International experts set sights on cyber threats at UOW conference

International experts set sights on cyber threats at UOW conference

It’s relatively cheap, accessible anywhere with an internet connection and makes sharing your work files of holiday snaps a breeze.

While as many as four out of five Australians turn to cloud computing services such as online data storage and sharing for personal and business use, what happens if those files or information are lost or misused by a cloud storage provider?

The University of Wollongong-hosted Australasian Conference on Information Security and Privacy (ACISP 2014), from 7 – 9 July, is the largest of its kind in Australasia and draws together a host of international experts on network security, online information privacy and cryptography.  Key topics will include cloud computing security, mobile technology tracking and data privacy.

While cloud computing offers individuals and businesses the benefits of access to data from anywhere and the ability to work remotely, this must be balanced against adequate protection of private information and protection against the loss of, or unauthorised access to, data stored in a cloud service.

Associate Professor Giuseppe Ateniese, from the Universita di Roma, Italy will outline a plan to automatically compensate cloud storage users with the digital currency Bitcoin.

 “In this framework, users are compensated for data loss even when the cloud provider does not cooperate and without involving any trusted authorities,” Professor Ateniese said. “As a first attempt, we show that it is possible to automatically compensate users with Bitcoins if the cloud provider misbehaves. The compensation will be inescapable and proportional to the level of data loss or manipulation incurred.”

Conference co-chair Professor Willy Susilo, Co-director of Centre for Computer and Information Security Research at UOW’s School of Computer Science and Software Engineering, said data security was a vital topic, with important and potentially valuable information to protect.

“If you try to count all the online accounts we each have and the number of online transactions we make, it becomes apparent that we are spreading our personal data all over the internet,” Professor Susilo said. “Recent and ongoing attempts by hackers to steal personal data are showing an increasing level of sophistication. Yet many companies and certainly individuals do not have the knowledge or the skills to protect their customers’ or their own information.  

“That is why research is critical. We need to stay ahead of the threat and also keep in step with emerging technology that rely on security protocols to stop hackers getting your banking details or other information that should be kept secret. When you bring together the leading researchers in the field it helps to speed up technological innovations and knowledge that is critical to protecting sensitive information.”

Note to media: A full list of research papers to be presented can be viewed at the conference website.

Media contact: Grant Reynolds, UOW Media & PR Officer, on +61 2 4221 4743, +61 417 010 350 or