Secure Mobile Systems

News & Organization

The course Secure Mobile Systems (SeMoSy) is offered each summer term.

The first lecture in summer 2021 takes place on Thursday, April 15, 11:40 – 13:20, following lectures take place each week on Thursday at the same time. Due to the ongoing situation around Covid-19, it is held online. As the course is meant to be interactive and heavily relies on the engagement of students during lectures, we will use a web conferencing system to give the lecture in a live stream.

Technical information on how to participate can be found on the learning portal Moodle at the computer science department. All organizational details will be discussed during this first lecture.

News, further organizational details, the course schedule as well as all supporting lecture material will also be distributed using the learning portal. If you want to participate in SeMoSy, please register yourself as follows:

  • Using your TU account, please join the course Secure Mobile Systems 2021. The Moodle course will be visible from April 1. Please enroll as soon as possible to not miss any important information.

The course language is English. Study-related information about the course such as course area, course number, credits, etc. can be found in TUCaN, by searching for course 20-00-0583.


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Hollick

Frank Hessel

Contents of the Course

The course Secure Mobile Systems covers the theory and application of information security in mobile, wireless systems.

This course will build on last year's explorative course to teach Secure Mobile Systems. That is, we will typically hand out reading material in advance of each class and require the students to prepare themselves for the upcoming lecture. In class, we will discuss the papers and identify the most important aspects and contributions influencing secure mobile systems. This is complemented by presentations of the SeMoSy team.

We will roughly cover the following topics (some more broadly, others very much in detail).

  • Fundamentals of distributed, mobile, wireless systems. Security analysis and threat models for mobile systems (broadcast nature of wireless channel, resource constraints, etc.).
  • Security issues in Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN): intrusion detection, performance vs. security trade-offs, energy-depletion attacks, efficient authentication and confidentiality for performance-weak devices, etc.
  • Overview of recent research results covering security protocols for secure routing in Mobile Ad hoc Networks (MANET), for secure localized routing algorithms, etc.
  • Privacy in general and in particular what lessons can we learn from Edward Snowden's revelations on the state of affairs in surveillance of mobile and wireless systems.
  • If time permits: security at the physical layer using software-defined radios. Visible light and mmWave security.
  • If time permits: security issues in GSM and UMTS cellular radio networks: attacks and countermeasures.
  • If time permits: mobile systems and nation state adversaries


Students attending the lecture are acquiring knowledge in the domain of security with emphasis on mobile, distributed, wireless communication networks. Students are able to apply and transfer the most important fundamentals from IT security, cryptography and traditional network security to the field of mobile systems. Students obtain a thorough understanding of security mechanisms on the different network layers (application layer, transport layer, network layer, link layer, physical layer). As a result, they are able to thoroughly discuss the characteristics and principles in the area of mobile system security and exhibit detailed theoretical and practical knowledge in this field. Graded exam (written or oral, depending on number of students). Students can achieve a bonus for the examination by additional attainments.


During the course, we will study selected chapters from following books as well as selected journal articles and conference papers:

[BuHu2008] Levente Buttyan, Jean-Pierre Hubaux: Security and Cooperation in Wireless Networks, Cambridge University Press, 2008, ISBN: 978-0-521-87371-0 (book is available online for download)

[Bishop2003] Matt Bishop: Computer Security – Art and Science, Addison Wesley, 2003, ISBN: 978-0-201-44099-7