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Smart device security the focus of newly funded research

By Mitchell Hageman, Fri 14 Jan 2022

Research out of the University of Southern Queensland in Australia has been funded to help make smart devices and connected technology safer. 

University of Southern Queensland professor Jianming Yong and fellow researcher associate professor Xiaohui Tao have received a three-year, $347,000 Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Projects grant to improve privacy mechanisms in smart devices.

The research is set to specifically target cybersecurity and privacy concerns that are linked to interconnected devices, such as smartphones and smart speakers that may also control a variety of household connected technologies.

The researchers say recent advances in consumer technology and the rollout of the 5G network requires more efficient, robust and innovative security solutions. They say hackers can now easily turn smart devices into surveillance devices.

“The more smart devices you have connected to a network, the more ways your stored information and data can be stolen or leaked by hackers without any warning,” says Yong.

“A hacker can install an app to a smart phone to steal all sensitive data or personal information from the smartphone, and then demand a ransom.”

He says the rapid cloud infrastructure growth rate also requires a tighter focus on interconnected security, with more avenues and opportunities for hackers.

“Privacy breaches within the domain of 5G-based Internet of Things (IoT), such as smart devices, have become one of the most serious concerns in cyber security prior to the era of 5G integrated IoT,” he says.

“Current privacy preservation techniques cannot satisfy the needs of privacy preservation across the cloud infrastructure and universally connected digital superhighways.”

The new research by the pair is set to develop AI-powered tools and methods to identify the gaps of existing privacy preservation techniques and develop a novel privacy preservation system for the current 5G-enabled cybersecurity environment.

By doing this, they hope to analyse trends and patterns deep within connected devices and formulate solutions to protect and secure data.

“Using cutting edge AI technology, such as deep learning, we hope to gain an insightful understanding of privacy preservation protocols within a 5G integrated IoT domain,” Yong says.

 “This will allow us to create accurate and reliable privacy preservation protocols for different interconnected smart devices that takes into consideration personalised communication privacy demands.”

The grant, titled ‘Privacy Preservation over 5G and IoT Smart Devices’, was awarded by the ARC through the Discovery Projects Scheme. 

The scheme aims to support excellent basic and applied research and research training; promote national and international research collaboration, and enhance the scale and focus of research in Australian Government priority areas.

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