News

September 29, 2022 / by Jordan Summers /

SSL researchers featured in New Scientist

Work by Sebastian Köhler and Richard Baker has been featured on the homepage of New Scientist. Sebastian comments on Oxford’s Department of Computer Science news blog:

We are confident that with sufficient knowledge about the target image sensor, such as resolution and sample rate, and with a sufficiently strong attack signal, object-detection systems can be fooled. 

The article is published as Sebastian embarks on new research funded by a prestigious EPSRC Doctoral Award. You can find out more about his work in the next issue of Inspired Research, due out this winter.

August 16, 2022 / by Jordan Summers /

Brokenwire graces cover of Inspired Research

Our work on Brokenwire features on the cover of this summer’s Inspired Research and receives a double-page spread.

June 23, 2022 / by Sebastian Köhler /

SSL tours East Asia

Stop 1: ACM AsiaCCS 2022 in Nagasaki, Japan

After a long time without conference travel, Dr. Richard Baker, Martin Georgiev and Sebastian Köhler were able to present their work in person at the 17th ACM Asia Conference on Computer and Communications Security (ACM AsiaCCS 2022) in Nagasaki, Japan.

Martin presented his work on common evaluation pitfalls in touch-based authentication systems, while Sebastian gave a presentation about his work on signal injection attacks against CCD image sensors. Although the conference was organised as a hybrid conference, more than 80 attendees participated in person, creating an enjoyable environment for discussing the latest trends in security.

Sebastian Köhler at AsiaCCS

Martin Georgiev at AsiaCCS

Stop 2: SysSec KAIST

As part of their trip to the far east, the group members also visited Professor Yongdae Kim and his System
Security Lab at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon, South Korea, where
they presented their newest work. Because of the closely related research in the SSL and Professor Kim’s research group, interesting conversations and discussions ensued. We would like to thank Professor Kim for
the friendly reception of our group members and hope that we can return that hospitality by welcoming members of SysSec to Oxford.

SSL visits KAIST

April 08, 2022 / by Jordan Summers /

Brokenwire in the news

Group members Sebastian Köhler and Richard Baker recently made the headlines after their work on Brokenwire garnered some press attention. So far, their work has appeared in:

The attack was also covered by Oxford’s Department of Computer Science recently and a larger feature will appear in the department’s Inspired Research magazine shortly.

March 30, 2022 / by Jordan Summers /

Electric vehicles vulnerable to attack that disrupts charging

Research by Sebastian Köhler and Richard Baker on an attack on electric vehicle charging - which they have dubbed ‘Brokenwire’ - has been spotlighted on the Oxford Department of Computer Science website.

Read the article here and visit the new Brokenwire website.

March 28, 2022 / by Jordan Summers /

Papers going to S&P and EuroS&P

Group members Klaudia Krawiecka and Simon Birnbach will be travelling to San Francisco for the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (23-26 May 2022) to present ‘Biometric identification system based on object interactions in Internet of Things environments’ (K Krawiecka, S Birnbach, S Eberz, I Martinovic) at the SafeThings workshop.

Meanwhile, Jack Sturgess will be presenting ‘WatchAuth: user authentication and intent recognition in mobile payments using a smartwatch’ (J Sturgess, S Eberz, I Sluganovic, I Martinovic) in Genoa at the IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy (6-10 June 2022).

Open access versions of both papers will be available at the following locations once the embargo period is up:

February 07, 2022 / by Jordan Summers /

Another paper accepted to AsiaCCS

Our paper “Common evaluation pitfalls in touch-based authentication systems” (Martin Georgiev, Simon Eberz, Henry Turner, Giulio Lovisotto, Ivan Martinovic) has been accepted to ACM AsiaCCS 2022, which takes place 30 May - 3 June 2022 in Nagasaki.

This paper joins “Signal injection attacks against CCD image sensors” (Sebastian Köhler, Richard Baker, Ivan Martinovic), which was previously announced.

January 16, 2022 / by Jordan Summers /

Paper accepted to WristSense 2022

Our paper entitled “Inferring user height and improving impersonation attacks in mobile payments using a smartwatch” (Jack Sturgess, Simon Eberz, Ivo Sluganovic, Ivan Martinovic) has been accepted to WristSense 2022: Workshop on Sensing Systems and Applications Using Wrist Worn Smart Devices, which is co-located with IEEE PerCom and takes place in Pisa, Italy, from 21-25 March.

Abstract

In this paper, we show that as a user makes mobile payments with a smartwatch, the height of the user can be inferred purely from inertial sensor data captured on the watch (with R2 scores of up to 0.77). Besides unwanted information exposure, we also show that users of a similar height are more difficult to distinguish between in terms of their tap gesture data and that an attacker who chooses a victim of a similar height can improve the success chance of impersonation (by increasing the false acceptance rate by up to 20.6%).

December 16, 2021 / by Jordan Summers /

Papers accepted to ASIACCS / ACM Transactions on IoT

We round off the year with the glad tidings that two more of our papers have been accepted!

Haunted house: physical smart home event verification in the presence of compromised sensors” (Birnbach S, Eberz S, Martinovic I) has been accepted to the ACM Transactions on Internet of Things.

Additionally, we’ll be taking “Signal injection attacks against CCD image sensors” (Köhler S, Baker R, Martinovic I) to Nagasaki for ASIACCS, which runs from 30 May - 3 June 2022.

December 09, 2021 / by Richard Baker /

Simon Birnbach successfully defends thesis

We’re proud to announce that SSL DPhil student Simon Birnbach today successfully defended his thesis entitled “Ubiquitous Sensing for Security in Smart Homes”.

Many congratulations indeed!

November 22, 2021 / by Jordan Summers /

Two more papers accepted

We’re happy to report we’ve had two more papers accepted.

In December, Sebastian Köhler will be presenting “They see me rollin’: inherent vulnerability of the rolling shutter in CMOS image sensors” (Köhler S, Lovisotto G, Birnbach S, Baker R, Martinovic I) virtually at the ACM’s Annual Computer Security Applications Conference (ACSAC).

Congratulations also to our soon-to-submit DPhil student Henry Turner, whose paper “Generating identities with mixture models for speaker anonymization” (Turner H, Lovisotto G, Martinovic I) has been accepted to Elsevier’s Computer Speech and Language journal.

November 15, 2021 / by Richard Baker /

Armasuisse Car Hackathon and Research Visit

Richard Baker and Sebastian Köhler spent a week attending a car hackathon arranged by Armasuisse Science+Technology, in Thun, Switzerland. There were instructional sessions with experts from WhiteMotion, along with hands-on vehicle-hacking days to try out attacks on a range of vehicles. The Oxford team developed an attack to disable the driver instruments in a Nissan Leaf while driving, along with programmatic control over drive mode, vehicle stability programme and headlamp activation. They then fooled the traffic sign recognition system on a Renault Zoe, to accept homemade signs that were printed or projected for the camera.

Over the course of a second week, the trip was also an opportunity to test attacks on vehicles that are being developed in the Systems Security Laboratory here at Oxford. The team was first able to reproduce the rolling shutter effects of their new ACSAC paper [1] on a Renault Zoe. They also then tested new attacks against the EV charging process, investigating the requirements for attacks to be conducted remotely.

Spoofed speed limits in a stationary Renault Zoe

Spoofed speed limits in a stationary Renault Zoe

Spoofing temperature reports in a Nissan Leaf

Spoofing temperature reports in a Nissan Leaf

Rolling shutter attack on a Renault Zoe

Rolling shutter attack on a Renault Zoe

Fast-charging a Renault Zoe

Fast-charging a Renault Zoe

[1] Köhler, Sebastian, et al. “They See Me Rollin’: Inherent Vulnerability of the Rolling Shutter in CMOS Image Sensors.” Annual Computer Security Applications Conference, 2021.

July 19, 2021 / by Jordan Summers /

Papers accepted to EuroUSEC and USENIX

We are proud to report that we have two conference papers accepted:

’Plug-and-Play: Framework for Remote Experimentation in Cyber Security’ (Klaudia Krawiecka, Jack Sturgess, Alina Petrova, Ivan Martinovic) has been accepted to the European Symposium on Usable Security (EuroUSEC 2021), which will take place virtually on 11-12 October. We will link to the open access version of the paper when available.

In addition, visiting researcher/SSL alumna Bushra AlAhmadi and the Computer Science department’s Louise Axon have received confirmation of the acceptance of their paper ’99% False Positives: A Qualitative Study of SOC Analysts’ Perspectives on Security Alarms’ to the 31st USENIX Security Symposium in 2022 - more details to come.

July 13, 2021 / by Jordan Summers /

Paper accepted to TOPS and Best Paper at CPSS

SSL is proud to announce two recent achievements:

Paper accepted to TOPS

We were recently notified of the acceptance of our paper “#PrettyFlyForAWiFi: Real-World Detection of Privacy Invasion Attacks by Drones” (Simon Birnbach, Richard Baker, Simon Eberz, Ivan Martinovic) to the ACM’s Transactions on Privacy and Security journal.

Best Paper Award at CPSS’21

Our paper “You talkin’ to me? Exploring Practical Attacks on Controller Pilot Data Link Communications” (Joshua Smailes, Daniel Moser, Matthew Smith, Martin Strohmeier, Vincent Lenders, Ivan Martinovic) won best paper at the Cyber-Physical System Security Workshop, held in conjunction with ACM AsiaCCS virtually in June 2021.

At the same workshop, we also presented our paper “MoveAR: Continuous Biometric Authentication for Augmented Reality Headsets” (Arman Bhalla, Ivo Sluganovic, Klaudia Krawiecka, Ivan Martinovic).

Meanwhile, over at AsiaCCS, James Pavur presented “On Detecting Deception in Space Situational Awareness” (James Pavur, Ivan Martinovic) and Michal Piskozub presented “MalPhase: Fine-Grained Malware Detection Using Network Flow Data (Michal Piskozub, Fabio de Gaspari, Freddie Barr-Smith, Luigi Mancini, Ivan Martinovic).

February 24, 2021 / by Jordan Summers /

Papers accepted to IEEE S&P and USENIX

SSL is proud to be represented at both IEEE Security & Privacy and the USENIX Security Symposium this year.

Freddie Barr-Smith will be presenting his paper (co-authored with Xabier Ugarte-Pedrero, Mariano Graziano, former SSL member Riccardo Spolaor and SSL head Ivan Martinovic) on “Survivalism: Systematic Analysis of Windows Malware Living-Off-The-Land” at IEEE S&P 2021, which runs from 23-27 May; and at the USENIX Security Symposium, held on 11-13 August, Giulio Lovisotto will be presenting “SLAP: Improving Physical Adversarial Examples with Short-Lived Adversarial Peturbations.” This has been co-authored with SSL’s Henry Turner, Ivo Sluganovic and Ivan Martinovic, as well as SSL alumnus Martin Strohmeier.

Both conferences will be taking place virtually and videos will be posted here when available.

November 09, 2020 / by Jordan Summers /

SSL member Klaudia Krawiecka wins awards at Data Science for All

SSL’s own Klaudia Krawiecka, along with fellow Department of Computer Science and OxWoCS member Alina Petrova, are part of a team which has won two awards at the Data Science for All’s Women’s Summit, held virtually in October. In order to participate, Klaudia and Alina had to become Data Science Fellows by passing an interview and a machine learning test.

Winning both ‘Best Real-World Impact’ and ‘Best Overall Project’ for their work on ‘The Effects of Containment Measures on Covid-19,’ organisers Correlation One reported of the team that

their comprehensive analysis sought to understand the measures that have been most effective in decreasing the number of COVID-19 cases, and to predict possible outcomes for specific mitigation strategies.

The team developed predictive models for 8 different containment policies and 5 health system policies, across a variety of country-level demographics. Their research convincingly argued that travel bans, school closures, and public event cancellations were most effective in limiting COVID spread, whereas socio-economic factors and demographics played a secondary role.

RESOURCES

November 02, 2020 / by Jordan Summers /

SSL creates Oxford's 200th spinout company PhishAR

The University of Oxford, through its research commercialisation arm Oxford University Innovation, has created its 200th company based on academic research, PhishAR.

PhishAR builds on the work of Professor Ivan Martinovic and Dr Ivo Sluganovic from Oxford’s Department of Computer Science, and employs augmented reality to crack down on “phishing”, an online scamming technique which fools a user into handing over their digital security credentials and other sensitive information, such as personal data or credit card details.

The cybercrime is typically achieved through utilisation of fake websites or emails that replicate the genuine article, such as an email from a bank or an employer’s website. The fakes may appear as a near-perfect facsimile of the original, and may also use already obtained user information to form a sophisticated attack (spear phishing) or purposefully target senior members in an organisation for maximum gain (whaling).

PhishAR will help users identify fraudulent emails, websites and other online transactions by using artificial intelligence to scan and analyse what is presented on the screen in order to detect discrepancies such as style and formatting, used URLs, information requested from the user, and other security indicators. The company’s software will run on mobile phones and augmented reality wearables to help mitigate the rapidly increasing impact of phishing, which costs individuals and organisations billions of dollars every year.

PhishAR’s seed round was led by Kluz Ventures, and the company has been accepted onto the Mastercard Start Path Programme to accelerate its development.

More recently, the University has seen a flurry of companies in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (including imaging diagnostics companies capable of identifying Alzheimer’s Disease and heart attacks before they happen), quantum computing (and incidental technologies in its development such as quantum-era cryptography and cybersecurity), and COVID-19. The University has produced two companies in the past few months to advance both ventilator and testing technologies for COVID-19, and another, Vaccitech, incorporates in its vaccine candidates the same adenovirus platform technology that is used in the COVID-19 vaccine licensed by OUI to AstraZeneca.

This milestone comes at a significant point in Oxford’s ongoing research commercialisation, with Oxford spinout companies having raised £880.2m ($1.14bn) in external fundraising over the past financial year, eclipsing previous records. The innovation boom in Oxford driven by the creation and growth of these companies is fuelling an influx of talent and investment to Oxford’s innovation ecosystem, known as the Oxford Cluster.

Professor Ivan Martinovic, co-Founder of PhishAR, said: “Conventionally, service providers have been authenticating the end-user, which is a one-sided process, while the end-user struggles to know who they are communicating with, and this is what criminals are continuing to exploit, on an ever-increasing scale. PhishAR’s innovation is in using augmented reality and artificial intelligence to see through their user’s eyes and ensure that they are “authenticating the authenticator”. Before any credentials are provided, PhishAR checks who is requesting the users’ credentials. PhishAR is the only proven mechanism to allow the end user to authenticate and identify with whom they are communicating, and thereby dramatically reduce the risk from harmful phishing attacks while offering a seamless integration and minimal costs with existing authentication systems.”

Adam Stoten, Chief Operating Officer at Oxford University Innovation, said: “PhishAR and its mission to safeguard millions of people ever year against cybercrime is a company worthy of Spinout #200, and we warmly welcome the team to the Oxford spinout family. While it took Oxford 55 years to get from Spinout #1 to Spinout #100, it took us a mere six years to reach 200. Consequently, we look forward to announcing our 300th spinout and many more companies in the near term.”

Chas Bountra, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Innovation at Oxford University, added: “These 200 companies are testament to Oxford’s research and its ability to have impact, and underline our status as the world’s number one university. Through our innovation, we’re tackling the world’s biggest killers, we’re tackling the biggest challenges of our era, and we’re building the infrastructure for tomorrow’s world – all while creating jobs and economic impact. Oxford may be an institution with its roots deep in the past, but we’re demonstrating that we can also have a fundamental effect on shaping the future.”

  • First published by the News & Information Office, University of Oxford, on 27/10/20.

August 05, 2020 / by Matt Smith /

SSL at Blackhat and DEF CON

SSL are out in force at both Black Hat and DEF CON this year, with a range of talks on satellite and aviation security.

James Pavur will be giving talks both at Black Hat and DEF CON, covering his work on satellite eavesdropping attacks. You can find him online at Black Hat on Wednesday 6th August at 12:30 PM PST. His DEF CON talk is live already, and he has a live Q&A later that day at 10:30 AM PST.

Both James and Matt Smith are giving talks as part of the DEF CON Aerospace Village, with James’ talk on space situational awareness at 10:00 AM PST, Sunday 9th August and Matt’s covering simulating attacks on aircraft at 11:00 AM PST on Saturday 8th August.

On top of that (!) we’re running a CTF called the Aviation Treasure Hunt on Friday 9th August between 9am and 5pm PST, which will be part puzzle, part tutorial, part fun

Resources:

May 07, 2020 / by Matt Smith /

OpenSky Network Data used in Bank of England Coronavirus Report

Today, the Bank of England (BoE) included analysis based on OpenSky Network data in their Monetary Policy Report and Interim Financial Stability Report for May 2020. The report looks at the economic impact of Coronavirus, covering a wide range of sectors. Our data contributed to their analysis on air traffic patterns since the start of the pandemic, considering airports from across the world.

We are proud to be both a feeder and an active member of the OpenSky community, with Prof. Ivan Martinovic being on the Advisory Board.

OpenSky Network provides free, historical air traffic data to researchers across the world. If you would like to find out more, visit the OpenSky Network website.

Resources:

  • BoE Monetary Policy Report and Interim Financial Stability Report Website
  • BoE Monetary Policy Report and interim Financial Stability Report, May 2020 on YouTube
  • BoE Monetary Policy Report and interim Financial Stability Report, May 2020 in PDF
  • OpenSky Network Website

April 28, 2020 / by Giulio Lovisotto /

'Seeing Red' accepted to 15th IEEE Computer Vision Society Workshop on Biometrics.

Our paper “Seeing Red: PPG Biometrics Using Smartphone Cameras” has been accepted to 15th IEEE Computer Vision Society Workshop on Biometrics!

You can find code and a description of the work on our group Github page.