How to write a thesis at PSI?
Are you interested in writing a bachelor's or master's thesis at the Privacy and Security in Information Systems group? The typical process is outlined on this page. At the end of this page, you can find topics of already submitted theses.
- Check formal application requirements and familiarize yourself with the application procedure at the Prüfungsamt.
- Read the PSI Thesis Guide. It is both a LaTeX template and a guide with many actionable recommendations.
- Approach a member of PSI and propose a topic. You can also make an appointment to learn about current activities at the PSI chair, which may help you come up with a list of topics.
- Carry out preliminary research on a small number of candidate topics to determine which one best fits your skill set and interests.
Write an Exposé
- Write an Exposé and submit it to Dominik Herrmann. While there are no formal requirements, you can rely on the following structure:
- State the problem that you want to tackle in your thesis
- Describe existing approaches and their deficits (why do they fail to solve the problem adequately?)
- List one to four research questions that result from the previous two points
- Propose a series of steps and how they help answering the individual research questions, mention the research method you plan to use (literature survey, building and evaluating a new system, measuring some system, collecting data on the internet, interviews or surveys with humans)
- State whether your proposed research has ethical implications
- Point out the problems you foresee to encounter (e.g., insufficient skills, failing to collect data) and how you plan to handle them
- Obtain feedback and refine the Exposé until your supervisor and you are comfortable with it.
Researching and Thesis Writing
- Apply for the thesis at the Prüfungsamt.
- Conduct the research, start writing early.
- Hand in drafts to your supervisor, obtain feedback, and decide how to incorporate it.
We strongly recommend to write all theses using LaTeX.
- Defend your thesis (only applies to Master's theses).
- Consider submitting a paper to a conference or a journal based on your research :-)
Topics of Submitted Theses
The following list contains selected theses that we have supervised in the past.
- private-piranha.pics: A web application for showcasing common privacy problems (2022)
- Semi-automated Interactive Website Scanning for Comprehensive Privacy Analysis (2022)
- Raising Awareness for Privacy on Smart Devices (2022)
mentioned on Techlore's YouTube channel
- Notifying Authors of Vulnerabilities in Their Programming Tutorials (2022)
- Automated Detection and Evaluation of Cookie Notices (2021)
- Improving Transparency of iOS Apps with DNS-based Collective Traffic Analysis (2020)
resulting in a paper at IFIP SEC 2021
- Web-based semi-automatic extraction of personal data in DevOps to comply with GDPR (2020)
resulting in a paper at INFORMATIK 2021
- Traffic Analysis on Android: Identifying Apps by Encrypted DNS Traffic (2020)
resulting in a paper at ARES 2021
- Executing User Generated Python-like Code Securely on Client Side Using WebAssembly (2020)
- Third Parties on the Web: An Automated Comparison of Privacy Policies and Site Behaviors (2020)
- Automatic Detection and Evaluation of Cookie Notices on the Web (2020)
- Analysis of Security and Privacy Practices in the Account Management of Popular Websites (2019)
- How do software repository administrators handle typosquatting attacks? (2018)