Washington, January 8 : Shopping or carrying out other transactions online may soon be a safer affair, for Iowa State University researchers are developing a cyber technology to track fraudsters.
Yong Guan, Iowa State University's Litton Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, says that his team has already developed a technology that may help online advertising companies like Google and Yahoo reduce "click fraud"-falsely increasing hits to ads posted on Web sites that results in higher costs for pay-per-click advertising.
He and the Iowa State University Research Foundation have filed a patent on this technology.
Guan hopes that his research will one day enable millions of naive Internet users to protect their computers with the latest security patches and safeguards.
"There are a lot of security issues and researchers have worked on them from the early 1980s. And 30 years later we're still working on them. These are hard problems," he says.
Compared to the past few years, he adds, there has been a sea change in the motive for which cyber crimes are conducted nowadays. While hackers used to attack systems for thrill earlier, they do it for money after the advent of electronic commerce these days.
Guan says that all such changes compelled him to take up research into technologies that may make computing more secure, and hold cyber criminals accountable.
One such technology, he says, is digital forensics which may facilitate the extraction of criminal evidence from computers, network hardware, cell phones and other electronic devices.
The work is focused on three projects - network attack attribution to help investigators find the real origins of cyber criminals and attackers, click fraud detection to protect Internet advertising, and auction fraud technology to quickly identify the people and their accomplices who run bogus Internet auctions.
Wireless security is another field which Guan's team is concerned about.
They are working on three projects aimed at protecting a new secure network-coding model from attacks while it transmits network traffic, developing location-based security systems to allow document viewing only in designated secure rooms, and securing wired and wireless multicasts over the Internet by enabling webcasters to manage and limit access to their content.
Guan is also running a project on Privacy protection to protect the identity of Internet users. This will aid in keeping the identities and medical records of people who use online pharmacies, besides preserving the anonymity of people using an online voting system.