Security that nets malicious Web sites

Mar 23, 2007

Have you ever wondered how fraudulent or malicious websites can rank highly on search engines like Google or Yahoo? Queensland University of Technology IT researcher Professor Audun Josang said a website's ranking was determined by the number of people who visited the site - the more hits the higher the ranking.

But this system is fraught with danger and can be easily manipulated directing people to unreliable, low quality and fraudulent sites, according to Professor Josang.

"Just because a website ranks highly on a search engine doesn't mean it's a good website, in fact highly ranked websites can be malicious websites," he said.

To safeguard against this type of threat, Professor Josang believes the answer is to develop a new type of internet security system based on "reputation" where a community of users can rank the quality of a website.

He said this could then be used to warn others from visiting that site.

"For example most people are able to recognise a website that tries to trick them into giving confidential information (a phishing attack) when they see it," he said.

"With this system, aware users can rate such websites as malicious and as a result a phishing site will be quickly and universally recognised as dangerous, warning unsuspecting users against visiting that site."

Professor Josang said using this "social control" approach could provide protection against this type of online threat, by preventing attacks before they occurred.

"Social control methods, also known as soft security, adhere to common ethical norms by parties in a community.

"They make it possible to identify and sanction those participants who breach the norms and to recognise and reward members who adhere to them."

Professor Josang said in today's technologically advanced world of business, high ranking of a company's web page was a crucial factor for its success.

"This is why the control of search engines is so important and why it can be financially worthwhile for businesses to manipulate the system."

The central idea of Professor Josang's research is to take search engines one step further and by using them to make the internet a safe place to interact and transact.

"This project is about a new type of internet security that can be supported by search engines. There is a deception waiting for you around every corner on the internet and the technology we develop will protect people from that.

"I think in the future reputation systems, integrated into search engines, can be used to weed out such websites by giving them a low ranking and thereby making them invisible to unsuspecting users."

Source: Queensland University of Technology

Explore further: Innovative new supercomputers increase nation's computational capacity and capability

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Britain urges Russia to shut down webcam spying site

6 hours ago

A Russian website offering thousands of live feeds peering into bedrooms and offices around the world by accessing poorly secured webcams should be taken down immediately, British officials said on Thursday.

Top China official urges stronger Internet management

Nov 19, 2014

A top Beijing official called for stronger management of the Internet Wednesday at a government-organised conference condemned by rights campaigners as a Chinese attempt to promote its online controls globally.

Casting light on the Internet's shadows (and shadowing)

Nov 06, 2014

The specter of a faceless system collecting data from Web users and compiling personal profiles has raised alarms among privacy advocates worldwide. Arvind Narayanan, an assistant professor of computer science at Princeton ...

Recommended for you

Forging a photo is easy, but how do you spot a fake?

Nov 21, 2014

Faking photographs is not a new phenomenon. The Cottingley Fairies seemed convincing to some in 1917, just as the images recently broadcast on Russian television, purporting to be satellite images showin ...

Algorithm, not live committee, performs author ranking

Nov 21, 2014

Thousands of authors' works enter the public domain each year, but only a small number of them end up being widely available. So how to choose the ones taking center-stage? And how well can a machine-learning ...

Professor proposes alternative to 'Turing Test'

Nov 19, 2014

(Phys.org) —A Georgia Tech professor is offering an alternative to the celebrated "Turing Test" to determine whether a machine or computer program exhibits human-level intelligence. The Turing Test - originally ...

Image descriptions from computers show gains

Nov 18, 2014

"Man in black shirt is playing guitar." "Man in blue wetsuit is surfing on wave." "Black and white dog jumps over bar." The picture captions were not written by humans but through software capable of accurately ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.