263-4600-00L  Formal Methods for Information Security

SemesterSpring Semester 2020
LecturersR. Sasse, C. Sprenger
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


263-4600-00 VFormal Methods for Information Security2 hrs
Thu09-11CAB G 52 »
R. Sasse, C. Sprenger
263-4600-00 UFormal Methods for Information Security1 hrs
Thu11-12CAB G 52 »
R. Sasse, C. Sprenger
263-4600-00 AFormal Methods for Information Security1 hrsR. Sasse, C. Sprenger

Catalogue data

AbstractThe course focuses on formal methods for the modelling and analysis of security protocols for critical systems, ranging from authentication protocols for network security to electronic voting protocols and online banking.
ObjectiveThe students will learn the key ideas and theoretical foundations of formal modelling and analysis of security protocols. The students will complement their theoretical knowledge by solving practical exercises, completing a small project, and using state-of-the-art tools.
ContentThe course treats formal methods mainly for the modelling and analysis of security protocols. Cryptographic protocols (such as SSL/TLS, SSH, Kerberos, SAML single-sign on, and IPSec) form the basis for secure communication and business processes. Numerous attacks on published protocols show that the design of cryptographic protocols is extremely error-prone. A rigorous analysis of these protocols is therefore indispensable, and manual analysis is insufficient. The lectures cover the theoretical basis for the (tool-supported) formal modeling and analysis of such protocols. Specifically, we discuss their operational semantics, the formalization of security properties, and techniques and algorithms for their verification.

In addition to the classical security properties for confidentiality and authentication, we will study strong secrecy and privacy properties. We will discuss electronic voting protocols, and RFID protocols (a staple of the Internet of Things), where these properties are central. The accompanying tutorials provide an opportunity to apply the theory and tools to concrete protocols. Moreover, we will discuss methods to abstract and refine security protocols and the link between symbolic protocol models and cryptographic models.

Furthermore, we will also present a security notion for general systems based on non-interference as well as language-based information flow security where non-interference is enforced via a type system.

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits5 credits
ExaminersC. Sprenger, R. Sasse
Typesession examination
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionThe performance assessment is only offered in the session after the course unit. Repetition only possible after re-enrolling.
Mode of examinationoral 25 minutes
Additional information on mode of examinationThe grade is determined by a project [20%] and the final oral exam [80%]. The compulsory project will be worked on by teams of two students. It will start in week 4 and must be completed by the end of the semester.
This information can be updated until the beginning of the semester; information on the examination timetable is binding.

Learning materials

Main linkFormal Methods for Information Security
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Offered in

CAS in Computer ScienceFocus Courses and ElectivesWInformation
Cyber Security MasterElectivesWInformation
DAS in Cyber SecurityElective CoursesWInformation
Computer Science MasterFocus Elective Courses Information SecurityWInformation
Computer Science MasterElective Focus Courses General StudiesWInformation