framework for OMNeT++ or similar tools) and analytical calculations. Additionally, practical experiments on real LoRa hardware can be performed to validate the analytical results (not absolutely required for the topic).
“Security Mechansims for Multi-Tenancy Event-Sourced Graphs,” Master's thesis, B. Erb (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2021 – Open.
Event-sourced graph computing allows to run computations on the latest state or on historical states of an evolving graph. Such event-sourced graphs capture highly connected application domains that are continuously evolving, e.g. based on streams of live changes. An advanced use case is the application of event-sourced graph computing with mutitple concurrent parties that feed in changes into the system and also run computations. Multi tenancy however requires novel mechanisms to address private computations and data access control. Goal of this thesis is (a) to compile a list of challenges when applying multi-tenancy graph computing, (b) to survey and assess possible security solutions, and (c) to contribute a prototype implementation. Basic knowledge of distributed systems and IT security is recommended for this thesis.
“Efficient Updating of a Network-Protocol-Model with Message-Format Refinements,” Bachelor's or Master's thesis, S. Kleber (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Institut of Distributed Systems, Ulm University, 2019 – Open.
Security assessments of networked systems require knowledge about the utilized communication protocol. For proprietary protocols without known specification and with only limited access to the end-points, the only source of information is the communication itself. To correctly conclude from the captured byte stream to message-formats, -types, and finally a protocol model, structure, message- and field-boundaries, data-type, and semantics need to be inferred.After an initial inference procedure, it is desirable to refine the existing protocol model. Additional information gained by recorded network traffic needs to be incorporated by recognizing the appropriate parts of the model. The modeled knowledge is to be extended depending on the applicable information inferable from the new trace.
“Test-Case-Generation Strategies for Network-Protocol-Model Refinements,” Bachelor's or Master's thesis, S. Kleber (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Institut of Distributed Systems, Ulm University, 2019 – Open.
Security assessments of networked systems require knowledge about the utilized communication protocol. For proprietary protocols without known specification and with only limited access to the end-points, the only source of information is the communication itself. To correctly conclude from the captured byte stream to message-formats, -types, and finally a protocol model, structure, message- and field-boundaries, data-type, and semantics need to be inferred.After an initial inference procedure, it is desirable to refine the existing protocol model. Actively probing an entity for the validity of message syntaxes allows to targetedly enhance the knowledge about the protocol. To do this efficiently a smart method of automatically generating test-cases depending on the current protocol model needs to be developed.

Old news can be found in the archive.

Contact

Secretary's Office

Marion Köhler
Claudia Kastner
E-Mail
Phone: +49 731 50-24140
Fax: +49 731 50-24142

Postal Address

Institute of Distributed Systems
Ulm University
Albert-Einstein-Allee 11
89081 Ulm

Visiting Address

James-Franck-Ring
Gebäude O27, Raum 349
89081 Ulm

Directions

Topics By Degree

Bachelor's Theses

“Designing and Validating a Trust Model based on Subjective Logic for the Automotive Domain,” Bachelor's thesis, Master's thesis, D. Mauksch (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2021 – Open.
In this thesis, we want to investigate the design of a trust model to allow modeling of the security-related trust relationships between different entities and data items. This can be useful, for example, to determine whether to trust another vehicle or data received from that other vehicle through car-2-x communication. In the end, we aim for a reasoning framework that allows to automatically answer questions on whether to trust another entity or data in a cooperative traffic system or not. The model should be based on subjective logic, a powerful, probabilistic logic that allows reasoning under uncertainty. The resulting model should be generic enough to be used in various scenarios, like the aforementioned misbehavior detection in connected cars, evaluating trust in over-the-air software updates, or assessing trust of in-vehicle components. It can be built on earlier works in our institute that already described such a model for the specific purpose of misbehavior detection and where we aim now for a more generic model. Beyond designing the trust model, the thesis should also evaluate it by showing its applicability to the three scenarios, and by providing a proof-of-concept implementation of a reasoning framework to allow inference over that model.
“Over-the-air Update of Individual Compontents in a Binary,” Bachelor's thesis, Master's thesis, D. Mauksch (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2021 – Open.
Software vulnerabilities pose critical threats to safety-relevant systems like vehicles. For example, a bug in a library embedded into a control program of a braking electronic-control-unit (ECU) inside a vehicle might be exploited by attackers to infiltrate the ECU and disable the breaks. More and more of today's vehicle allow over-the-air update of their software, but this typically requires updating a full firmware or at least a monolitic binary. So even if the mentioned library is patched, it still takes substantial time to integrate the new library version with the binary, and create and distribute a new firmware. In this work, we aim to speed up this process by allowing updates of libraries without the need to update the full binary or full firmware. To this end, the thesis should investigate system-level mechanisms to achieve one or both of the following goals: 1. Isolate a faulty library by dissecting it from a binary and executing it in a sandboxed environment. 2. Replacing the faulty library with an updated version without the need to alter the rest of the binary and maintaining compatibility at the API. Feasibility of the concepts should be demonstrated in a proof-of-concept implementation.
“Efficient Updating of a Network-Protocol-Model with Message-Format Refinements,” Bachelor's or Master's thesis, S. Kleber (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Institut of Distributed Systems, Ulm University, 2019 – Open.
Security assessments of networked systems require knowledge about the utilized communication protocol. For proprietary protocols without known specification and with only limited access to the end-points, the only source of information is the communication itself. To correctly conclude from the captured byte stream to message-formats, -types, and finally a protocol model, structure, message- and field-boundaries, data-type, and semantics need to be inferred.After an initial inference procedure, it is desirable to refine the existing protocol model. Additional information gained by recorded network traffic needs to be incorporated by recognizing the appropriate parts of the model. The modeled knowledge is to be extended depending on the applicable information inferable from the new trace.
“Test-Case-Generation Strategies for Network-Protocol-Model Refinements,” Bachelor's or Master's thesis, S. Kleber (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Institut of Distributed Systems, Ulm University, 2019 – Open.
Security assessments of networked systems require knowledge about the utilized communication protocol. For proprietary protocols without known specification and with only limited access to the end-points, the only source of information is the communication itself. To correctly conclude from the captured byte stream to message-formats, -types, and finally a protocol model, structure, message- and field-boundaries, data-type, and semantics need to be inferred.After an initial inference procedure, it is desirable to refine the existing protocol model. Actively probing an entity for the validity of message syntaxes allows to targetedly enhance the knowledge about the protocol. To do this efficiently a smart method of automatically generating test-cases depending on the current protocol model needs to be developed.

Master's Theses

“Designing and Validating a Trust Model based on Subjective Logic for the Automotive Domain,” Bachelor's thesis, Master's thesis, D. Mauksch (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2021 – Open.
In this thesis, we want to investigate the design of a trust model to allow modeling of the security-related trust relationships between different entities and data items. This can be useful, for example, to determine whether to trust another vehicle or data received from that other vehicle through car-2-x communication. In the end, we aim for a reasoning framework that allows to automatically answer questions on whether to trust another entity or data in a cooperative traffic system or not. The model should be based on subjective logic, a powerful, probabilistic logic that allows reasoning under uncertainty. The resulting model should be generic enough to be used in various scenarios, like the aforementioned misbehavior detection in connected cars, evaluating trust in over-the-air software updates, or assessing trust of in-vehicle components. It can be built on earlier works in our institute that already described such a model for the specific purpose of misbehavior detection and where we aim now for a more generic model. Beyond designing the trust model, the thesis should also evaluate it by showing its applicability to the three scenarios, and by providing a proof-of-concept implementation of a reasoning framework to allow inference over that model.
“Graph Machine Learning on Evolving Graphs,” Master's thesis, B. Erb (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2021 – Open.
Event-sourced graphs are a concept to capture graphs that are continuously evolving, e.g. based on a stream of live changes. Goal of this thesis is (a) to provide an overview of existing graph machine learning concepts, (b) to assess the applicability of machine learning mechansims on event-sourced graphs, and (c) to prove the feasibility with a prototype implementation. Basic knowledge of general machine learning concepts is a plus for this thesis.
“Over-the-air Update of Individual Compontents in a Binary,” Bachelor's thesis, Master's thesis, D. Mauksch (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2021 – Open.
Software vulnerabilities pose critical threats to safety-relevant systems like vehicles. For example, a bug in a library embedded into a control program of a braking electronic-control-unit (ECU) inside a vehicle might be exploited by attackers to infiltrate the ECU and disable the breaks. More and more of today's vehicle allow over-the-air update of their software, but this typically requires updating a full firmware or at least a monolitic binary. So even if the mentioned library is patched, it still takes substantial time to integrate the new library version with the binary, and create and distribute a new firmware. In this work, we aim to speed up this process by allowing updates of libraries without the need to update the full binary or full firmware. To this end, the thesis should investigate system-level mechanisms to achieve one or both of the following goals: 1. Isolate a faulty library by dissecting it from a binary and executing it in a sandboxed environment. 2. Replacing the faulty library with an updated version without the need to alter the rest of the binary and maintaining compatibility at the API. Feasibility of the concepts should be demonstrated in a proof-of-concept implementation.
“Power Consumption Analysis of Storage Architectures in Wireless Sensor Networks,” Master's thesis or Project, D. Meißner (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2021 – Open.
Wireless Sensor Networks consist of sensor nodes that utilize low-power wide area networks to periodically transmit sensor readings (e.g., temperature, humidity, pollution levels) to backend services. These sensor nodes are typically battery-powered and their processing capabilities hence limited. This directly results in a trade-off between temporal resolution of transmitted sensor data and battery lifespan. As part of a research project at the Institute of Distributed System, we research novel storage mechanisms at the sensor node to reduce the temporal resolution by default, but still allowing for high-resolution on-demand access of past readings. The goal of this topic is to investigate the power consumption characteristics of LoRa sensor devices in regard to storing sensor readings in non-volatile memory on the sensor node and transmitting data to the network. This problem can be investigated through the means of network simulations (e.g., using the FLoRa framework for OMNeT++ or similar tools) and analytical calculations. Additionally, practical experiments on real LoRa hardware can be performed to validate the analytical results (not absolutely required for the topic).
“Security Mechansims for Multi-Tenancy Event-Sourced Graphs,” Master's thesis, B. Erb (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2021 – Open.
Event-sourced graph computing allows to run computations on the latest state or on historical states of an evolving graph. Such event-sourced graphs capture highly connected application domains that are continuously evolving, e.g. based on streams of live changes. An advanced use case is the application of event-sourced graph computing with mutitple concurrent parties that feed in changes into the system and also run computations. Multi tenancy however requires novel mechanisms to address private computations and data access control. Goal of this thesis is (a) to compile a list of challenges when applying multi-tenancy graph computing, (b) to survey and assess possible security solutions, and (c) to contribute a prototype implementation. Basic knowledge of distributed systems and IT security is recommended for this thesis.
“Efficient Updating of a Network-Protocol-Model with Message-Format Refinements,” Bachelor's or Master's thesis, S. Kleber (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Institut of Distributed Systems, Ulm University, 2019 – Open.
Security assessments of networked systems require knowledge about the utilized communication protocol. For proprietary protocols without known specification and with only limited access to the end-points, the only source of information is the communication itself. To correctly conclude from the captured byte stream to message-formats, -types, and finally a protocol model, structure, message- and field-boundaries, data-type, and semantics need to be inferred.After an initial inference procedure, it is desirable to refine the existing protocol model. Additional information gained by recorded network traffic needs to be incorporated by recognizing the appropriate parts of the model. The modeled knowledge is to be extended depending on the applicable information inferable from the new trace.
“Test-Case-Generation Strategies for Network-Protocol-Model Refinements,” Bachelor's or Master's thesis, S. Kleber (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Institut of Distributed Systems, Ulm University, 2019 – Open.
Security assessments of networked systems require knowledge about the utilized communication protocol. For proprietary protocols without known specification and with only limited access to the end-points, the only source of information is the communication itself. To correctly conclude from the captured byte stream to message-formats, -types, and finally a protocol model, structure, message- and field-boundaries, data-type, and semantics need to be inferred.After an initial inference procedure, it is desirable to refine the existing protocol model. Actively probing an entity for the validity of message syntaxes allows to targetedly enhance the knowledge about the protocol. To do this efficiently a smart method of automatically generating test-cases depending on the current protocol model needs to be developed.

Topics By Research Area

Networks

“Power Consumption Analysis of Storage Architectures in Wireless Sensor Networks,” Master's thesis or Project, D. Meißner (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2021 – Open.
Wireless Sensor Networks consist of sensor nodes that utilize low-power wide area networks to periodically transmit sensor readings (e.g., temperature, humidity, pollution levels) to backend services. These sensor nodes are typically battery-powered and their processing capabilities hence limited. This directly results in a trade-off between temporal resolution of transmitted sensor data and battery lifespan. As part of a research project at the Institute of Distributed System, we research novel storage mechanisms at the sensor node to reduce the temporal resolution by default, but still allowing for high-resolution on-demand access of past readings. The goal of this topic is to investigate the power consumption characteristics of LoRa sensor devices in regard to storing sensor readings in non-volatile memory on the sensor node and transmitting data to the network. This problem can be investigated through the means of network simulations (e.g., using the FLoRa framework for OMNeT++ or similar tools) and analytical calculations. Additionally, practical experiments on real LoRa hardware can be performed to validate the analytical results (not absolutely required for the topic).
“Efficient Updating of a Network-Protocol-Model with Message-Format Refinements,” Bachelor's or Master's thesis, S. Kleber (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Institut of Distributed Systems, Ulm University, 2019 – Open.
Security assessments of networked systems require knowledge about the utilized communication protocol. For proprietary protocols without known specification and with only limited access to the end-points, the only source of information is the communication itself. To correctly conclude from the captured byte stream to message-formats, -types, and finally a protocol model, structure, message- and field-boundaries, data-type, and semantics need to be inferred.After an initial inference procedure, it is desirable to refine the existing protocol model. Additional information gained by recorded network traffic needs to be incorporated by recognizing the appropriate parts of the model. The modeled knowledge is to be extended depending on the applicable information inferable from the new trace.
“Test-Case-Generation Strategies for Network-Protocol-Model Refinements,” Bachelor's or Master's thesis, S. Kleber (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Institut of Distributed Systems, Ulm University, 2019 – Open.
Security assessments of networked systems require knowledge about the utilized communication protocol. For proprietary protocols without known specification and with only limited access to the end-points, the only source of information is the communication itself. To correctly conclude from the captured byte stream to message-formats, -types, and finally a protocol model, structure, message- and field-boundaries, data-type, and semantics need to be inferred.After an initial inference procedure, it is desirable to refine the existing protocol model. Actively probing an entity for the validity of message syntaxes allows to targetedly enhance the knowledge about the protocol. To do this efficiently a smart method of automatically generating test-cases depending on the current protocol model needs to be developed.

Mobile Systems

Distributed Computing

Privacy

“Graph Machine Learning on Evolving Graphs,” Master's thesis, B. Erb (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2021 – Open.
Event-sourced graphs are a concept to capture graphs that are continuously evolving, e.g. based on a stream of live changes. Goal of this thesis is (a) to provide an overview of existing graph machine learning concepts, (b) to assess the applicability of machine learning mechansims on event-sourced graphs, and (c) to prove the feasibility with a prototype implementation. Basic knowledge of general machine learning concepts is a plus for this thesis.
“Security Mechansims for Multi-Tenancy Event-Sourced Graphs,” Master's thesis, B. Erb (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2021 – Open.
Event-sourced graph computing allows to run computations on the latest state or on historical states of an evolving graph. Such event-sourced graphs capture highly connected application domains that are continuously evolving, e.g. based on streams of live changes. An advanced use case is the application of event-sourced graph computing with mutitple concurrent parties that feed in changes into the system and also run computations. Multi tenancy however requires novel mechanisms to address private computations and data access control. Goal of this thesis is (a) to compile a list of challenges when applying multi-tenancy graph computing, (b) to survey and assess possible security solutions, and (c) to contribute a prototype implementation. Basic knowledge of distributed systems and IT security is recommended for this thesis.

IT Security

“Designing and Validating a Trust Model based on Subjective Logic for the Automotive Domain,” Bachelor's thesis, Master's thesis, D. Mauksch (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2021 – Open.
In this thesis, we want to investigate the design of a trust model to allow modeling of the security-related trust relationships between different entities and data items. This can be useful, for example, to determine whether to trust another vehicle or data received from that other vehicle through car-2-x communication. In the end, we aim for a reasoning framework that allows to automatically answer questions on whether to trust another entity or data in a cooperative traffic system or not. The model should be based on subjective logic, a powerful, probabilistic logic that allows reasoning under uncertainty. The resulting model should be generic enough to be used in various scenarios, like the aforementioned misbehavior detection in connected cars, evaluating trust in over-the-air software updates, or assessing trust of in-vehicle components. It can be built on earlier works in our institute that already described such a model for the specific purpose of misbehavior detection and where we aim now for a more generic model. Beyond designing the trust model, the thesis should also evaluate it by showing its applicability to the three scenarios, and by providing a proof-of-concept implementation of a reasoning framework to allow inference over that model.
“Over-the-air Update of Individual Compontents in a Binary,” Bachelor's thesis, Master's thesis, D. Mauksch (Supervisor), F. Kargl (Examiner), Inst. of Distr. Sys., Ulm Univ., 2021 – Open.
Software vulnerabilities pose critical threats to safety-relevant systems like vehicles. For example, a bug in a library embedded into a control program of a braking electronic-control-unit (ECU) inside a vehicle might be exploited by attackers to infiltrate the ECU and disable the breaks. More and more of today's vehicle allow over-the-air update of their software, but this typically requires updating a full firmware or at least a monolitic binary. So even if the mentioned library is patched, it still takes substantial time to integrate the new library version with the binary, and create and distribute a new firmware. In this work, we aim to speed up this process by allowing updates of libraries without the need to update the full binary or full firmware. To this end, the thesis should investigate system-level mechanisms to achieve one or both of the following goals: 1. Isolate a faulty library by dissecting it from a binary and executing it in a sandboxed environment. 2. Replacing the faulty library with an updated version without the need to alter the rest of the binary and maintaining compatibility at the API. Feasibility of the concepts should be demonstrated in a proof-of-concept implementation.

Fault Tolerance

Cloud Computing

Multimedia Communication

Miscellaneous Topics