The JAACS is the Alumni Association of the three Computer Science Institutes INF, IIUN and DIUF of the Universities of Bern, Neuchâtel, and Fribourg. More information about the association and how to register can be found at https://www.jointalumni.ch/admission.
The JAACS annually awards a prize for the best Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral thesis at the INF, IIUN and DIUF that was defended during the academic year. The winners are selected by the respective institutes and are presented the award at the institute’s end-of-year event.
Dr. Nenad Savic
«Non-classical Reasoning and Justifications”
Justification logic provides a framework to reason with and about the evidence of an agent’s belief or knowledge. Since in general evidence does not need to be certain, this framework has to be extended to accommodate uncertain justifications. In his PhD thesis, Savic develops justification logics with operators for conditional probabilities as well as for imprecise probabilities for dealing with incomplete information. Moreover, Savic also implements a relevant justification logic in order to provide a more intuitive deductive inference.
In his excellent dissertation, Nenad Savic developed several novel justification logics that solve the important problem of evidential reasoning under uncertainty. To achieve this he had to combine many results from different areas of computer science, mathematics and philosophy. The work of Savic lead to numerous publications in international top journals and conferences.
«Semirings of Evidence”
In his Master thesis, Baur equips justifications with an algebraic semiring structure. Using semirings has been proven useful in databases to model provenance. Baur generalizes this approach to obtain a logical theory of arbitrary justifications with algebraic structure. This can be employed to model trust, fuzziness, cost, etc.
Baur successfully generalized an approach used for databases so that it becomes applicable in a broad logical context. This leads to numerous applications and also seems to be a new and promising approach to handle common knowledge. Baur’s work has been published in conference proceedings and a journal version is currently under review.
«Investigating Phishing on Demand”
Gathering protected information by disguising an attacker as a trustworthy contact in electronic communication, also known as “phishing,” is the primary technique attackers use to steal sensitive data. Phishing websites are mainly static and barely synchronize with the original website. We investigate “Phishing on Demand”, a technique to dynamically replicate any website for phishing purposes. The replicas are available with a few clicks and are always in sync with the original web pages. Our studies with a proof of concept show that this phishing technique is highly effective. For instance, we could successfully run phishing campaigns against major Swiss e-banking websites with two-factor authentication. With this thesis, we show that there is a demand for more robust visual similarity algorithms for websites that are able to track changes applied to original sites such as insertions of banners, rewritings of text, or alterations to graphics.
Pascal Gerig implemented a novel website spoofing tool that is able to disguise a site’s origin for the majority of users. He had to find ingenious workarounds for problems commonly found in state-of-the-art software, and he also contributed to a scientific paper. This work is currently under review and will be submitted to a top tier conference early next year.