Novel approaches to applied cybersecurity in privacy, encryption, security systems, web credentials, and education

Ruiz, Rodrigo de Souza (2021) Novel approaches to applied cybersecurity in privacy, encryption, security systems, web credentials, and education. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


Applied Cybersecurity is a domain that interconnects people, processes, technologies, usage environment and vulnerabilities in a complex manner. As a cybersecurity expert at CTI Renato Archer- a research institute from Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovations, author developed novel approaches to help solve practical and practice-based problems in applied cybersecurity over the last ten years. The needs of the government, industry, customers, and real-life problems in five categories: Privacy, Encryption, Web Credentials, Security Systems and Education, were the research stimuli. Based on prior outputs, this thesis presents a cohesive narrative of the novel approaches in the mentioned categories consolidating fifteen research publications.

The customers and society, in general, expect that companies, universities, and the government will protect them from any cyber threats. Fifteen research papers that compose this thesis elucidate a broader context of cyber threats, errors in security software and gaps in cybersecurity education. This thesis's research points out that a large number of organisations are vulnerable to cyber threats and procedures and practices around cybersecurity are questionable. Therefore, society expects a periodic reassessment of cybersecurity systems, practices and policies.

Privacy has been extensively debated in many countries due to personal implications and civil liberties with citizenship at stake. Since 2018, GDPR has been in force in the EU and has been a milestone for people and institutions' privacy. The novel work in privacy, supported by four research papers, discusses the private mode navigation in several browsers and shows how privacy is a fragile feeling. The secrets of different companies, countries and armed forces are entrusted to encryption technologies. Three research papers support the encryption element discussed in this thesis. It explores vulnerabilities in the most used encryption software. It provides data exposure scenarios showing how companies, government and universities are vulnerable and proposes best practices.

Credentials are data that give someone the right to access a location or a system. They usually involve a login, a username, email, access code and a password. It is customary to have a rigorous demand for security credentials a sensitive system of information. The work on web credentials in this thesis, supported by one research paper, examines a novel experiment that permits the intruder to extract user credentials in home banking and e-commerce websites, revealing common cyber flaws and vulnerabilities.

Antimalware systems are complex software engineering systems purposely designed to be safe and reliable despite numerous operational idiosyncrasies. Antimalware systems have been deployed for protecting information systems for decades. The novel work on security systems presented in the thesis, supported by five research papers, explores antimalware attacks and software engineering structure problems.

Cybersecurity's primary awareness is expected through school and University education, but the academic discourse is often dissociated from practice. The discussion-based on two research papers presents a new insight into cybersecurity education and proposes an IRCS Index of Relevance in Cybersecurity (IRCS) to classify the computer science courses offered in UK Universities relevance of cybersecurity in their curricula.

In a nutshell, the thesis presents a coherent and novel narrative to applied cybersecurity in five categories spanning software, systems, and education.

Rodrigo de Souza Ruiz Final Thesis full a4.pdf - Published Version

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