Laying the Foundations for Digital Trust
The security of networked information systems is becoming increasingly important as the Internet and cloud services transmit and store more and more financial, medical and industrial data as well as voice, video and images. With threats like malicious software and individuals exploiting Internet users for personal gain, it is critical that we find ways to mitigate threats.
As Canada Research Chair in Authentication and Computer Security, Dr. Paul Van Oorschot is looking to create new defensive software technologies that will do this. He and his research team are focusing on user and device authentication. By better understanding the vulnerabilities in existing authentication technologies, they hope to reinforce existing methods and design new, more secure and easier-to-use techniques.
Van Oorschot and his team are looking to strengthen security infrastructure for web server authentication by improving or replacing the certificate framework and protocols underlying the TLS/SSL architecture (the cryptographic protocols that provide communications security over computer networks.) In addition, they are performing concrete analysis and systematic study of realistic threats to current systems, many of which still rely on passwords for primary authentication.
By helping us better understand software vulnerabilities, especially with respect to authentication, Van Oorschot’s research will improve the security of computer systems around the world. It will also lead to the design of mechanisms and architectures that are better able to resist practical threats, ultimately making the Internet safer for conveying and controlling valuable digital content.