Completed Projects at KIT

End-to-End Verifiable and Secret Online Elections at KIT

KIT currently offers the possibility to conduct online polls. Thereby, conducting open votes, e.g., within video meetings of committees, is relatively easy. However, secret online votes and elections pose a disproportionately greater challenge – due to the opposing requirements which result from the secrecy of the ballot on the one hand side and the need for traceable correctness and election security on the other hand side. Therefore in 2021, the project „Introduction of Online Elections at KIT“ started at KIT, which examines the legal framework conditions, adjusts them, and looks at realization possibilities analogous to the approaches of other universities (usually, these are referred to as so-called black-box systems). For this matter, policy-regulatory and formal-organisational questions initially play a superordinate role. A forward-looking consideration of questions about traceable correctness of the election results – e.g., for being able to reveal manipulations – and thereby the creation of digital transparency for the voters demands in addition a further and deeper investigation.

The goal of this project is the design and the prototypical implementation of an online voting system for end-to-end verifiable, secret elections at KIT. The prototype will be employed for a KIT-wide straw poll. The aim is notably not to change the decision-making power, but to explain complex technical situations.

Project website

Funding body: KIT-Strategiefond

Partners: Bernhard Beckert, Jörn Müller-Quade, Martin Nußbaumer, Michael Kirsten, Felix Dörre, Ulrich Weiß

Funding period: 01.07.2022-31.12.2023

Contact: Melanie Volkamer


The security of websites depends on its owner. Small website owners (individuals, clubs, freelancer, SME) provide the bulk of websites on the Internet, but often neglect the security aspect of ther sites. They use cheap software systems plagued by security vulnerabilities to manage their websites. Operators of fraudulent online shops (fake shops) exploit these vulnerabilities by inconspicuously redirecting visitors of renowned websites to their fake shop. There they trick visitors into pre-paying for products the vistors will never receive. Oftentimes the owners of the "victim-websites" do not recognize that their sites have been hacked due to insufficient knowledge of the issues and how to detect them. Many websites are affected by such hacks and millions of German citizens have become victims of fake shops.

The goal of the project is to crawl the German-speaking Internet and identifiy hacked websites through methods methods artificial intelligence in an automated fashion. Additionally, measures will be developed that allow informing owners of affected websites, mitigate the damage to the websites, and reduce the risk of further successful attacks.

Funding body: BMBF

Partners: mindUp Web + Intelligence GmbH, BDO AG

Funding period: 01.06.2020 - 31.11.2023

Contact: Anne Hennig, Peter Mayer, Melanie Volkamer


Future Democracies(KIT-Exzellenzuniversität)

Democracy is a valuable asset. In order to be able to protect them in the future,Logo Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung technical protective measures are required. Two important areas are the secure and reliable digitization of the electoral processes including the secure and usable implementation of new concepts such as the liquid democracy concept and the containment of the influence of fake news and alike. The aim is - by means of workshops - to bundle the research and interest of researchers in the field of future democracies from the KIT center KCIST.

More information:


Logo Baden-Württemberg Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Lehre

Funding body: KIT-Exzellenzuniversität, BMBF, MWK

Partners: KIT Zentrum KCIST

Funding period: 01.05.2021 - 31.01.2022

Contact: Melanie Volkamer



The Competence Center for Applied Security Technology (KASTEL) is one of three competence centers for cyber security in Germany, which were initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in March 2011. Following the motto “Comprehensible security in the networked world”, KASTEL is meeting the challenges posed by the increasing interconnection of previously isolated systems. Of particular importance are the consequences of digitalization in the area of critical infrastructures, for example in the energy economy, in industrial production or networked mobility, but also in "intelligent" environments. KASTEL bundles the competencies in the field of IT security at the research location Karlsruhe. The goal is to develop a widespread approach instead of isolated partial solutions. The focus will be on comprehensive security in specific application areas, such as power grids or intelligent factories. To ensure this security, new threats need to be modeled, security objectives need to be described and new methods have to be developed. This can only be achieved through the cooperation of cryptographers, IT-security specialists, software-engineers, network experts, jurists, economics and social scientists – like here at KASTEL.

The goal of the project 'human factors' is to research security concepts and awareness approaches in the context of energy providers.

Project website

Funding body: BMBF

Partners: FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik; Fraunhofer-Institut for Optronik, Systemtechnik und Bildauswertung; secorvo Security Consulting Karlsruhe; Karlsruher IT-Sicherheitsinitiative; Surveillance: Ethical Issues, Legal Limitations and Efficienty; Forschungsverband - Sicherheit im öffentlichen Raum; AISEC - Fraunhofer-Einrichtung für Angewante und Integrierte Sicherheit

Funding period: 01.05.2018 - 30.04.2021

Contact: Lukas Aldag, Benjamin ReinheimerMelanie Volkamer


GHOST (EU H2020)

The project deals with Smart Homes - households in which domestic appliances and multimedia equipment interact and can be centrally remote controlled. These Smart Homes give rise to diverse and complex cyber-security challenges, on which GHOST reacts using a pioneering, software-compatible and usable security solution. GHOST provides a transparent cyber-security environment for all Europeans living in a networked world: with minimal effort, consumers shall be aware of and understand cyber-security risks and shall make informed decisions regarding their cyber-physical security and privacy.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No GA-740923").

Funding body: European Union (EU)

Partners: Televe, Université de Genève, Centre for Research & Technology - Hellas (Certh), NTNU: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Imperial College of Science - London, EXUS Software, Kalos Information Systems, Cruz Roja Espanola Fundacion, Obrela Security Industries.

Funding period: 01.05.2017 – 31.05.2020

Contact: Alireza Zarei, Oksana Kulyk, Melanie Volkamer


Phishing Warnings (Google)

This project will thoroughly investigate the effectiveness and usability of such link-centric phishing warnings by (1) integrating, improving, and evaluating their warning design; (2) conducting an online behavioral experiment to validate and optimize the link security indicators and cool-down methods of the warnings; and (3) implementing the results in a publicly available browser extension, which (4) will enable a future long-term field study on the effectiveness and habituation to phishing warnings. The results will have a practical impact on the design of phishing alerts in online email clients (e.g. Gmail) and browsers (e.g. Chrome).

Email services like Gmail automatically detect certain suspicious links and filter out many phishing emails. However, despite its high accuracy, phishing detection is probabilistic and can produce false positives (removal of legitimate email) and false negatives (no Spear-Phishing detection). Therefore, phishing alerts complement automatic detection to deal with uncertainty, and people are still encouraged to carefully check URLs before clicking on a link to avoid phishing.

Sponsored by: Google

Cooperation partner: University of Michigan

Period: Since 2020

Contact: Melanie Volkamer, Benjamin Reinheimer


Secure and usable authentication for AR & VR Head-Mounted Displays (Facebook Research Award)

Augmented & Virtual Reality (AR & VR) Head-Mounted Displays (HMD) bring digital communication to the next level.  AR & VR devices increasingly provide social activities, like virtual gaming, virtual shopping or navigational support. Many of these activities happen in so-called shared spaces, i.e., places not strictly public, but where multiple people are present at the same time. However, these activities introduce new security challenges in AR & VR, including authentication challenges. Authentication with AR & VR HMDs, e.g. for making payments during virtual shopping or entering a virtual conference, needs to be (1) resistant to observation, (2) user friendly, (3) perceived as secure and (4) does not require additional equipment.

This project aims to develop and evaluate secure und usable authentication schemes for AR & VR HMDs. Existing and newly designed authentication schemes will be implemented using various interaction methods of AR & VR HMDs. The schemes will be validated with user studies both in Germany and the US.

Sponsored by: Facebook

Cooperation partner: University of Denver

Period: Seit 2020

Contact: Reyhan Düzgün, Peter Mayer, Melanie Volkamer


Digilog (Land BW)

Digitalisation is changing social coexistence in a variety of ways, some of which are fundamental. The aim of digilog@bw is to analyse the influence of digitalization on people and the resulting social changes in an interdisciplinary way. The digilog@bw project develops scientifically sound decision bases for politics and society in order to enable digitalization to be designed for the benefit of people. This design task requires orientation towards critically reflected values, norms and framework conditions. The collaborative projects "Autonomy", "Knowledge" and "Participation" will be carried out in an interdisciplinary and cross-location basis and will focus on the question of criteria for a promising and responsible digital society.

To this end, the Research Network brings together Baden-Württemberg expertise from university and non-university research in the humanities, social sciences, law, economics, media and communication sciences, ethics, computer science and interdisciplinary technology assessment at the highest scientific level. digilog@bw is also characterised by the fact that a multi-layered dialogue with the public through exhibitions, discussion events and lecture series will be created. Thus, digilog@bw will make a well-founded contribution not only to scientific but also to public discourse.

Funding body: BMBF Land BW

Partners: University of Mannheim, Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), KASTEL@KIT, KD2Lab@KIT, ITAS@KIT, International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW), University of Tübingen, GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research, Leibniz Institute for the German Language (IDS), Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien (IWM), ZKM | Center for Art and Media

Funding period: 01.09.2019 - 30.08.202

Contact: Melanie Volkamer, ,