The  CYRENZH  Ph.D. Network Members

Ph.D. Candidates

Jan von der Assen

Threat-oriented Cyber Resilience


Supervisor

Burkhard Stiller (UZH, IfI)

PORTRAIT

Jan von der Assen is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the Department of Informatics, University of Zürich, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Burkhard Stiller. Drawing on his industry experience in software and security engineering, his research is dedicated to exploring and advancing a threat-oriented approach to cybersecurity resilience. From this viewpoint, he concentrates on formulating preventive, reactive, and responsive measures, subjecting them to evaluation in theoretical, experimental, and practical scenarios.

David Baschung


Supervisor

PORTRAIT

David Baschung is a PhD candidate in Technology and Innovation Management at ETH Zurich. He holds a master’s degree in engineering from this institution and has several years of experience in the private industry in various roles concerning cybersecurity. He is interested in understanding how the adoption of new technologies shapes organizations and how they can augment their cyber resilience beyond technological means.

Niklas Gassner

Code Based Cryptography


Supervisor

Joachim Rosenthal (UZH, IfM)

PORTRAIT

Abhinaba Mazumder


Supervisor

PORTRAIT

Sinem Mustacoglu


Supervisor

PORTRAIT

Fabian Reinhard

Agent-Based Modeling for Cybersecurity


Supervisors

Karsten Donnay (UZH, IPZ)
Lucas Leemann (UZH, IPZ)

PORTRAIT

Fabian Reinhard is an independent doctoral student in the research group “Political Behavior and Digital Media”. He holds a Master’s degree in Political Science, Economics, and General Constitutional Law from the University of Zurich.

Conducted at the interdisciplinary competence center Digital Society Initiative (DSI), his research focuses on the utilization of Computational Social Science methods in Cyber Security and Cyber Conflict. Fabian is also an IT entrepreneur who brings his digital expertise to various SME management boards.

Neele Roch

Expert-AI Collaboration in Cybersecurity


Supervisor

Verena Zimmermann (ETH, D-​GESS)

PORTRAIT

With a background in computer science, Neele’s research focuses on usable security, where she aims to enhance the effectiveness and adoption of secure systems by designing and evaluating user-​centric approaches. Through augmenting experts with artificial intelligence in cybersecurity she aims to improve existing cybersecurity tools and measures and ensure successful teaming of humans and machines in high-stakes environments. She is interested in collaborating with multidisciplinary teams, including computer scientists, psychologists, and human-​computer interaction experts.

Thierry Schaltegger

How to Cope with Uncertainty in Cyberspace: The Role of Cognitive Heuristics in Cybersecurity


Supervisors

Nico Ebert (ZHAW, SML)
Karsten Donnay (UZH, IPZ)
Kurt Ackermann (ZHAW, SML)

PORTRAIT

Thierry Schaltegger is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Zurich. His background is in Psychology and Economics and his doctoral research is focused on the role of the human factor in cybersecurity.

The main interests of his research are decision-making under uncertainty, risk, and behavioral economics. He is a team member of the DSI-Project “CYREN ZH” which aims to bridge the gap between research and practice to increase the cyber resilience of the canton of Zurich.

Lorin Schöni

From Vulnerability to Vigilance: Strengthening Human Resilience against Phishing Attacks


Supervisor

Verena Zimmermann (ETH, D-​GESS)

PORTRAIT

Lorin Schöni is a doctoral student in the Security, Privacy and Society group at ETH Zurich. He has a background in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and human-​computer interactions.

His interests lie in combining psychological concepts and technology to address emerging challenges and opportunities arising from ever-increasing digitalisation. To that end, he analyses the interaction of human behaviour and design decisions through established psychological models. His thesis focuses on enhancing human-centred phishing training by leveraging emerging technologies such as augmented reality and AI, alongside improved content and delivery methods tailored to human needs.

Silvia Sconza

Mathematical Primitives for Public Key
Cryptography


Supervisor

Joachim Rosenthal (UZH, IfM)

PORTRAIT

Wissem Soussi

Machine Learning-Driven Cognitive Techniques for Secure 5G/Beyond 5G


Supervisors

Burkhard Stiller (UZH, IfI)
Gürkan Gür (ZHAW, SoE)

PORTRAIT

Wissem Soussi started his PhD studies in February 2021 under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Burkhard Stiller and Dr. Gürkan Gür in a joint Ph.D. program of, respectively, University of Zürich (UZH) and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW). He is additionally a research assistant at ZHAW in the Information Security group (ISE), and part of UZH’s Communication Systems Group (CSG).

In his PhD thesis, Wissem works on the automation of cognitive security management in virtualized and distributed environments, with focus on 5G networks. His main research interests are networks and systems security.

Thomas Sutter

Dynamic security analysis of Android pre-installed apps


Supervisors

Marc Rennhard (ZHAW, SoE)
Timo Kehrer (Uni Bern)

PORTRAIT

I am primarily interested in devices that can run code and connect to networks. After completing my bachelor’s and master’s degrees at ZHAW, I discovered that hacking computers was not only enjoyable but also opened up a realm of possibilities for further learning and exploration within computer science. This ignited a passion for continuous learning, leading me to pursue a PhD at the University of Bern, specializing in mobile security.

Abigail Sutton

Cryptography


Supervisor

Joachim Rosenthal (UZH, IfM)

PORTRAIT

Abigail Sutton is a PhD student in the Institute of Mathematics, at the University of Zürich. She has a background in the theory of error-correcting codes and her doctoral research is in the area of code-based cryptography.

Adrienn Toth

Learning Science


Supervisor

Verena Zimmermann (ETH, D-​GESS)

PORTRAIT

Adrienn Tohth is a doctoral student in the Joint Doctoral Program in Learning Sciences offered by ETH Zurich and EPFL since September 2023. She completed her Bachelor’s in International Business Management at Corvinus University of Budapest and HEC Montreal, and her Master’s in Business Information Management with Data Science specialization at Erasmus University Rotterdam and Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Apart from her studies, she has always worked in the education field, first at a startup and later in a university environment, mainly focusing on content creation and curriculum development.

In her research, Adrienn focuses on the applicability of AI-​based tools in the core curriculum of education programs, starting with higher education. More precisely, she would like to understand how students perceive such a tool from the data security and privacy perspective and whether they trust the quality and accuracy of such systems. Building on this, the goal of her project is to get a good understanding of the main obstacles currently standing in the way of the successful integration of technology into education and provide practical recommendations on how this could be improved. She would like to achieve this by using both qualitative and quantitative research methods and involving many different stakeholders who are affected: students, teachers, executives of education institutions, and providers of education technology tools alike.”

Post Docs

Benjamin Ambühl, Ph.D.

Human Factors in Cybersecurity


Supervisor

Nico Ebert (ZHAW, SML)
Melanie Knieps (UZH, DSI)

PORTRAIT

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the ZHAW and UZH, working on behavioural and organizational aspects of cybersecurity. Previously I worked at Eawag, leading a research project in WaSH of an international consortium.
Having completed studies in Social Psychology, Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology and holding a PhD in Health Psychology of the University of Bern, my research focuses on the behaviour of individuals and organizations. I am particularly interested in behaviour change processes concerning sustainable use, greater acceptance, and increased stewardship behaviour towards shared resources and technologies. For this, I conduct research on the concept of psychological ownership and systematic behaviour change frameworks on individual and organizational level, using interdisciplinary approaches and qualitative and quantitative methods.

alberto Huertas, Ph.D.

An Intelligent and Privacy-preserving
Framework for Providing Secure and
Trusted Resource-constrained Sensors


Supervisor

Burkhard Stiller (UZH, IfI)

PORTRAIT

Alberto Huertas Celdrán is senior researcher at the Communication Systems Group CSG, Department of Informatics IfI, University of Zurich UZH. Dr. Huertas leads the CSG research line focused on cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. He received the MSc and PhD degrees in Computer Science from the University of Murcia, Spain. He has published more than 100 papers and his scientific interests include cybersecurity, machine and deep learning, continuous authentication, brain-computer interfaces, and computer networks.

Julia Lieb, Ph.D.

Coding Theory and Postquantum Cryptography


Supervisor

Joachim Rosenthal (UZH, IfM)

PORTRAIT

Alumni

Simran Tinani, Ph.D.

Group Based Cryptography


Supervisor

PORTRAIT

Christian Killer, Ph.D.

Privacy and Verifiability in Decentralized
Electronic Voting Systems


Supervisor

Burkhard Stiller (UZH, IfI)
Salil Kanhere (UNSW, Australia)

PORTRAIT

Bruno Rodrigues, Ph.D.

DDoS Mitigation Systems and Strategies


Supervisor

Burkhard Stiller (UZH, IfI)

PORTRAIT

Bruno Rodrigues received his doctoral degree from the University of Zurich, in 2020, at the Communication Systems Group under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Burkhard Stiller. Previously, he obtained his master’s degree in 2016 at the University of São Paulo, Brazil. He co-authored 3 patents and published over 60 papers and journals in related IEEE networking conferences (e.g., IEEE/IFIP NOMS, IEEE/IFIP IM, IEEE LCN) and leading IEEE journals (IEEE TSNM, IEEE Communications Magazine). Further, he is actively contributing to the scientific community by actively reviewing papers and journals, acting as a guest editor, and technical program committee in networking and blockchain conferences. His major research focus is on the security of heterogeneous networks, creating and deploying collaborative methods to identify, signal, and mitigate cyberattacks. In specific, to comprehend and enhance the existing knowledge of the rising landscape of cyberattacks, with a particular focus on Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks as a major threat, as well as the difficulties associated with a collaborative defense scenario. For instance, when and how to require that organizations share information, as well as how to request cooperative mitigation based on threat characteristics and economic analyses. In this way, an equally distributed and responsive defense is likewise complex yet imperative given the complexity of vectors and the distribution of attacks.