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Informatik 5
Information Systems
Prof. Dr. M. Jarke
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Prof. Dr. M. Jarke
RWTH Aachen
Informatik 5
Ahornstr. 55
D-52056 Aachen
Tel +49/241/8021501
Fax +49/241/8022321

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Reliable Data Immutability in an Internet of Production

Thesis type
  • Bachelor
Student Simon Mangel
Status Finished
Submitted in 2021

Development of a content security model for authenticity and integrity in resource oriented architectures, based on content signing (public-key cryptography) and hash-chaining/Merkle trees (incorporating the hash/signature of previous revisions and referenced existing resources).

In the Internet of Things, and especially the Internet of Production, massive amounts of semi-structured data, such as sensor readings, process control data, log data etc., are generated at an ever increasing pace. In order to support the reusability of this data across organizational boundaries and information systems, the FactDAG model was recently introduced. In this model, resources are globally identified, versioned and linked using provenance information (similar to a GIT history), in order to create a directed acyclic graph of immutable resource revisions over time. These so-called facts can be reused, identified, cached and archived across organizational boundaries. An open source implementation of this model was already developed as a result of previous work.

An illustration of an industrial process sharing data across organizational boundaries and the resulting FactDAG.

Sharing manufacturing data (such as digital twins of work pieces) throughout the supply chain is a fundamental requirement for Industry 4.0 and a perfect application for the FactDAG model. However, the authenticity and trustability of this data must be ensured at all times, especially when data is shared across multiple parties and may incur legal liability. Related work recently explored applications of Blockchain technologies for this matter, however, practical considerations such as overhead for blockchain maintenance and internet connectivity requirements for participating systems hinder real-world adoption.


The goal of this thesis is to develop a content security model to ensure content authenticity and integrity in the FactDAG model - the FactChain - based on resource signing (public-key cryptography) and hash-chaining/hash trees (incorporating the hash/signature of previous revisions and referenced existing resources). Additionally, reporting mechanism for fact usage, spoofing and infringement reporting should be investigated.

Relevant existing technologies and previous work includes:

DMARC System:
  • Wikipedia (especially the reused standards DKIM and SPF)
Certificate Transparency Logs
Http content signing

If you are interested in this thesis, a related topic or have additional questions, please do not hesitate to send a message to


- knowledge of fundamental web technologies, such as the HTTP and DNS protocols
- a basic understanding of public-key cryptography and content signing
- an interest in distributed system engineering and internet technologies

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