Safety in the digital world

Safety in the digital world

Always online: we are constantly sending and receiving data. Image: Paul Glogowski
Always online: we are constantly sending and receiving data. Image: Paul Glogowski

In our lifetime, the amount of data in the world is growing to colossal magnitudes. This is happening partly because more and more devices are connected to the internet and cloud storage: by the year 2020, there will be an estimated 30 billion devices worldwide, constantly sending and receiving data. On the other hand, we consciously and unconsciously feed this data stock by using internet services. All this data is stored in various locations, dispersed and yet connected, and increasingly in cloud storage that belongs to large international corporations such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple or Facebook. Keeping data safe – both in terms of storage and transfer – is often sacrificed for the sake of longer battery life and faster development times.

This wealth of data – often referred to as Big Data – can improve our lives through multiple new applications. Private individuals, cities and entire industries are enabled to make analyses and forecasts, in particular, which opens up a gigantic business field with huge potential for job creation. At the same time, we must find new solutions to keep or regain control over our own data. This is the mission of TU Darmstadt’s IT-security researchers.

Health-related data – safe and sound in cyberspace

New coding methods must be found to secure our privacy. Image: Katrin Binner
New coding methods must be found to secure our privacy. Image: Katrin Binner

It sounds appealing: With a simple click, Smartphone-apps can create your health profile, containing information about your weight, blood pressure, movement patterns, sleeping habits, and sporting activities. The results can be shared directly with your friends or doctor via social media. It has never been easier for friends to encourage each other to lead a healthy life and prevent disease. On the other hand, sensitive personal data in the wrong hands could also turn out to be harmful for users. Therefore, TU Darmstadt researchers are working on new solutions for confidential data transfer using secure channels and safe, long-term storage. Even futuristic high-performance quantum computers will not be able to decode secured data without authorisation. In other projects, researchers investigate how cloud services can be offered securely along the entire service chain. Their long-term goal is to develop and provide easy-to-use security solutions for programmers and private individuals. The goal is to make IT-security an integral part of development and applications, rather than an optional add-on for experts.

Confidence in new vehicle intelligence

Data storage on wheels: cars feature ever more interactive technologies. Image: Katrin Binner
Data storage on wheels: cars feature ever more interactive technologies. Image: Katrin Binner

It sounds appealing: With a simple click, Smartphone-apps can create your health profile, containing information about your weight, blood pressure, movement patterns, sleeping habits, and sporting activities. The results can be shared directly with your friends or doctor via social media. It has never been easier for friends to encourage each other to lead a healthy life and prevent disease. On the other hand, sensitive personal data in the wrong hands could also turn out to be harmful for users. Therefore, TU Darmstadt researchers are working on new solutions for confidential data transfer using secure channels and safe, long-term storage. Even futuristic high-performance quantum computers will not be able to decode secured data without authorisation. In other projects, researchers investigate how cloud services can be offered securely along the entire service chain. Their long-term goal is to develop and provide easy-to-use security solutions for programmers and private individuals. The goal is to make IT-security an integral part of development and applications, rather than an optional add-on for experts.

Secure crisis communication thanks to information technology

Einsatzleitzentrale. Bild: Andreas Arnold
Emergency-response teams depend on communication networks that function without disruption at any time. Image: Andreas Arnold

It sounds appealing: With a simple click, Smartphone-apps can create your health profile, containing information about your weight, blood pressure, movement patterns, sleeping habits, and sporting activities. The results can be shared directly with your friends or doctor via social media. It has never been easier for friends to encourage each other to lead a healthy life and prevent disease. On the other hand, sensitive personal data in the wrong hands could also turn out to be harmful for users. Therefore, TU Darmstadt researchers are working on new solutions for confidential data transfer using secure channels and safe, long-term storage. Even futuristic high-performance quantum computers will not be able to decode secured data without authorisation. In other projects, researchers investigate how cloud services can be offered securely along the entire service chain. Their long-term goal is to develop and provide easy-to-use security solutions for programmers and private individuals. The goal is to make IT-security an integral part of development and applications, rather than an optional add-on for experts.