Dr. Rens van der Heijden

Dr. Rens W. van der Heijden defended his PhD thesis on November 9th, 2018 at Ulm University, working on Misbehavior Detection in Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems at the Institute of Distributed Systems. He continues to work at the institute as a PostDoc, working on misbehavior detection, security, and various automotive topics. Rens has previously received a Bachelor diploma in Computer Science from the Universty of Twente in 2010 and a Master diploma cum laude from the Kerckhoffs Institute at the Dutch Universities Twente, Nijmegen, and Eindhoven in 2012.


Research Interests

  • Security in autonomous driving
  • Intrusion, misbehavior and anomaly detection
  • Security in cyber-physical systems (CPS)
  • Subjective logic
  • Security in vehicular networks & platooning
  • Attacks on (autonomous) vehicles


  • Applied cryptography
  • Privacy


Currently I'm continuing to work on an implementation of ideas developed for my PhD thesis. The (software) project is called Maat -- after the Egyptian goddess of truth, by coincidence also the Dutch equivalent to bro (which was recently re-named to zeek) -- and is designed to detect attacks on cyber-physical systems by using multiple detection mechanisms on incoming data. Additionally, Maat is designed to be a world model, i.e., it is able to represent arbitrary events in a graph, on which the mechanisms are executed. Public releases can be found here on the institute github page. Contact me if you are interested in access to our internal code.



  • Security and Privacy in Mobile Systems [SS19]

Lab courses

  • Practical IT Security [SS13]
  • Sicherheit in IT Systemen [WS12, WS13, WS14, WS15, WS16]
  • Security and Privacy in Mobile Systems [SS14, SS15]

Seminars and Projects

  • Privacy in the Internet [WS12, WS13, WS14, WS15, WS16, ..]
  • Selected Topics in Distributed Systems & Research Trends in Distributed Systems [WS12, SS13, WS13, SS14, WS14, SS15, WS15, SS16, WS16, SS17, WS17, SS18]
  • Computer Networks and IT-Security (2-semester Project) [WS12, WS13, WS14, WS15] (no longer offered!)
  • Individual projects are available on request; the best way is to get in touch and chat about potential topics.

Bachelor/Master theses

I will gladly discuss the supervision of a topic of your choice, in either English or German. Please contact me and include which field you are interested in! My main areas of research are misbehavior detection, intrusion detection, vehicular (ad-hoc) networks, (autonomous) vehicle security and networked cyber-physical systems.


Contact Hours / Sprechzeiten

Office hours for spontaneous meetings ("Sprechstunde") are Monday 14:00-16:00 unless otherwise noted here. Feel free to contact me if you want to schedule a meeting at another time.