Michael Backes

Michael Backes

Chairman and Scientific Director of the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security

Postal address:CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security
Stuhlsatzenhaus 5
Saarland Informatics Campus E9 1
66123 Saarbrücken, Germany
Phone:+49 (0)681 - 302 - 3249
Email:director (at) cispa (dot) saarland

Short Vita

Michael Backes is the chairman and founding director of the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security.

He is moreover a professor of Saarland University, the director of the CISPA-Stanford Center, jointly with Prof. John Mitchell, the speaker of the collaborative research center (Sonderforschungsbereich) on Methods and Tools for Understanding and Controlling Privacy, and a Principal Investigator and Vice-coordinator of the Cluster of Excellence on Multimodal Computing and Interaction (MMCI). See here for a longer CV.

Research Interests

Information security and privacy, especially foundations of computer security & privacy; design, analysis and verification for security-critical systems and services; methods and tools for assessing and enhancing end-user privacy; research on new attack vectors; and universal solutions in software and network security.


My technical papers and publications are available online. Presumably the most up-to-date list over time will be at DBLP though.


See here for my current and past teaching activities.


2017 NSA Cybersecurity Research Award
2017IEEE Golden Core Award
2017CNIL-INRIA Privacy Award
2015Teaching Award of the State of Saarland
2014Academy Membership, AcaTech - Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften
2014CS Teaching Award of Saarland University, awarded for the proseminar "Hacking"
2014IEEE Outstanding Community Service Award
2013ERC Synergy Grant, awarded for the imPACT project (Privacy, Accountability, Compliance and Trust in Tomorrow's Internet)
2011IEEE Outstanding Community Service Award
2009ERC Starting Grant, awarded for the End2EndSecurity project (Methods and Tools for End-to-end Security)
2009MIT TR35, awarded to the 35 most distinguished researchers/innovators under the age of 35
2009CS Teaching Award of Saarland University, awarded for the lecture "Practical Aspects of Security"
2008IBM Faculty Award
2007Fellow of the German Max Planck Society
2007CS Teaching Award of Saarland University, awarded for the lecture "Cryptography"
2005IBM Research Division Award, for contributions to Web Services Security
2004Microsoft Privacy Award for outstanding research in privacy enhancing technologies
2004IBM Outstanding Achievement Award, for contributions to Enterprise Privacy Architectures

For what it's worth: I have been featured as the leading German researcher under the age of 40 by the German edition of the Financial Times in 2010, and repeatedly ranked amongst the 30 most important IT people in Germany since 2010 by the Computerwoche newspaper. I was moreover named one if Germany's "Digital Minds" by the German Computer Science Foundation and by Germany's minister of research and education.


I'm lucky to have the chance to work with a group of outstanding graduate students, postdocs, and senior researchers: Pascal Berrang, Erik Derr, Sanam Ghorbani Lyastani, Kathrin Grosse, Inken Hagestedt, Jie Huang, Robert Kuennemann, Praveen Manoharan, Duc Cuong Nguyen, Marten Oltrogge, David Pfaff, Ivan Pryvalov, Tahleen Rahman, Ahmed Salem, Jonas Schneider, Oliver Schranz, Milivoj Simeonovski, Patrick Speicher, Christian Stransky, Bartlomiej Surma, Marie-Therese Walter, and Yang Zhang.

Students I've graduated:
Malte Skoruppa
Sebastian Meisernow: PostDoc at UCL
Stefan Nuernbergernow: Tenure-track Faculty at CISPA
Sven Bugielnow: Tenure-track Faculty at CISPA
Esfandiar Mohammadinow: PostDoc at ETH Zurich
Raphael Reischuknow: PostDoc at ETH Zurich
Sebastian Gerlingnow: Head of Scientific Strategy at CISPA
Matthias Bergnow: Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI)
Oana Ciobotarunow: PostDoc at University of Trier
Catalin Hritcunow: Researcher at INRIA Paris-Rocquencourt
Markus Dürmuthnow: Professor at Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Recent Professional Activities

I will be the PC co-chair of ACM CCS 2018. I moreover serve as on the Steering Committees of IEEE S & P, IEEE EuroS & P, IEEE CSF and ESORICS.