Copyright: INDEED Photography, Simon Bierwald


Scientific Excellence

Information technology has become a substantial part of our everyday life. This rapid progress opens up many opportunities, but also holds dangers. They range from Internet fraud to large-scale attacks on business and governments, in which cybercriminals spy on, sabotage and steal sensitive data. Creating long-term security against criminal attackers - that is the goal of the HGI, one of the Research Departments of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum.

At the HGI, more than 160 scientists and their research groups from the fields of computer science, electrical engineering and information technology and mathematics as well as the humanities and social sciences conduct research. In this unique interdisciplinary environment, almost all aspects of IT security are covered.

As one of the most renowned and largest institutions for basic research in IT security, the HGI offers outstanding opportunities for young scientists to start their career within a structured doctoral program. It is home to the NRW research colleges NERD and SecHuman as well as the Cluster of Excellence CASA.

In the Graduate Schools of the HGI and the Cluster of Excellence, doctoral students can benefit from numerous seminars, training courses and other activities that can deepen their academic and personal development.


Copyright: CASA, Michael Schwettmann

Cluster of Excellence CASA - Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries

The most significant cyberattacks of our time are always conducted by powerful, large-scale enemies. In the Cluster of Excellence CASA, top-class scientists are researching effective and sustainable measures against these attacks. They pursue an interdisciplinary approach in which not only technical issues but also psychological factors of IT security are analyzed.

This constellation is unique in Europe. The cluster was launched in 2019 and is funded by the DFG with approximately 30 million euros for an initial period of 7 years.

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0 Professors
0 PhDs and Postdocs
0 Publications from the most prominent conferences
0 Best Paper Awards at top conferences since 2019
0 ERC Grants

Research areas

Cryptography of the Future

Cryptography is the basis of modern security systems. It provides the basic building blocks that enable secure surfing on the internet, email encryption and crypto-currencies. The HGI has one of the world's leading teams in the field of modern cryptography, dealing for example with highly efficient cyphers for the Internet of Things or post-quantum encryption.

Prof. Dr. Gilles Barthe

Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy

Prof. Dr. Nils Fleischhacker

Chair for Theoretical Cryptography

Prof. Dr. Eike Kiltz

Chair for Cryptography

Prof. Dr. Tanja Lange

Chair for Coding Theory and Cryptology, TU Eindhoven

Prof. Dr. Gregor Leander

Chair for Symmetric Cryptography

Dr. Giulio Malavolta

Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy

Prof. Dr. Alexander May

Chair for Cryptography and IT security

Prof. Dr. Christof Paar

Chair for Embedded Security

Dr. Clara Schneidewind

Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy

Prof. Dr. Peter Schwabe

Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy

Prof. Dr. Jörg Schwenk

Chair for Network and Data Security

Prof. Dr. Michael Walter

Chair for Quantum Information

Secure Systems

Researchers at HGI develop reliable security solutions to detect and prevent attacks on IT systems. The topics range from secure web applications to the detection of software vulnerabilities and new security protocols. Machine Learning (ML) plays an increasingly important role in this context. We are researching, for example, the robustness of ML algorithms and attacks against such systems.

Prof. Dr. Kevin Borgolte

Software Security Group

Prof. Dr. Asja Fischer

Chair for Machine Learning

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Tim Güneysu

Chair for Security Engineering

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Holz

CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security

Dr. habil. Cătălin Hrițcu

Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy

Prof. Dr. Ghassan Karame

Chair for Information Security

Prof. Dr. Katharina Kohls

Chair for System Security

Prof. Dr. Veelasha Moonsamy

Chair for System Security

Prof. Dr. Konrad Rieck

Chair of Machine Learning and Security, TU Berlin & BIFOLD

Prof. Dr. Jörg Schwenk

Chair for Network and Data Security

Prof. Dr. Yuval Yarom

Chair for Computer Security

Prof. Dr. Bilal Zafar

Chair for Computing and Society

Prof. Dr. Christian Zenger

Secure Mobile Networking

Embedded Security

An essential aspect of IT security concerns the embedding of computer systems in their physical environment. The internationally renowned team at HGI is investigating, for example, how hardware manipulation or the reading of cryptographic keys from smart cards and smartphones can be prevented. It is also concerned with securing new types of applications, for example in electromobility or self-driving cars.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Tim Güneysu

Chair for Security Engineering

Prof. Dr. Amir Moradi

TU Darmstadt

Prof. Dr. Christof Paar

Chair for Embedded Security

Prof. Dr. Peter Schwabe

Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy

Prof. Dr. -Ing. Aydin Sezgin

Chair for Digital Communication Systems

Prof. Dr. Yuval Yarom

Chair for Computer Security

Security and Usability

Human (mis)behaviour is a key consideration in protecting IT systems. This has, however, received surprisingly little attention in research to date. Working in an environment that cultivates interdisciplinary approaches, researchers at the HGI are charting and developing a pioneering scientific focus on the secure interplay between human beings and technology. Among other aspects, they are working on new password concepts, the secureness of CAPTCHAs and recognizing "fakes" amongst online reviews.

Dr.-Ing. Asia Biega

Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy

Meeyoung Cha

Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy

Prof. Dr. Markus Dürmuth

Workgroup Mobile Security

Prof. Dr. Karola Marky

Workgroup Digital Sovereignty

Prof. Dr. Alena Naiakshina

Chair for Developer-Centred Security

Prof. Dr. Nikol Rummel

Chair of Educational Psychology and Educational Technology

Prof. Dr. Martina Angela Sasse

Chair for Human-Centred Security

Dr. Yixin Zou

Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy

Interdisciplinary Aspects of IT Security

It is becoming increasingly clear that IT security raises a significant number of legal, linguistic, psychological, sociological and economic questions. That is why at the HGI, researchers from technological and engineering fields and mathematics collaborate closely with researchers from law, linguistics, psychology, educational sciences and philosophy, as well as sociology and economics. These teams conduct joint research, for example, on societal changes in the wake of Edward Snowden's revelations and hackers' learning habits.

Prof. Dr. Annette Kluge

Chair for Business Psychology

Dr. Kerstin Kucharczik

Institute of German Studies

Prof. Dr. Karin Pittner

German Linguistics

Prof. Dr. Nikol Rummel

Chair of Educational Psychology and Educational Technology

Prof. Dr. Estrid Sørensen

Cultural Psychology and Anthropology of Knowledge

Prof. Dr. Anna Tuschling

MRG Spaces of Anthropological Knowledge

Prof. Dr. Brigitte Werners

Chair for Business Administration

Jun.-Prof. Sebastian Weydner-Volkmann

Chair for Ethics of Digital Methods and Techniques

Publications and Awards

More than 200 publications at the most important IT security and cryptography conferences and 16 Best Paper Awards in recent years make the HGI one of the world's most successful research institutions and the European leader in the field.

This excellence is also reflected in a large number of renowned scientific awards and funding programs with which our research has been recognized. For example, the HGI has now acquired nine grants from the European Research Council (ERC Grants).


Copyright: INDEED Photography, Simon Bierwald

Some of our most significant honours include:

  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize: 2024
  • Sofja Kovalevskaja Award: 2010
  • IACR Fellowship: 2016
  • ERC Advanced Grant: 2016, 2022, 2023
  • ERC Consolidator Grant: 2014, 2022
  • ERC Starting Grant: 2015, 2022, 2023
  • DFG Heisenberg Professorship: 2015
  • DFG Heinz Maier Leibnitz Prize: 2011, 2023
  • DFG Emmy Noether Program: 2010, 2015. 2023


The challenges we currently face in IT security are multifaceted, which is why they must be met with an approach that is accordingly comprehensive and integrative. To that end, the HGI brings together a broad and diverse group of researchers from a variety of disciplines. Currently, 26 professors lead research groups with members representing electrical engineering and information technology, mathematics as well as the humanities and social sciences. They conduct investigations into nearly all aspects related to IT security, from basic research in cryptography and Internet and hardware security to user behaviour and legal frameworks.


To support interdisciplinary collaboration sustainably, we organize regularly scheduled events and meetings such as the lecture series "IT Security for the Humanities and Social Sciences" and "Principles and Research Methods in the Humanities and Social Sciences for IT Security". The institute's graduate schools also fully embrace an interdisciplinary approach. Furthermore, the interdisciplinary Identity Protection on the Internet research group (a-i3, Identitätsschutz im Internet e.V.), which was established at the Ruhr-University Bochum in 2005, organizes an extremely well regarded annual symposium in conjunction with the Federal Office for Information Security.


The HGI played a leading role in the conception of the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS). The CAIS was founded in 2017 in Bochum to engage in interdisciplinary research on social, economic, legal, political and technological aspects related to digitalization. To this end, the Center organizes events and working groups and invites experts from academia and industry to spend up to six months as fellows at the institute, where they can carry out work on their projects related to internet research.


SecHuman (Brave New World: Security for Humans in Cyberspace) is a doctoral program at the HGI in cooperation with the TU Dortmund and the FH Dortmund, which investigates questions of IT security with social relevance.

White Hat Hacking in Research

Copyright: HGI, David


With our whitepapers, we aim to present complex IT security topics in a short and concise manner and provide readers with quick access to the subject matter.

Our current whitepaper White Hat Hacking in Research (only available in German) describes the key implications of Paragraph 202a and Paragraph 202c of the German Criminal Code (StGB) for IT security research in Germany and shows why, in our view, a modification of these legal norms not only makes sense, but seems urgently necessary.

Further whitepapers: With certainty 5G (only available in German)