Prof. Dr.  Thorsten Strufe

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Strufe

  • Am Fasanengarten 5
    76131 Karlsruhe

About the scientist

Thorsten Strufe is Professor of IT Security at KIT, adjunct professor for Privacy and Network Security at TU Dresden, Deputy Speaker of the Cluster of Excellence CeTI (Centre for Tactile Internet with Human-in-the-Loop), and PI in the German Competence Center for IT Security KASTEL, the Research Training Group RoSI (TU Dresden), and the 5G-Lab Germany.

Vita and Research Interest

His research interests lie in the areas of large distributed systems and social media, with a focus on privacy and resilience. More recently, he has focused on studying user behavior and security in social media, and on ways to provide privacy-friendly and secure social networking services, while being fascinated by protection through decentralization. One of the challenges that drives him is how to create competitive web services and mobile apps without extensive collection of personal information, thus respecting the privacy of their users.

Prior to his position at KIT, he was full professor of privacy and security at TU Dresden from 2014 to 2019, received an offer for the Chair of Security and Privacy at University of Freiburg, was assistant professor for Peer-to-Peer Networks at TU Darmstadt from 2009 to 2014, and deputy professor for Secure Distributed Systems at the University of Mannheim throughout 2011. During this time, he was PI in several research groups and collaborative projects, such as the SFB 912 HAEC (Highly Adaptive Energy-Efficient Communication, TU Dresden), the SFB 1053 MAKI (Multi-Mechanism Adaptation for the Future Internet, TU Darmstadt), the research group 733 QuaP2P (Improving the Quality of Peer-to-Peer Systems, TU Darmstadt) and various collaborative projects within the funding programmes of EU and BMBF.

Previously, he held a position as senior researcher at EURECOM, where he worked with Refik Molva in the area of security and privacy with a special focus on online social networks, and did a postdoctoral research project at the Technical University (TU) of Ilmenau, where he worked on robust network technologies.
He received his PhD, supervised by Günter Schäfer and Dietrich Reschke, from TU Ilmenau in 2007,  and was awarded the ''FFK Prize for the best theoretically oriented dissertation''. His dissertation deals with the construction of network efficient overlay topologies for live streaming and the possibility to make them particularly resistant to node failure and DoS attacks, such as censorship.

Selected Publications

  • Christiane Kuhn; Martin Beck; Thorsten Strufe. Breaking and (partially) fixing provably secure onion routing. Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (S&P), 2020.
  • Clemens Deußer; Steffen Passmann; Thorsten Strufe. Browsing Unicity: On the limits of anonymizing web tracking data. In Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (S&P), 2020.
  • Christiane Kuhn and Martin Beck and Stefan Schiffner and Eduard Jorswieck and Thorsten Strufe. On privacy notions in anonymous communication. Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies (2), 105-125, 2019.
  • Stefanie Roos and Thorsten Strufe. Dealing with dead ends – efficient routing in darknets. Transactions on Modeling and Performance Evaluation of Computing Systems (ToMPECS), 2016.
  • Stefanie Roos and Thorsten Strufe. On the impossibility of efficient self-stabilization in virtual overlays with churn. In IEEE INFOCOM, pages 298 – 306, 2015.
  • Wolfgang Effelsberg, Ralf Steinmetz, and Thorsten Strufe (Eds.): "Benchmarking Peer-to-Peer Systems - Understanding Quality of Service in Large-Scale Distributed Systems.", LNCS State of the Art Surveys, 7847, Springer, Heidelberg, 2013.
  • Damiano Carra, Pietro Michiardi, Hani Salah, and Thorsten Strufe: "On the impact of incentives in aMule." Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, 2013.
  • Thomas Paul, Martin Stopczynski, Daniel Puscher, Melanie Volkamer, and Thorsten Strufe. C4PS – Helping Facebookers Manage their Privacy Settings. In SocInfo, 2012.
  • Michael Brinkmeier, Guenter Schaefer, and Thorsten Strufe. Optimally DoS resistant P2P Topologies for Live Multimedia Streaming. Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, 2009.
  • Leyla Bilge, Thorsten Strufe, Davide Balzarotti, and Engin Kirda. All Your Contacts Are Belong to Us: Automated Identity Theft Attacks on Social Networks. In Proceedings of the 18th International World Wide Web Conference, 2009.
  • L. A. Cutillo, R. Molva, and T. Strufe. Safebook: A privacy-preserving online social network leveraging on real-life trust. In: Communication Magazine, IEEE, Volume 47, Issue 12, December, 2009.

Please refer to the publications page of the chair, or DBLP/google scholar for a more comprehensive list of publications.


  • PETS Best Paper: "On Privacy Notions in Anonymous Communication" (mit Christiane Kuhn, Martin Beck, Stefan Schiffner und Eduard Jorswieck)
  • ACM ht Best Paper: "Small-Scale Incident Detection based on Microposts" (mit Axel Schulz und Benedikt Schmidt)
  • Distinguished TPC Member Award at IEEE INFOCOM 2015
  • SSS Best Paper: On the Resilience of Pull-based P2P Streaming Systems against DoS Attacks (mit Giang Nguyen und Mathias Fischer)
  • ISCC Best Paper: Characterizing Graph-Theoretic Properties of a Large-Scale DHT: Measurements vs. Simulations (mit Hani Salah und Stefanie Roos)
  • SpringSim Best Paper: DarknetSim - A Simulation Framework for Social Overlays (mit Patrik Welzel, Stefanie Roos und Andreas Höfer)
  • FFK price for the best theory-oriented dissertation
  • Promotion Dr.-Ing. ”summa cum laude“ (with highest honors)

Selected Invited Talks

  • "On the Limits of 'Anonymizing' Web Tracking Data by Generalization", Invited talk at UC Irvine, California, 9.12.2019
  • "Security in the Tactile Internet", Invited Talk at the ENCASE Final Workshop “Cybersafety: Threats and Intelligent Parental Advice Tools for Protection in Social Networks”, 18.10.2019
  • "The Tactile Internet with Human-in-the-Loop", Doktorandenforum der Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes, Nürnberg, 30.11.2018
  • "Why we shouldn’t give up on diversity on the Web, just yet", Invited talk at TEDxDres-
    den, Dresden, Germany, 11.09.2016
  • "Anonymized Routing for privacy-preserving Online Services", Invited talk at Sandia
    National Labs, Livermore, CA, USA 16. 04. 2016
  • "Policies addressing software- and hardware vulnerabilities and the Internet architecture/backbone", Invited talk at the European Parliament’s Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs, Brussels, 15. 12. 2015
  • “Towards ’Dark’ Social Networking Services”, Invited talk, at MIT Media Lab, Boston, USA, 03. 06. 2014
  • Towards "Dark" Social Networking Services, University of Berkeley/ICSI, USA, 27. 03. 2013
  • Smart Sensor Network for Traffic Pollution Monitoring, Ministry for Transport -- Transport Development and Strategy Institute, Hanoi, Vietnam, 01. 03. 2013
  • What technological support for privacy do we need or need to improve?, Panelist at Google Faculty Summit, Zürich, Switzerland, 12. 05. 2011
  • Future Directions of Social IPTV, International IT-Convergence Workshop for Future Networks and Services, KAIST, Daejeon, Korea, 26. 11. 2010
  • Wie verändert das Internet unsere Kommunikation und Lebenswelt?, Wissenschaftsforum des Deutschen Bundestages, Germany, 3. 11. 2010
  • Using Motifs to Optimize Structured P2P Substrates, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK, 11. 06. 2009

Academic Services

Editorials and PC memberships

  • Area Editor in Elsevier's "Online Social Networks and Media Journal"
  • Editor in PeerJ’s OpenAccess Journal “Computer Science”
  • Area Editor in Elsevier’s “Computer Communications Journal”
  • Editor mehrer Special Issues zu "Online Social Networks" in Elsevier's "Computer Communications Journal"
  • Area TPC Chair bei IEEE INFOCOM seit 2016
  • Regelm. Mitglied der Programmkommitees von WebConf (WWW), CCS, INFOCOM, PerCom, ICDCS, PETS, ICC, Globecom, IEEE CNS


  • Organizer and SC member of the Interdisciplinary Summer School on Privacy (ISP), (since 2017)
  • Co-Organizer of Dagstuhl Seminar 17372 “Cybersafety in Modern Online Social Networks”, with Jeremy Blackburn, Emiliano de Cristofaro, and Michael Sirivianos, 2017
  • Co-chair of “Privacy and Inference”, Dresden, Germany, 2015
  • Symposium Chair for „Communication and Information Systems Security” at IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC) 2014, Sydney, Australien
  • Co-Organizer of Dagstuhl Seminar 13062 “Decentralizing Systems for Privacy Preservation”, with Sonja Buchegger, Jon Crowcroft, and Balachander Krishnamurthy, 2013
  • Co-chair of the Workshop “Security and Social Networks (SESOC)”, in conjunction with IEEE PerCom, 2010 - 2013
  • TPC chair for “Network Sciences and Social Networks” at the 21st IEEE International Conference for Computer Communication Networks (ICCCN), 2012, München, Germany
  • TPC co-chair for “Social Networks” at the 14th International Symposium for Stabiliza- tion, Safety, and Security of Distributed Systems (SSS), 2012, Toronto, Canada

Academic Services

  • Member of the Municipal Science Council ( MINT-Forschungsrats) of Hamburg (bis 2019)
  • Liaison Professor of the German National Merit Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes, TU Darmstadt und TU Dresden)
  • CIO of the School of Engineering, TU Dresden (bis 2018)
  • Steering committee member (LG) of the SIG Communication and Distributed Systems KuVS (Kommunikation und Verteilte Systeme) of the German Computer Science Foundation GI.
  • Member of the Faculty Council (TU Ilmenau, TU Dresden) and various commissions