The Web Security Seminar Ben Stock, Giancarlo Pellegrino


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The Web Security Seminar

For registration, please apply for this seminar through the central seminar assignment system.


In this seminar, students will learn to present, discuss, and summarize papers in different areas of Web security. The seminar is taught as a combination of a reading group with weekly meetings and a regular seminar, where you have to write a seminar paper. Specifically, each student will get a single topic assigned to them, consisting of two papers (a lead and follow-up paper).

For the weekly meetings, all students have to have read the lead paper and must state at least three questions before the meeting. In the meeting, the assigned student will present the follow-up paper (20 minute presentation + 10 minute Q/A). Afterward, the entire group will discuss both papers.

Moreover, each student will write a seminar paper on the topic assigned to them, for which the two papers on the topic serve as the starting point.


Important Details

  • Kickoff: Monday, October 31, 14:00, in person in CISPA 0.02
  • Regular seminar starts Monday, November 14, ends Monday, February 6
  • By Sunday night, 23:59, submit three questions (if you are not presenting the follow-up paper)
  • Mandatory feedback round/practice talk on Thursday before the presentation (arrange exact time with supervisor)
  • Attendance in all meetings and submission of three questions for each topic is mandatory. For exceptional cases, contact the teaching staff.
  • Note that we will not offer a hybrid solution. We plan to have in-person meetings as long as possible and switch to fully online if the need arises.

Seminar Paper Details

Each seminar paper is meant to provide a summary/categorization of research papers in the associated area. Depending on the topic, the paper should be structured in a logical fashion. For example, assume the topic of Service Workers. One might classify the seminar paper based on security considerations for Service Workers, attacks against Service Workers, and attacks enabled through Service Workers. Each section should demonstrate the state of the art in the area. Finally, the paper should, where possible, discuss limitations and open issues given the previously conducted work.

All seminar papers are due on February 10, 2022. Based on your submission, you will receive feedback within one week and have until March 3, 2022 to improve your paper. The paper grading will be on the final version. Note that the first submission must already be sufficient to pass. If you submit a half-baked version of the paper, you will flunk the course.

Each paper must use the provided template. It must not be longer than 8 pages, not counting references and appendices. Note that appendices are not meant to provide information that is absolutely necessary to understand the paper, but rather to provide auxiliary material. Papers can be shorter, but in general the provided page limit is a good indicator of how long a paper should be.


List of Topics and Papers

  1. Web Cache Deception

    1. Web Cache Deception Escalates
    2. Cached and Confused
  2. Request smuggling

    1. FRAMESHIFTER: Security Implications of HTTP/2-to-HTTP/1 Conversion Anomalies (USENIX 2022)
    2. T-Reqs: HTTP Request Smuggling with Differential Fuzzing (CCS 2021)
  3. PHP Analysis

    1. TCHECKER: Precise Static Inter-Procedural Analysis for Detecting Taint-Style Vulnerabilities in PHP Applications (CCS 2022)
    2. FUGIO (
  4. Taint-Tracking for Vulnerability Detection

    1. Probe the Proto: Measuring Client-Side Prototype Pollution Vulnerabilities of One Million Real-world Websites (
    2. Don’t Trust the Locals
  5. Domain Security

    1. Domains Do Change Their Spots: Quantifying Potential Abuse of Residual Trust
    2. Cracking wall of confinement: Understanding and analyzing malicious domain takedowns. (NDSS 2019)
  6. Phishing

    1. I’m SPARTACUS, No, I’m SPARTACUS: Proactively Protecting Users From Phishing by Intentionally Triggering Cloaking Behavior (CCS 2022)
    2. Zhang, Penghui, et al. "Crawlphish: Large-scale analysis of client-side cloaking techniques in phishing." (S&P 2021)
  7. Security Inconsistencies

    1. Security Lottery
    2. Site Policy
  8. Service Workers

    1. SWAPP: A New Programmable Playground for Web Application Security (Usenix 2022)

    2. Master of Web Puppets: Abusing Web Browsers for Persistent and Stealthy Computation (NDSS 2019)
  9. Extension Fingerprinting

    1. The Dangers of Human Touch: Fingerprinting Browser Extensions through User Actions
    2. Unleash the Simulacrum: Shifting Browser Realities for Robust Extension-Fingerprinting Prevention (
  10. Extension Side Effects

    1. Helping or Hindering? How Browser Extensions Undermine Security (
    2. Hulk: Eliciting Malicious Behavior in Browser Extensions (
  11. VR and Web

    1. AdCube: WebVR Ad Fraud and Practical Confinement of Third-Party Ads (
    2. SurroundWeb: Mitigating Privacy Concerns in a 3D Web Browser (
  12. Data Leakage (Ben)
    1. Leaky Forms
    2. Fill in the Blanks


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