Prof. Matteo Maffei ERC-funded: Securing internet browsing with WPSE

The team gathered in the Security and Privacy Group around Prof. Matteo Maffei, and his research project ,,Browsec” funded by the European Research Council has developed a browser extension to secure the browser in ways not seen before. How? With logic.

You know this from many Internet pages: To be able to use certain functions, you have to log in. It’s handy to be able to authenticate yourself through your Facebook or Google account. But this means that data from Facebook or Google are passed on directly to the operator of the respective website – and thus risks can arise. At the Vienna University of Technology – TU Wien, these authentication processes were examined in detail. A browser plug-in has now been developed which closes these security holes in an absolutely rigorous way: According to the laws of logic, it can be proven that it is impossible to outsmart the browser plug-in.

For this idea, Matteo Maffei received an ERC grant last year, and the plugin is now the first major success of his ERC project ,,Browsec”: Foundations and Tools for Client-Side Web Securit”. Matteo Maffei: “The plugin for the Chrome browser can already be downloaded and installed. But we are still improving it. And we are already talking to well-known browser manufacturers who want to integrate our idea directly into their browsers. “

Download the first trial version of the plugin here.

The plugin not only guarantees safety better than previous protection mechanisms, it is also built extremely economical. The loading of web pages is not noticeably slowed down by the plugin. The new plug-in was publicly presented on August 17 in Baltimore at the 27 Usenix Security Symposium, the world’s premier system security conference. The paper with the title ,,WPSE: Fortifying Web Protocols via Browser-Side Security Monitoring” is a result of a research collaboration with the University of Ca ‘Foscari in Venice.

Read the open acces paper preseted at Usenix Security Symposium here.

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