Assessment of Cybersecurity Based on Risk and Uncertainty Propagation in Distributed Networked Systems

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Cybersecurity incidents cause tremendous costs for the economy and damage for individuals, e.g., through identity theft, data loss, ransomware, or bribery. To find appropriate measures to reduce or prevent such incidents, a system must first be assessed regarding its risks. In domains such as safety, harmful events can be predicted by looking at past events, modelling them and applying these models to the future. For cybersecurity, however, such incidents are much harder to predict because they depend mainly on the motivation and decisions of humans. To evaluate this, one has to resort to expert judgments, which are unfortunately subject to large uncertainties. In this thesis, the structured expert judgment method is used to estimate the risks for cybersecurity incidents. The risks are calculated by forward and backward propagation of specific risk attributes along with their uncertainties. This is done on risk graphs in which all attack paths are mapped. The result is a risk distribution that can be traced back to the individual components. This supports making better decisions on the necessary measures to reduce risk. Correctness, applicability, and usefulness were demonstrated using an implemented prototype. For this purpose, a comparison of 45 publicly available studies was made using structured expert judgment and RISKEE. Furthermore, the created RISKEE method was applied in an international workshop to investigate the cybersecurity risk of car theft. Finally, the implemented prototype was used to find secure solutions for chip designs in a design space exploration study.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Institute of Technical Informatics (4480)
  • Römer, Kay Uwe, Supervisor
  • Ray, Indrajit, Supervisor, External person
  • Macher, Georg, Advisor
  • Kreiner, Christian Josef, Advisor
Award date26 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2021


  • Risk Assessment
  • Expert Judgment
  • Probability Distributions
  • Uncertainty Propagation
  • Risk Trees
  • Random Sampling
  • Cyber-Security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty

Fields of Expertise

  • Information, Communication & Computing

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Application

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