Researchers Develop Smartphone App To Protect Consumers
Carnegie Mellon University CyLab researchers have developed a new smartphone app that leverages the growing proliferation of these devices to establish a secure basis for Internet communications.
"With SafeSlinger, users can gain control over their exchanged information through end-to-end encryption, preventing intermediate servers or service providers from reading their messages or other sensitive stored data in their smartphones," said Adrian Perrig, technical director of Carnegie Mellon CyLab and a professor of electrical and computer engineering at CMU.
Perrig along with Michael W. Farb, a CyLab research programmer, Jon McCune, a CyLab research systems scientist, and CMU students Gurtej Singh Chandok and Manish Burman developed SafeSlinger to help mobile phone users safely and privately retrieve information from trusted sources.
"SafeSlinger provides you with the confidence that the person you are communicating with is actually the person they have represented themselves to be," Farb said. "Perhaps the most impressive feature is that SafeSlinger provides secure communications and file transfer even if the servers involved are tainted with malware."
As more and more consumers access the Internet from an ever-expanding pool of mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, Web-based threats continue to become more frequent and increasingly sophisticated.
"We increasingly lose control over our data. But SafeSlinger's user-centric security design includes an advanced protocol, which incorporates elements of several cryptographic schemes and factors in the prevention of numerous types of attacks," said Perrig, a 2006 winner of the Sloan Research Fellowship for securing sensor networks and a 2004 recipient of a Career
Award from the National Science Foundation for work on secure and resilient sensor network communication infrastructure.
"SafeSlinger gives end-users the opportunity to secure their communications with a state-of-the-art, easy-to-use Android smartphone app, without relying on obscure mechanisms," McCune said. "SafeSlinger provides users with an easy way to securely exchange messages for free, finally providing people with control over their own information.''