Distributed Systems

Working Group Waldvogel

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Centralization of data simplifies many things. As we learned from recent data breaches, including the NSA, Ashley Madison, and insider jobs, it also simplifies the mass download and abuse of this data. In the interest of society it therefore has to become the duty of computer scientists to ensure that data can be kept as much as possible under the control of the subject of the data. We believe that federated distributed systems are the key to achieving this goal, as they can be made to share data only on an as-needed basis, as defined by the involved individuals. Through mutual support and coordination, these distributed systems can gain many of the advantages of centralized systems, such as defense against malicious activities.

Many mechanisms are already here, but more research is needed to widen the applicability of these solutions. The important part is that these tools are brought into developer-friendly tools and finally into user-friendly products. But even more important is that we inform about why and how everyone should take advantage of these.

Current Research

Our research focuses on our core area of expertise in secure and private communication and networking. In this field, federated approaches are usually better suited than centralized ones, as they can provide the user-friendliness of a professional service without locking the user into a single provider and its walled-garden service. By providing compatibility with existing systems, the threshold of entry can be made very low, and by using specialized, minimally invasive solutions to guard security and privacy, it is frequently possible to increase both security and efficiency at the same time.

WISEchat

WISEchat / → JSXC offers a web-based chat with audio and video support using the existing, federated network of XMPP servers. It features Off-The-Record encryption and extremely simple integration into existing webpages and web applications.

Private communications is a key challenge in today's world. Many technology aspects are already covered, however, it remains a big challenge to make them as easy to use as possible, such that users start switching from centralized and proprietary to federated and secure tools.

With WISEchat (Web-Integrated, Secure, Enhanced Chat), we are trying to make this possible. Based on the federated and extensible open protocol XMPP, we provide → JSXC, a web-based chat easily integrated into any web page or web application.

Secure and Private Collaboration through DNS

The mDNS-SD Privacy Extension replaces many multicast packets by unicast packets sent to pre-paired devices only, thus not only distributing less privacy-sensitive data in the network, but also reducing the amount of broadcast traffic that uses a considerable amount of resources on modern wireless networks.

Stateless DNS implements a distributed key value store based on existing DNS caches, with applications ranging from mulitcast-free service discovery to organization-wide communication without any new infrastructure.

Securing Legacy Applications

→ TLS Interposter allows current SSL vulnerabilities to be fixed in legacy software that cannot be configured properly by replacing unsafe SSL parameters before any call to the SSL library is made.

High Speed Router Functions

Routers in todays networks perform many difficult tasks of which the actual routing is merely one. Especially in high-speed networks, IPv6 routing and traffic classification are still major problems. This project aims at improving the performance of various router functions under the harsh conditions of high-speed and backbone networks. It has been conducted in cooperation with and partially funded by → Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.

PACMAN

Privacy and Anonymity in Communication, Mobile, and Ad-hoc Networks.

Teaching

Projects and Final Theses

If you are interested in projects and final theses in your bachelor or master studies, we are there to give you advise and further information. You can contact us anytime via mail or just come and visit us.

Our bachelor and master projects are situated in the context of cutting-edge research projects. Please have a look at the research section for more information about current research projects at the group and do not hesitate to contact us if something sounds interesting to you. Alternatively, you can also come to the kick-off talks at the beginning of each semester; these are also listed in LSF.

Masters Programme

Prof. Waldvogel is co-mentoring the Information Systems Engineering profile. The study profiles show different models of Master studies.

Course List

→ All courses offered by the group can be found in LSF.