15 August 2017
Cyber security has a large impact on many different aspects of our lives whether we know it or not. Nowadays, off-site hosts like “the Cloud” are commonly used to store outsourced data (such as emails and financial information) but confidentiality of sensitive is a major concern because data is visible to the Cloud servers and those who have access to it.
“Although it seems that encryption of data can be a straightforward approach...it becomes impractical because that data has to be downloaded and decrypted first before a search can be performed” Monash University IT student, Shabnam Kasra explains.
Searchable encryption is a promising alternative as it allows the data owner to encrypt data while still allowing the server to search it.
“Searchable Encryption is a hot topic these days so it attracted me. It has lots of real-world applications which make it fantastic. It is not just a purely academic research topic!” Shabnam said.
Shabnam’s paper ‘Multi-user Cloud-based Secure Keyword Search’ co-authored with Joseph Liu and Ron Steinfeld, won Best Paper Award in the field of searchable encryption at the Australasian Conference on Information Security and Privacy (ACISP), held in Auckland. The conference has been running since 1996 and is an established key forum for international researchers and industry experts to present and discuss the latest research, trends, breakthroughs and challenges in the domain of information security and privacy.
Shabnam explained, “the focus of this research is on the design of Multi-client or Multi-user Searchable Encryption which is more compatible with the real-world applications,” meaning her specific research relates to the ability of multiple users to access the same encrypted data.
“I love Cyber Security in general, it is sort of combination of math and computer science and I love both. Cyber Security has a large impact on many different aspects of our lives whether we know it or not.” Shabnam said.
The Program Committee for ACISP read and evaluated the 150 papers submitted to the conference, choosing a total of 55 for inclusion in the program before narrowing the field down to the two winners. Shabnam’s paper has also been published by Springer in the Lecture Notes in Computer Science series.
Of the win Shabnam said, “I am so happy. I put my heart and soul into my research and this award shows that I am on the right path. I know that I’m still at the beginning of a long journey but it gives me the confidence to keep going.”