Blockchain and Cyber Security Workshops from Home


Jan Pennekamp, employee at the Chair of Computer Science 4 (communication and distributed systems), as many others, has gained a lot of experience on the topic of conference events in times of Corona over the past few months. Instead of two planned events in Dublin and Avignon, he took part in digital workshops from home over the summer. One of the events, the IEEE ICC 2020 Workshop on Blockchain for IoT and Cyber-Physical Systems on June 7th, originally scheduled in Ireland, dealt with blockchain-based security networks for the IoT and corresponding data protection solutions.


In addition, new application possibilities of blockchain technology for the Internet of Things and cyber-physical systems (CPs) were discussed. CPs as a combination of mechanical-electronic components and software as well as data storage components are complex systems that exchange data and information with other systems via a network connection and can thus communicate, which can make them of great importance for the vision of the IoT.

Jan Pennekamp's lecture titled “Private Multi-Hop Accountability for Supply Chains” was about improving the flow of information between companies along the supply chain, especially between parties without an existing direct business relationship. “This is particularly important in view of increasingly dynamic business environments, as it is difficult to send inquiries to these partners. Our developed solution enables information flows between these "indirect" partners, whereby (industrial) privacy requirements are taken into account through targeted encryption. This means that companies can rely on dynamic supply chains without hesitation, ”explains Pennekamp.

We asked Jan some questions about the scientific online exchange under corona conditions.


The Lecture on "Private Multi-Hop Accountability for Supply Chains" is accessible here


What are the chances of such online seminars and what could be done to make them productive, is there potential for improvement?

The advantage is that you no longer have to travel so far for a short lecture and thus can integrate the corresponding into your calendar more easily. Unfortunately, such an online seminar is more impersonal than an on-site exchange. Especially if the participants don't have a "video" on, it seems very impersonal because you don't even know who is really actively following the lectures. On the other hand, of course, more people can come along spontaneously.

Otherwise it is much more difficult to get into conversation with people.

Why is the personal connection that you normally have at workshops and conferences so important to you?

You have to leave your own bubble, sometimes you find people with different perspectives on topics and you also get to know how research, teaching and universities work elsewhere. At a conference last year we met another participant and spontaneously thought of possible joint work, promptly implementing it. Without the on-site exchange, we might not have developed and implemented this direction so quickly.


The second event was the "IEEE International Workshop on Cyber-Physical Systems Security"  parallel to the IEEE Conference on Communications and Network Security (IEEE CNS) and provided space for discussion of security solutions.

What are your impressions from the workshop?

This conference was significantly smaller than the IEEE International Conference on Communications. While the ICC had a kind of "YouTube" with a Q&A part etc., the CNS had set up a slack for communication. At the CNS, the talks were specially scheduled for the afternoons so that listeners from North America could also be there.

Your contribution is entitled "Secure End-to-End Sensing in Supply Chains". What was it about?

Again, it's about supply chains: In detail, it's a cooperation with KU Leuven that emerged at the conference in London last year during networking. We have considered a concept of how we can capture measurement data in a forgery-proof manner, so that recipients of this data can be sure that this information has really been measured and is correct. An example here would be, for example, that the buyer of a product can be sure that the cold chain has worked at all times or that the ambient humidity was in the correct range. However, this can also be applied to simpler things, such as that the recipient "guarantees" that a delivery has been loaded into a certain container and that this is not simply "claimed".

Thank you for this insight into the current workshop operation!