Protecting users against ‘leakage’ of private information from websites they are browsing is at the heart of new South Australian research, which aims to reduce the risk of cyber attack.

The research will focus on microarchitectural threats where attackers can read or ‘sample’ data to potentially steal information.

University of Adelaide cyber security expert Dr Yuval Yarom is leading the research, which aims to identify weak points in web-browsers that can leak private or sensitive information.

“Whenever you visit a website, that website runs a programme on your computer,” Dr Yarom said.

“If you visit multiple websites, concurrently, then each of them can learn from other website you’re reading and probably more information.

“We found ways of leaking that information.

“Basically, the aim of this project is to protect against such leakage.”

The University of Adelaide’s Centre for Distributed and Intelligent Technologies was this month allocated AU$427,116 by the Australian Government to run the three-year project.

Dr Yarom has been widely recognised for his collaborative investigations into microarchitectural threats.

However, he is optimistic the next three years will lead to “safer browsers” and reduced risk of cyberattack.

The project will also uphold privacy.

“If someone knows which website you visit, then they can learn about your political affiliation, sex orientation, health issues, all sorts of private information that we either don’t want – or a may be risky – to disclose,” he said.

The project will be supported by research from Ben Gurion University in Israel and University of Michigan in the United States.

Dr Yarom is “very confident” he will discover new protections for web-browsers and build-on South Australia’s existing cyber security knowledge.

“This research itself is part of the strength of South Australia’s cyber security,” he said.

“We hope to educate people and build the next generation of people with knowledge and abilities to contribute.”

South Australia has a strong focus on defence and space and is positioning itself as a leader in cyber security.

This month a cyber security training centre opened to provide the next generation of professionals to the growing industry at TAFE SA’s Adelaide City campus.

An AU$8.9 million Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre – to support cybersecurity start-ups – is also due to be established at Adelaide’s Lot Fourteen innovation neighbourhood this year.

Source: The Lead