Available PhD Research Topics

Description of Work:

Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) is a world-class internationally recognised interdisciplinary research and teaching centre, specialising in a broad range of areas in Cyber Security. ACCS is particularly interested in applicants who have background or interest in applying the methods of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) to the domain of computer security and privacy.

The projects are well-aligned with the intersection of computer security, human computer interaction (HCI), and on-line privacy, in an area known as usable security and privacy. Many aspects of computer security synthesize technical and human factors. If a highly secure system is unusable, users will try to by-pass the system or move entirely to less secure but more usable systems. Problems with usability contribute to many high-profile security failures today in the technology-filled world. Nevertheless, usable security is not well-aligned with traditional usability for some reasons. First, security is not very often the primary task of the user. In most cases, security is not the primary purpose of using a computer. People use computers to shop, socialize, communicate, and be educated and entertained. Many applications handle security issues through security alerts that interrupt users primary task. Therefore, users represent security as a secondary task. Whenever security is secondary, it opposes the usability of the primary task: users find it is distracting and therefore they would rather ignore, circumvent, or even defeat. Second, securing information is about understanding risk, threats, vulnerabilities and exploits. Such communication is most often unwelcome in the HCI community. Increasing unwelcome interaction is not a goal of usable security and privacy design. Third, discrete technical problems are all well-understood under the umbrella of on-line security and privacy (e.g., attacks such as phishing, malware, spyware, social engineering, Distributed Denial-of-Service or DDoS attack). A broader concept of both security and usability is therefore required for usable security. The projects investigate how users manage their security and privacy in existing systems in order to design new systems that achieve better privacy and security solutions by taking end users into account.

A number of projects available (but not limited to) in usable security and privacy are listed here:

Improving usability of security APIs

Improving the usability of security testing tools

Bespoke fallback authentication mechanism as an extra layer of security

Serious Games in Cyber Security Education (Usable Access Control Games)

Serious Games in Cyber Security Education (phishing threat avoidance perspective)

 

Skills Required:

Prospective candidates will have a Bachelor’s (First Class with Honours) or Master’s degree (with Distinction) in Computer Science, Cyber Security or Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and a strong passion for study human factors in cyber security.

Good programming skills (such as rapid prototyping using programming tools, for example, Java, Android SDK, JavaScript or PhP) are mandatory and previous coding experience is a plus. Applicants who have hands-on experience and skill in HCI design, rapid prototyping and evaluation approaches are certainly welcome to apply.

Prospective candidates can forward their CV including GPA and discuss the particular projects or application process with Nalin Asanka on nalin.asanka@adfa.edu.au.

Contact:

Dr Nalin Asanka Gamagedara Arachchilage

(nalin.asanka@adfa.edu.au)

Description of Work:

Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) is a world-class internationally recognised interdisciplinary research and teaching Centre, specialising in a broad range of areas in Cyber Security. ACCS is seeking prospective PhD students that are interested to undertake in the newly available research project of Serious Games in Cyber Security Education (usable access control games). This project is aimed to develop a game design framework, which enhances the individuals' behavior through their motivation to adhere to best practices when setting up access controls. 

The motivation for this work is that existing security mechanisms have been partially successful in promoting security solutions, however, in many instances these controls are less than perfect, and are used instead of a more appropriate set of controls. 

Corporate resources could interrupt an organization's smooth operations and have immediate, serious financial, legal, human safety, personal privacy and public confidence impact. The approach of this project will be, firstly to develop a game design framework, parameterized by the individuals or organizations own circumstances. The developed game design framework will be informed by an empirical investigation (e.g., Human-Centered Design), and validated through interviews/ questionnaire surveys with a considerable sample of representative individuals.

Secondly, the elements of the framework will be used to develop a game for both the mobile and desktop platforms, which allows the individual to enhance their behavior though motivation to adhere to best practices when setting up access controls. 

The proposed work is based on the notion that not only can a computer game provide an education and training, but also games potentially provide a better learning and training environment, because game based education and training motivate the user and keep attention by providing immediate feedback. 

Applicants of exceptional research potential can apply for Scholarships from the University of New South Wales. Further information regarding the available Scholarships and how to apply is available at:

https://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/study/postgraduate-research/scholarships

 

Skills Required:

Prospective candidates will have a Bachelor’s (First Class with Honours) or Master’s degree (with Distinction) in Computer Science, Cyber Security or Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and a strong passion for study human factors in cyber security.                                                                                                               

Good programming skills (such as rapid prototyping using programming tools, for example, Java, Android SDK, JavaScript or PhP) are mandatory and previous coding experience is a plus. Applicants who have hands-on experience and skill in HCI design, rapid prototyping and evaluation approaches are certainly welcome to apply.

Prospective candidates can forward their CV including GPA and discuss the particular projects or application process with Nalin Asanka on nalin.asanka@adfa.edu.au.

Dr Nalin Asanka Gamagedara Arachchilage is a Lecturer in Cyber Security at the Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy). He holds a PhD in Usable Security from the Brunel University London, UK where he developed a game design framework to protect computer users against “phishing attacks”. His research is inter-disciplinary in nature and has published numerous articles at reputed international conferences and journals. Apart from his academic career, Nalin has also worked on a number of software engineering roles ranging from Programmer, Software Engineer and IT Manager.

Contact:

Dr Nalin Asanka Gamagedara Arachchilage

(nalin.asanka@adfa.edu.au)

Description of Work:

Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) is a world-class internationally recognised interdisciplinary research and teaching Centre, specialising in a broad range of areas in Cyber Security. ACCS is seeking prospective PhD students that are interested to undertake in the newly available research project of Serious Games in Cyber Security Education (phishing threat avoidance perspective).

Phishing is an online identity theft that aims to steal sensitive information such as username, password and online banking details from its victims. Phishing education needs to be considered as a means to combat this threat. This project investigates how one can design and develop a serious game to thwart phishing attacks by incorporating learning science principles and human factors into a gaming toolkit.

Applicants of exceptional research potential can apply for Scholarships from the University of New South Wales. Further information regarding the available Scholarships and how to apply is available at:

https://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/study/postgraduate-research/scholarships

 

Skills Required:

Prospective candidates will have a Bachelor’s (First Class with Honours) or Master’s degree (with Distinction) in Computer Science, Cyber Security or Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and a strong passion for study human factors in cyber security.                                                                     

Good programming skills (such as rapid prototyping using programming tools, for example, Java, Android SDK, JavaScript or PhP) are mandatory and previous coding experience is a plus. Applicants who have hands-on experience and skill in HCI design, rapid prototyping and evaluation approaches are certainly welcome to apply.

Prospective candidates can forward their CV including GPA and discuss the particular projects or application process with Nalin Asanka. nalin.asanka@adfa.edu.au

Dr Nalin Asanka Gamagedara Arachchilage is a Lecturer in Cyber Security at the Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy). He holds a PhD in Usable Security from the Brunel University London, UK where he developed a game design framework to protect computer users against “phishing attacks”. His research is inter-disciplinary in nature and has published numerous articles at reputed international conferences and journals. Apart from his academic career, Nalin has also worked on a number of software engineering roles ranging from Programmer, Software Engineer and IT Manager.

Contact:

Dr Nalin Asanka Gamagedara Arachchilage

(nalin.asanka@adfa.edu.au)

Description of Work:

Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) is a world-class internationally recognised interdisciplinary research and teaching Centre, specialising in a broad range of areas in Cyber Security. ACCS is seeking prospective PhD students that are interested to undertake in the newly available research project to design a bespoke fall-back authentication mechanism as an extra layer of security.

This project investigates how one can design and develop a bespoke fallback authentication mechanism as an extra layer of security. Security questions (a.k.a., "personal knowledge questions", "secret questions" or "challenge questions" among other names) have been designed to provide an extra layer of security and verify that the person requesting access to her account. Despite the pervasiveness of security questions among many on-line services, far less attention has been paid to their security and usability.

Alternate email accounts and SMS based account mechanisms are already in use by some on-line services to authenticate users who have forgotten their passwords. However, these mechanisms could oppose security at times as an email address may expire due to changes in affiliations (jobs, organization, institution, school or Internet Service Provider). Failure of the SMS mechanism could occur if the user does not have access to their mobile telephone. Secondly, mobile telephones are not only prone to get lost and stolen but also frequently shared among family and peers.

Applicants of exceptional research potential can apply for Scholarships from the University of New South Wales. Further information regarding the available Scholarships and how to apply is available at:

https://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/study/postgraduate-research/scholarships

 

Skills:

Prospective candidates will have a Bachelor’s (First Class with Honours) or Master’s degree (with Distinction) in Computer Science, Cyber Security or Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and a strong passion for study human factors in cyber security.

Good programming skills (such as rapid prototyping using programming tools, for example, Java, Android SDK, JavaScript or PhP) are mandatory and previous coding experience is a plus. Applicants who have hands-on experience and skill in HCI design, rapid prototyping and evaluation approaches are certainly welcome to apply.

Prospective candidates can forward their CV including GPA and discuss the particular projects or application process with Nalin Asanka. nalin.asanka@adfa.edu.au

Dr Nalin Asanka Gamagedara Arachchilage is a Lecturer in Cyber Security at the Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy). He holds a PhD in Usable Security from the Brunel University London, UK where he developed a game design framework to protect computer users against “phishing attacks”. His research is inter-disciplinary in nature and has published numerous articles at reputed international conferences and journals. Apart from his academic career, Nalin has also worked on a number of software engineering roles ranging from Programmer, Software Engineer and IT Manager.

Contact:

Dr Nalin Asanka Gamagedara Arachchilage

(nalin.asanka@adfa.edu.au)

Description of Work:

Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) is a world-class internationally recognised interdisciplinary research and teaching Centre, specialising in a broad range of areas in Cyber Security. ACCS is seeking prospective PhD students that are interested to undertake in the newly available research project of improving usability of security testing tools.

A number of authentication and authorization protocols have been introduced to protect user privacy in software system. With the increased adoption of such protocols, so far there is little work on investigating usability of security testing tools. The usability aspect is considered mostly for the protocol itself, but not for the security testing tools that are used to ensure the system, which is safe enough to be publicly exposed. There are security testing tools developed having common usability issues.

In this research, various security testing tools that are used for testing authentication and authorization protocols would be considered to identify common design issues that have caused usability problems. Feedback will be taken from users during the experimental studies and improvements are suggested to fix the usability problems in security testing tools. Furthermore, it is expected to improve the tools by fixing these issues and evaluate again with the users for validating their suggestions. Based on the findings, a set of design guidelines is introduced for developers adhere to enhance the usability and security of testing tools.

Applicants with excellent research potential can apply for Scholarships from the University of New South Wales. Further information regarding the available Scholarships and how to apply is available at:

https://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/study/postgraduate-research/scholarships 

 

Skills Required:

Prospective candidates will have a Bachelor’s (First Class with Honours) or Master’s degree (with Distinction) in Computer Science, Cyber Security or Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and a strong passion for study human factors in cyber security.                                            

Good programming skills (such as rapid prototyping using programming tools, for example, Java, Android SDK, JavaScript or PhP) are mandatory and previous coding experience is a plus. Applicants who have hands-on experience and skill in HCI design, rapid prototyping and evaluation approaches are certainly welcome to apply.

Prospective candidates can forward their CV including GPA and discuss the particular projects or application process with Nalin Asanka. nalin.asanka@adfa.edu.au

 

Dr Nalin Asanka Gamagedara Arachchilage is a Lecturer in Cyber Security at the Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy). He holds a PhD in Usable Security from the Brunel University London, UK where he developed a game design framework to protect computer users against “phishing attacks”. His research is inter-disciplinary in nature and has published numerous articles at reputed international conferences and journals. Apart from his academic career, Nalin has also worked on a number of software engineering roles ranging from Programmer, Software Engineer and IT Manager.

 

Contact:

Dr Nalin Asanka Gamagedara Arachchilage

(nalin.asanka@adfa.edu.au)

Description of Work:

Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) is a world-class internationally recognised interdisciplinary research and teaching Centre, specialising in a broad range of areas in Cyber Security. ACCS is seeking prospective PhD students that are interested to undertake in the newly available research project surrounding the concept of improving usability of security APIs (Application Programming Interface).

This project aims to develop a systematic approach to evaluate the usability of security APIs. Programmers make use of security APIs created by the API developers during their software development tasks within the organization. However, they have a lack of security expertise in most cases. Researchers and industry experts have stressed the mantra of "The User is the Enemy" in the computer systems security. On the other hand, security APIs research has been treated the programmer as the enemy in the banking industry. This is mainly because programmers concentrate solely on protecting secrets (e.g. developing encryption keys) of the APIs. However, there is a lack of research investigating how programmers make use of security APIs in the software development process. It is imperative to increase the security of the software application developed as well as the libraries utilized in the software development process.

Applicants of exceptional research potential can apply for Scholarships from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra. Further information about the available Scholarships and how to apply, is available at: https://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/study/postgraduate-research/scholarships

Skills Required:

Prospective candidates will have a Bachelor’s (First Class with Honours) or Master’s degree (with Distinction) in Computer Science, Cyber Security or Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and a strong passion for study human factors in cyber security.

Good programming skills (such as rapid prototyping using programming tools, for example, Java, Android SDK, JavaScript or PhP) are mandatory and previous coding experience is a plus. Applicants who have hands-on experience and skill in HCI design, rapid prototyping and evaluation approaches are certainly welcome to apply.

Prospective candidates can forward their CV including GPA and discuss the particular projects or application process with Nalin Asank. nalin.asanka@adfa.edu.au

Dr Nalin Asanka Gamagedara Arachchilage is a Lecturer in Cyber Security at the Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy). He holds a PhD in Usable Security from the Brunel University London, UK where he developed a game design framework to protect computer users against “phishing attacks”. His research is inter-disciplinary in nature and has published numerous articles at reputed international conferences and journals. Apart from his academic career, Nalin has also worked on a number of software engineering roles ranging from Programmer, Software Engineer and IT Manager.

Contact:

Dr Nalin Asanka Gamagedara Arachchilage

(nalin.asanka@adfa.edu.au)

Description of Work:

Objectives:

Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS) is an internationally recognised interdisciplinary research and teaching Centre, specialising in a broad range of areas in Cyber Security. ACCS is seeking prospective PhD students that are interested to undertake in the newly available research project of Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and SCADA cyber security.

Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and SCADA that operate within national critical infrastructure are the systems that help monitor and control electrical grids, oil and gas pipelines, water distribution networks, transport and mission-critical military systems. These differ significantly from standard, general-purpose IT systems, thus face quite different challenges in cyber space. 

ICS/SCADA cyber security is one of the key research areas at ACCS and prospective students have wide scope to select a topic within this field.  Some areas of current research activity include: intrusion detection (IDS) and situational awareness (combination of IDS and Threat Intelligence); simulation and machine learning techniques; cyber-physical system interaction and HMI vulnerability.

Applicants with excellent research potential can apply for Scholarships from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra. Further information about the available Scholarships and how to apply, is available at: https://www.unsw.adfa.edu.au/study/postgraduate-research/scholarships

 

Desired Expected Background: 

A background in cyber security, operation control systems, IT and/or information technology; knowledge in Matlab/Simulink and Python programming are desirable. 

Contact:

Dr Elena Sitnikova

(e.sitnikova@adfa.edu.au)

Description of Work:

Objectives:

This project investigates general cyber security issues such as access control, social engineering, face book, privacy etc.

Description of Work:

  • Studying and analysing existing relevant cyber security algorithms
  • Designing new algorithms

Skills Required:

Good math background especially statistics, solid networking knowledge and concrete programming skills.

Contact:

Prof Jiankun Hu (j.hu@adfa.edu.au)