Seminar Series on Advances in Telecommunications, Networking and Computing

This seminar series is organized by the Department of Telecommunications to provide unique opportunities to meet internationally recognized leading experts in the fields of Telecommunications, Networking and Computing. The lectures will be given in English by prominent foreign researchers from academia and industry, and they will be open to ALL interested colleagues, PhD students, and students. There is no fixed schedule for the seminar, but the lectures will be organized based on the availability of the invited lecturers, and they will be announced via various mailing lists. In addition, slides and up-to-date information on the program will be published on this site.

For further information, please, contact Dr. Levente Buttyán, Program Chair by e-mail (buttyan (at) or telephone (+36 1 463 1803).

Past years: 2009

Program in 2010

Date Lecturer Title Time Location
Mar 18 (Thu) Prof. Christian Tschudin
University of Basel
Network Pressure 16:00 IB 017
May 10 (Mon) Prof. Jean-Pierre Hubaux
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL)
Privacy and Security Mechanisms with Selfish Players in Wireless Networks 15:15 IB 017
May 17 (Mon) Prof. Erol Gelenbe
Imperial College London
Networked Auctions: Introducing Performance Analysis to Economic Activity 15:30 IE 220
May 19 (Wed) Dr. Claude Castelluccia
INRIA Rhones-Alpes, Grenoble
Private Information Disclosure from Web Searches 9:30 IB 019
Jun 2 (Wed) Dr. Panos Papadimitratos
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL)
“Know your neighbor,” “Keep your distance,” and other cautionary tales for wireless systems 10:00 IB 110
Sep 17 (Fri) Bruce Schneier
Reconceptualizing Security 15:00 IB 017
Dec 20 (Mon) Dr. György Dán
KTH, Sweden
Stealthy False Data Injection Attacks and Protection Schemes for State Estimators in Power Systems 10:00 IB 019

Planned seminars:

Date Lecturer Title

Live stream

We stream some of the lectures in real time! The live stream is available at (during the time of the lecture, needs VLC plug-in).

Google calendar for ATNC seminars

Program in details

Network Pressure

Speaker   Prof. Christian Tschudin, University of Basel
Date and time   Mar 18, 2010, 16:00
Location   BME, Informatics Building, IB 017

Abstract: How can one write software that is resilient to code deletion attacks? We start with the observation that competing packet flows exert a "pressure" on each other. In this talk we will argue that computer networks and services should be designed in a pressure aware manner, with pressure mediators other than the usual tail drop mechanism in routers. This enables us to express optimal network service provisioning as an equilibrium and to describe the packet dynamics in a formal way. We will show how such "irresistible forces" are at work with a so called gossip protocol and how the equilibrium and pressure concept leads to self-healing protocol implementations. Ultimately, network pressure could also drive code evolution inside computer nets.

Short bio: Christian Tschudin is a full professor for computer networks at the University of Basel, Switzerland. Before joining the University of Basel, he was at Uppsala University as well as ICSI in Berkeley. He obtained his PhD from the University of Geneva. Christian Tschudin is interested in mobile code, artificial chemistries, wireless networks and security. More information:

Privacy and Security Mechanisms with Selfish Players in Wireless Networks

Speaker   Prof. Jean-Pierre Hubaux, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland
Date and time   May 10, 2010, 15:15
Location   BME, Informatics Building, IB 017

Abstract: After a brief introduction to game theory, we will explain the difference between malicious and selfish behavior, especially in the case of wireless networks. We will then show how game theory has been applied so far to security problems. Finally, we will address in detail two examples: the cooperative change of pseudonyms in mix zones and the revocation of nodes in ephemeral networks. More information on this topic can be found at and Some background information can be found in the book Security and Cooperation in Wireless Networks by L. Buttyan and JP Hubaux, available online at

Short bio: Jean-Pierre Hubaux joined the faculty of EPFL in 1990. His research activity is focused on wireless networks, with a special interest in privacy, security and cooperation issues.

In 1991, he designed the first curriculum in Communication Systems at EPFL. He was promoted to full professor in 1996. In 1999, he defined some of the main ideas of the National Competence Center in Research named Mobile Information and Communication Systems (NCCR/MICS). This center is still very active today. In this framework, he has notably defined, in close collaboration with his students, novel schemes for the security and cooperation in wireless networks; in particular, he has devised new techniques for key management, secure positioning, and incentives for cooperation in such networks. In 2003, he identified the security of vehicular networks as one of the main research challenges for real-world mobile ad hoc networks.

He is co-founder and chairman of the steering committee of WiSec (the ACM Conference for Wireless Network Security). He has served on the program committees of numerous conferences and workshops, including SIGCOMM, INFOCOM, MobiCom, MobiHoc, SenSys, WiSe, and VANET. He is one of the seven commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (ComCom), the "Swiss FCC".

He held visiting positions at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center and at UC Berkeley. He has been on the advisory board of Deutsche Telekom Laboratories (T-Labs) since their creation in 2004. He is an IEEE Fellow.

More information:

Networked Auctions: Introducing Performance Analysis to Economic Activity

Speaker   Prof. Erol Gelenbe, Imperial College London
Date and time   May 17, 2010, 15:30
Location   BME, Informatics Building, IE 220

Abstract: We are well aware that many areas of economic activity are closely tied to the Internet, and large amounts of trading for goods, commodities, and financial instruments, are totally dependent on the communication networks that engineers design and update on a daily basis. It is therefore of great interest to the telecommunication and performance engineer, as well as to the economist, to understand how the specifically networked structure of economic interactions can influence economic indicators, such as the price of goods, the income obtained by the seller, the speed with which economic transactions are concluded and other metrics of interest. This presentation will summarise some of our recent work in this direction with specific focus on auctions which are algorithmically simple, well defined and very common forms of economic interaction. We will propose a Markovian model of interacting bidders and sellers in a networked auction, and show how this model can lead to explicit "product form" results from which useful economic metrics are derived. This leads also directly to the performance evaluation of the effect of imperfections in the communication network on the economic outcome of auctions.

Short bio: Erol Gelenbe CEng FACM FIEEE FIET is the Professor in the Dennis Gabor Chair, Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department, Imperial College London. An alumnus of the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, he received a PhD from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (Brooklyn Poly) and the Docteur-es-Sciences degree from the University of Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI).

He develops probability models in the computer and information sciences, and currently designs self-aware adaptive network protocols such as the Cognitive Packet Network and tests them via large scale experiments. He is a member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences, of Academie des Technologies (French Natonal Academy of Engineering) and Academia Europaea. Erol's recent research projects include:

More information:

Private Information Disclosure from Web Searches

Speaker   Dr. Claude Castelluccia, INRIA Rhones-Alpes, Grenoble, France
Date and time   May 19, 2010, 9:30
Location   BME, Informatics Building, IB 019

Abstract: As the amount of personal information stored at remote service providers increases, so does the danger of data theft. When connections to remote services are made in the clear and authenticated sessions are kept using HTTP cookies, data theft becomes extremely easy to achieve. In this paper, we study the architecture of the world's largest service provider, i.e., Google. First, with the exception of a few services that can only be accessed over HTTPS (e.g., Gmail), we find that many Google services are still vulnerable to simple session hijacking. Next, we present the Historiographer, a novel attack that reconstructs the web search history of Google users, i.e., Google's Web History, even though such a service is supposedly protected from session hijacking by a stricter access control policy. The Historiographer uses a reconstruction technique inferring search history from the personalized suggestions fed by the Google search engine. We validate our technique through experiments conducted over real network traffic and discuss possible countermeasures. Our attacks are general and not only specific to Google, and highlight privacy concerns of mixed architectures using both secure and insecure connections.

Short bio: Claude Castelluccia is a senior researcher at INRIA where he leads a group on Security and Privacy.

More information:

“Know your neighbor,” “Keep your distance,” and other cautionary tales for wireless systems

Speaker   Dr. Panos Papadimitratos, EPFL, Switzerland
Date and time   June 2, 2010, 10:00
Location   BME, Informatics Building, IB 110
Download   20100602-Papadimitratos.pdf

Abstract: Wireless devices are becoming pervasive and increasingly versatile. Untethered communication enables a multitude of applications closely knitted with the physical world, with the devices often being the network: anytime and anywhere communication, location-aware services, environmental monitoring, intelligent transportation, socially motivated information exchange. Wireless systems are, however, a double-edged sword: their applications and the nature of wireless communications create new vulnerabilities, and attacks against wireless systems can create new dangers for their users.

This seminar will focus on the unique characteristics and security requirements of wireless systems. Recent results on two characteristic problems, secure neighbor discovery (SND) and secure ranging/distance bounding (SR/DB), are distilled. The first part of the talk will discuss how to build SND, a fundamental building block for secure multi-hop communication. The second part of the talk will cover DB and show how to mount attacks against mainstream ranging technologies. If time permits, a brief overview of selected results on other wireless system security topics will be given.

Short bio: Panos Papadimitratos is a scientist at EPFL, Switzerland, and he received his PhD from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. He is visiting PoliTo, Italy, in the spring of 2010. His research is concerned with security and wireless networks and systems; he has authored more than 70 technical publications on these topics. He has served as an area editor for the ACM MC2R journal and as a member of several technical program committees, including ACM WiSec, ASIACCS, and MobiHoc, and IEEE INFOCOM.

More information:

Reconceptualizing Security

Speaker   Bruce Schneier, USA
Date and time   Sep 17, 2010, 15:00
Location   BME, Informatics Building, IB 017

Abstract: Security is both a feeling and a reality. You can feel secure without actually being secure, and you can be secure even though you don't feel secure. We tend to discount the feeling in favor of the reality, but they’re both important. The divergence between the two explains why we have so much security theater, and why so many smart security solutions go unimplemented. Several different fields -- behavioral economics, the psychology of decision making, evolutionary biology -- shed light on how we perceive security, risk, and cost. It’s only when the feeling and reality of security converge that we can make smart security trade-offs.

Short bio: Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist, referred to by The Economist as a "security guru." He is the author of nine books -- including the best sellers Beyond Fear, Secrets and Lies, and Applied Cryptography – as well as hundreds of articles and essays, and many more academic papers. His influential newsletter "Crypto-Gram," and his blog "Schneier on Security," are read by over 250,000 people. He has testified before Congress, is a frequent guest on television and radio, served on several government technical committees, and is regularly quoted in the press. Schneier is the Chief Security Technology Officer of BT.

More information:

Stealthy False Data Injection Attacks and Protection Schemes for State Estimators in Power Systems

Speaker   Dr. György Dán, KTH, Sweden
Date and time   Dec 20, 2010, 10:00
Location   BME, Informatics Building, IB 019

Abstract: In this talk we study stealthy false-data injection attacks against the state estimators used in Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems in the electric power grid. We consider two attack models, and define a security measure tailored to quantify how difficult attacks are to perform. We describe an efficient algorithm to compute attacks with minimal cost, and discuss the invariance of the attacks to mis-estimation of the system parameters. We also describe two algorithms to place encrypted devices in the system such as to maximize their utility in terms of increased system security. We illustrate the effectiveness of our algorithms, among others, on two IEEE benchmark power networks under two attack and protection cost models.

Short bio: György Dán is an Assistant professor at the Laboratory for Communication Networks at KTH, Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. From March 2006 to September 2007 he was a post-doc at the same institution. His PhD. degree is from KTH (2006), and his M.Sc. degree in computer engineering is from the Technical University of Budapest (1999). He holds an M.Sc. degree in business administration from the Budapest University of Economic Sciences (2003). He was visiting researcher at the Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS) in 2008, did a summer practice at the Electrificadora de Tolima, Colombia (1999), and spent a semester at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany (1996) participating in the development of a compiler.

His research interests include the design and analysis of distributed and peer-to-peer systems, and resource management and security in cyber-physical systems.

More information:

buttyan (at)