Cybersecurity in the home

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New research cluster to investigate security in the digital transformation of all aspects of life

Do I really need the latest update? How much does my smart home device reveal about me? Are security precautions worthwhile at all? Cybersecurity affects us all, including private households, small and medium sized enterprises and public authorities. The new Bavarian research cluster ‘ForDaySac – Security in everyday digitalisation’ has been established with the aim of improving the security of digital infrastructure. Researchers from FAU are also involved. The cluster has received 3.3 million euros of funding for the next four years.

The cluster brings together researchers from the fields of computer science, sociology and law from across Bavaria with the aim of connecting all activities in the area of cybersecurity, developing new technologies and determining how make them as straightforward and user-friendly as possible.

The research teams at FAU focus on the technical and sociological aspects of digital transformation in all aspects of our lives. The team led by Dr. Felix Freiling and Dr. habil. Zinaida Benenson, Chair of Computer Science 1 IT Security Infrastructures, analyses, for example, how data flows between smart home devices such as robot vacuum cleaners, smart door locks or lamps and other appliances and the WiFi network or the accompanying app. The researchers can then determine where information is being sent to and pinpoint any unintentional data leaks, allowing them to draw conclusions on privacy.

In user studies, the team is also investigating how much users know about privacy in relation to their devices and whether they take any security precautions. Based on the results, the researchers hope to develop new security measures tailored to the needs of the target group. New technologies, however, can only contribute to making digitalisation in all areas of our lives more secure if they are actively used. The team lead by Prof. Dr. Sabine Pfeiffer, Chair of Sociology (Technology, Labour and Society) is therefore investigating how IT security technology can be made more user-friendly in light of the habits and previous knowledge of typical users.

As well as the University of Passau that acts as the coordinating university, the other partners in the cluster are the University of Bamberg, Technische Universität München (TUM) and the associate member Universität der Bundeswehr München. In order to ensure that their findings can be incorporated into practical applications, the cluster is in close contact with companies and chambers of commerce and industry.

‘Cybersecurity is vital for our liberal society. Recent dramatic events may have underlined just how critical it is, but it is an issue that has been around for a while. Digitalisation permeates all areas of life. At the same time, the threat of criminal attacks on digital infrastructure is growing dramatically. This is why we have provided 3.3 million euros in funding for the Bavarian research network This is a pioneering investment in keeping the high-tech region of Bavaria competitive and at the cutting edge of technology,’ stated minister of science Markus Blume in Munich.

Further information

Prof. Dr. Felix Freiling and Dr. habil. Zinaida Benenson
Chair of Computer Science 1 IT Security Infrastructures |

Prof. Dr. Sabine Pfeiffer
Chair of Sociology (Technology, Labour and Society)