Publication on Privacy Proofs for Energy Consumption Aggregation Protocols

We are starting the new year with a new publication on privacy-preserving aggregation protocols in the Smart Grid. Andreas Unterweger, Fabian Knirsch, Günther Eibl and Dominik Engel from the Center for Secure Energy Informatics contributed to this publication in the Journal IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid.

The paper provides a guideline on how to prove the privacy guarantees of aggregation protocols which is important for protocol developers in the energy domain. Although the proving method is very technical, an easy-to-understand way to communicate these derived privacy guarantees is shown which makes a comparison of the results feasible also for non-experts.

  • [PDF] [DOI] A. Unterweger, S. Taheri-Boshrooyeh, G. Eibl, F. Knirsch, A. Küpçü, and D. Engel, “Understanding Game-Based Privacy Proofs for Energy Consumption Aggregation Protocols,” IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, 2018.
    author = {Unterweger, Andreas and Taheri-Boshrooyeh, Sanaz and Eibl, G{\"{u}}nther and Knirsch, Fabian and K{\"{u}}p{\c{c}}{\"{u}}, Alptekin and Engel, Dominik},
    journal = {IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid},
    publisher = {IEEE},
    title = {{Understanding Game-Based Privacy Proofs for Energy Consumption
    Aggregation Protocols}},
    year = {2018},
    note = {early access.},
    pdf = {},
    doi = {10.1109/TSG.2018.2883951},

Stefan Binna wins AK science award 2018

We are proud to announce that Stefan Binna, former CSE laboratory assistant and alumnus of the Information Technology and Systems Management program at Salzburg University of Applied Sciences was awarded for his master thesis on “Intrusion Detection in Cyber-Physical Systems”. He received the science award 2018 granted by the Austrian worker’s chamber.


AK science award 2018 Stefan Binna

Stefan Binna (4th from left in the back) at the award ceremony. (c) AK/Lindhuber


Best Session Presentation for Oliver Langthaler at ICUMT in Russia

ICUMT 2018 Oliver Langthaler

Oliver Langthaler presented the challenges and current progress of the project VirtueGrid at ICUMT in Moscow. Photo: FH Salzburg / ICUMT

Langthaler participated in the 10th International Congress on Ultra Modern Telecommunications and Control Systems (ICUMT) from 4 – 6 November 2018 in Moscow, Russia. Chair Francesco Marcelloni awarded Langthaler’s presentation on “Enabling Application Independent Redundancy by Using Software Defined Networking” as the best within the session for practical implementations of control systems.

In his presentation, Oliver Langthaler reported on the challenges and current progress of the project VirtueGrid, which investigates, how virtualization and software defined networking can be used to increase system reliability, minimize configuration effort and improve situational awareness in the domain of Smart Grid IT infrastructure.

The ICUMT congress organized jointly by RUDN University, Brno University of Technology, Tampere University of Technology as well as several industrial partners and brings together leading international players in telecommunications, control systems, automation and robotics.

Andreas Unterweger Contributed to EU Blockchain Round Table

On 30 October 2018 CSE researcher Andreas Unterweger was invited to Brussels to serve as an academic expert in the iCPS Blockchain Europe Round Table.

Unterweger provided expertise on necessary EU actions in the current legislative period to support the early adoption of blockchain technologies. One of the topics was the conflict between GDPR with its focus on the right of data deletion, and the aim of blockchain to keep a final and definitive record of transactions.

Apart from academic experts the round table consisted of national representatives, technology and advocacy groups, industry stakeholders as well as policymakers.

Outcomes of the discussion will be published as a Blockchain Report in the Government Gazette. As a participant of the roundtable, Unterweger was invited to contribute to this report.

Andreas Unterweger EU Flag

Dr. Andreas Unterweger provided expertise on necessary EU actions. Photo: FH Salzburg / Unterweger / pixabay

SUAS hosted 15th Austrian IT Security Day

About 120 participants joined the 15th Austrian IT Security Day (Österreichischer IT-Sicherheitstag) on November 14, 2018 at Salzburg University of Applied Sciences (SUAS). The 11 lectures were clustered in organizational, technical and legal aspects of IT security as well as hacking.

The program covered, among other topics:
– The risk sits IN FRONT of the screen
– How to deal with security and risks in the real and virtual world
– Selected questions about GDPR and DPA
– Car hacking

Goal of the yearly event organized by Peter Schartner from the University of Klagenfurt System Security Group and Dominik Engel, head of the Center for Secure Energy Informatics, is to provide comprehensible, practical and economically justifiable solutions to IT security questions.

Austrian IT Security Day

Austrian IT Security Day

Austrian IT Security Day

Dominik Engel Holds Keynote at DACH+ Conference

Mid of October a delegation of CSE-researchers travelled to Oldenburg to participate in the annual DACH+ Conference on Energy Informatics. Dominik Engel and Günther Eibl contributed with a keynote and a paper presentation, respectively.

In his keynote, Dominik Engel, head of the CSE, addressed the question if cyber defense of future energy systems is a lost cause, as the systems are perceived as too complex to be secured properly. He reviewed current threats and trends in cyber security and discussed the state of the art in counter-measures, including new approaches such as blockchain technology.

Dominik Engel held a keynote on whether cyber defense of future energy systems is a lost cause

Günther Eibl nominated for best paper award

Together with Kaibin Bao and Hartmut Schmeck from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology as well as Daniel Bernau and Philip Grassal from SAP, CSE researcher Prof. (FH) Dr. Günther Eibl published the paper The Influence of Differential Privacy on Short Term Electric Load Forecasting which was presented at the conference and among the top four shortlisted for the best paper award.

In this paper they evaluated whether using smart metering data provides an actual benefit for the energy provider to refine the forecast of domestic loads of their customers while preserving their privacy. They examined a methodology on how to collect the necessary data in smaller zones to reach more accurate forecasts for the bigger balancing group without weakening the data privacy protection. This was done by applying the differential privacy technology, in which privacy is preserved by adding an accurately defined noise to each small zone. Results showed that the three well-documented load forecasting approaches that were used are variously susceptible to noise. For one forecasting approach, however, reasonable utility was reached while providing a strong privacy guarantee.

  • [PDF] [DOI] G. Eibl, K. Bao, P. Grassal, D. Bernau, and H. Schmeck, “The influence of differential privacy on short term electric load forecasting,” Energy Informatics, vol. 1, iss. 1, p. 93–113, 2018.
    author={Eibl, G{\"u}nther
    and Bao, Kaibin
    and Grassal, Philip-William
    and Bernau, Daniel
    and Schmeck, Hartmut},
    title= {The influence of differential privacy on short term electric load forecasting},
    journal= {Energy Informatics},
    year= {2018},
    month= {Oct},
    abstract={There has been a large number of contributions on privacy-preserving smart metering with Differential Privacy, addressing questions from actual enforcement at the smart meter to billing at the energy provider. However, exploitation is mostly limited to application of cryptographic security means between smart meters and energy providers. We illustrate along the use case of privacy preserving load forecasting that Differential Privacy is indeed a valuable addition that unlocks novel information flows for optimization. We show that (i) there are large differences in utility along three selected forecasting methods, (ii) energy providers can enjoy good utility especially under the linear regression benchmark model, and (iii) households can participate in privacy preserving load forecasting with an individual membership inference risk <60{\%}, only 10{\%} over random guessing.},
    pdf = {},

In 2019, the renowned DACH+ Energy Informatics conference will take place at Salzburg University of Applied Sciences (SUAS).

Günther Eibl presenting his paper shortlisted for the best paper award

The CSE delegation: Günther Eibl, Judith Schwarzer and Dominik Engel (left to right)

ComForEn Conference on Blockchains for the Energy Systems

Blockchains for the Energy System was the topic of this year’s Symposium on Communications for Energy Systems (ComForEn) hosted by the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences from October 1st to 2nd 2018.

Center for Secure Energy Informatics (CSE) researcher Dr. Fabian Knirsch presented the blockchain-pilot Prochain. This FFG project analyzes the potential and the challenges of blockchain technology in the distribution system, as well as the degree of customer participation.

Dr. Fabian Knirsch presented the CSE project Prochain at ComForEN

The presentations were followed by an intensive discussion of current research projects, including Prochain as well as the CSE project VirtueGrid lead by DI Armin Veichtlbauer.

The ComForEN symposium brings together energy and information technology experts from science and industry to discuss emerging topics in the context of current Austrian smart grids research projects. The yearly event is an initiative from the Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH and the Austrian Union for Electrical Engineering.

ComForEN conference proceedings (in German)
Conference Website:

CSE Researchers attend Lorentz Workshop on InVivo Software Analytics

Günther Eibl, Andreas Unterweger and Fabian Knirsch were invited to the 2018 Lorentz Workshop on InVivo Software Analytics in Leiden, The Netherlands.
The scope of this workshop included software testing, requirements engineering and blockchains. Researchers from different fields collaborated and worked in break-out sessions on future topics for research that spans multiple domains.
Andreas Unterweger and Fabian Knirsch from the Center for Secure Energy Informatics presented their latest research on Privacy-Preserving Operation of Blockchain Technology in the Smart Grid User Domain. The talk presented teir work on privacy-preserving tariff matching protocols, privacy-preserving EV charging and the blockchain implementation for sharing portions of energy generated from photo voltaic power plants in residential households. Fruitful discussions emerged from the cross-domain knowledge transfer.
The Lorentz Center in Leiden ( hosts international workshops after a rigorous review of proposals in a scientific committee. Workshop proposals should foster new collaborations in otherwise diverse groups of researchers.

Twitter stream:

Demand-Response at INDIN 2018

The University of Porto, home of the celebrated Port Wine, hosted the 16th International Conference on Industrial Informatics (INDIN`2018). International researchers, academics and practitioners presented their work related to industrial informatics and their applications. The Special Session Advanced ICT and Control Approaches for Intelligent Energy Systems was a good opportunity for Judith Schwarzer to show her Conceptual Design of an Agent-based Socio-technical Demand Response Consumer Model.

For more details, see:

  • [PDF] [DOI] J. Schwarzer, D. Engel, and S. Lehnhoff, “Conceptual Design of an Agent-based Socio-technical Demand Response Consumer Model,” in International Conference on Industrial Informatics, Porto, Portugal, 2018, pp. 680-685.
    address = {Porto, Portugal},
    author = {Schwarzer, Judith and Engel, Dominik and Lehnhoff, Sebastian},
    booktitle = {{International Conference on Industrial Informatics}},
    month = {7},
    publisher = {{IEEE}},
    pages = {680-685},
    keywords = {demand response;user model;structural agent analysis;agent based simulation},
    doi = {10.1109/INDIN.2018.8472021},
    ISSN = {2378-363X},
    title = {Conceptual Design of an Agent-based Socio-technical Demand Response Consumer Model},
    year = {2018},
    pdf = {},