Usable Security Katharina Krombholz


Currently, no news are available

[Advanced Lecture] Usable Security

The lecture will take place every Tuesday from 14.00-16.00, starting April 9th. Location: CISPA Lecture Hall

Prerequisites: CySec1/CySec2 or Security, basic knowledge in statistics

Max. number of participants: 50

This lecture is an advanced lecture in Usable Security. In this lecture, you will learn about the research methods used to study human-centric aspects of IT security. You will also learn about hot topics in usable security. Ideally, you have already completed CySec1/CySec2 or Security before taking this advanced lecture. Basic knowledge in statistics will be expected. 

If you have not yet completed any security courses BUT have a strong background in human-computer interaction, psychology, or design you are still welcome to attend this interdisciplinary lecture. In that case, please contact us to directly to discuss whether this is the right course for you.

If you have completed the seminar on Usable Security in WS 18/19 you are still welcome attend this advanced lecture. Some of the content might already be familiar, but you especially the methodology part will go more in-depth.


  • Main exam: July 23rd
  • Backup exam: TBA


There will be three different exercise sheets during the semester. You will have three weeks to work on each of them.

  1. Essay including literature research (Announced: on April 16th, Submission: May 7th)
  2. Qualitative research methods (Announced: on May 7th, Submission: May 28th)
  3. Quantitative research methods (Announced: on May 28th, Submission: June 18th)

You will be notified if you are admitted to the written exam on July 9th.


You are encouraged to discuss exercise sheets and ask us and other students for help if necessary. However, do not actually show your resulting work to each other if we did not explicitly tell you to do that.


Your overall grade will consist of

  • 3 exercises (50%),
  • a written exam at the end of the semester (50%),
  • and 3 mini-assignments to collect 6 extra points.

Minimum requirements to pass:

  1. You need to receive half of the available exercise points in order to be admitted to the written exam
  2. You need to receive half of the available exam points

Extra-Points can be used to:

  • get admitted to the written exam if you just missed the required points
  • pass the written exam if you just missed the required points
  • jump grades (e.g. from 2.3 to 2.0) 

Timetable & Topics

Please note that this a tentative timetable. Changes will be announced as news posts.

Date Topic
9.4 Introduction and Organizational Aspects
16.4 User Study Design and Ethics
23.4 Qualitative Methods
7.5 Usability Testing
14.5 Quantitative Methods
28.5 Statistics
11.6 Bias
18.6 Design Methods
25.6 Authentication
2.7 Encryption
9.7 Privacy
16.7 (Backup Slot)
23.7 Written Exam


Privacy Policy | Legal Notice
If you encounter technical problems, please contact the administrators