SBA Research is a research center for Information Security funded partly by the national initiative for COMET Competence Centers for Excellent Technologies. Within a network of more than 70 companies, 15 Austrian and international universities and research institutions, and many additional international research partners we jointly work on research challenges ranging from organizational to technical security to strengthen Europe’s Cybersecurity capabilities.
ISIS @ TU Wien IAIK @ TU Graz DKE @ Uni Wien NM @ WU Wien FH St. Pölten AIT


Guest talk / Seminar: John Tait

Guest talk: John Tait

The term Semantic Search is becoming fashionable, but there are a number of problems with the term.

1) There are at least two forms of semantic search. One is based more-or-less hand programmed knowledge sources, like domain ontologies or thesauri. The other is based on emergent properties of the data being searched, using technques like Latent Semantic Analysis or clustering. It is far from clear that the results of applying the two approaches are similar or even compatible.
2) It is often assumed that semantic search is in some sense different from surface text search: which implies that normal old-fashioned Google search (for example) is equivalent to randon string search, when of course the underlying statistics depend critically on the fact that both the queries and copora are natural language (English or German) words with underlying semantics.
3) Semantic Search depends critically on text annotation processes during indexing: but these are potentially corruptable by malefactors. How can this be prevented?

The seminar will explore these three issues, and attempt to find a better definition of the term semantic search and to identify soem ways forward.

Timbus projects starts March 1, 2011

The digital preservation problem is well-understood for query-centric information scenarios but has been less explored for scenarios where the important digital information to be preserved is the execution context within which data is processed, analysed, transformed and rendered. Furthermore, preservation is often considered as a set of activities carried out in the isolation of a single domain, without considering the dependencies on third-party services, information and capabilities that will be necessary to validate digital information in a futureusage context.
TIMBUS will endeavour to enlarge the understanding of DP to include the set of activities, processes and tools that ensure continued access to services and software necessary to produce the context within which information can be accessed, properly rendered, validated and transformed into knowledge. One of the fundamental requirements is to preserve the functional and non-functional specifications of services and software, along with their dependencies.

SBA Research
SQS Software Quality systems AG
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
INESC ID – Instituto de engenharia de sistemas e computadores, investigacao e desenvolvimento em Lisboa
iPharro Media GmbH
Intel Performance learning solutions limited
Caixa Magica Software lda
Laboratorio Nacional de Engenharia Civil
Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
Laboratorio de Instrumentacao e Fisica Experimental de Particulas
Digital Preservation Coalition limited by guarantee*DPC


SBA is via AARIT part of the ABCDE project and will accept follows that want to join the research center.

Initiated in 1992 and open to PhD holders from Europe and all over the world, the Alain Bensoussan Fellowship Programme (ABFP) is designed for ICT students, researchers and professionals. Funded entirely by ERCIM members, the ABFP yields about 20 fellows per year on average.
Focusing on inter-sectoral ICT research and lasting generally 18 months, the fellowships are composed of two 9-month periods (9+9) to be spent in two different ERCIM institutes (located in two European countries) to foster trans-national mobility. Fellowships of 12 months hosted by one single ERCIM institution are also considered. In such cases, short research visits to other institutes are required in order to meet the training and mobility objectives of the programme.
Throughout the programme, the fellows are supported by the ERCIM Human Resource Task Force in driving their personal development scheme and to assist them in their future career plans, whether in European research institutions or in European Industry.
We believe ABCDE will provide a real opportunity to further develop and improve the already robust and self-sustainable Alain Bensoussan Fellowship Programme. Moreover, given the strategic nature of this training scheme focusing on ICT and novel technologies, COFUND support in up-scaling this Fellowship Programme would also enhance its impact over European research and competitiveness at large.

Information Security Knowledge Management Survey

We kindly ask you to participate in our information security knowledge management survey. The survey is conducted by publicly-funded research institutions SBA Research (AT), Newcastle University (UK), and Vienna University of Technology (AT). We conduct the survey to explore potential ways of enabling companies and professionals to share information security knowledge through the application of collaborative semantic web technologies. The aggregated survey results will be published within publically-accessible research publications.


Thank you for your support.

APARSEN project starts on Jan 1, 2011

Digital preservation (DP) offers the economic and social benefits associated with the long-term preservation of information, knowledge and know-how for re-use by current as well as later generations. However, digital preservation has a great problem, namely that preservation support structures are built on projects which are short lived and is fragmented. The unique feature of APARSEN is that it is building on the already established Alliance for Permanent Access (APA), a membership organization of major European stakeholders in digital data and digital preservation. These stakeholders have come together to create a shared vision and framework for a sustainable digital information infrastructure providing permanent access to digitally encoded information. To this self-sustaining grouping APARSEN will add a wide range of other experts in digital preservation including academic, and commercial researchers, as well as researchers in other cross-European organizations. The members of the consortium already undertake research in digital preservation individually but even here the effort is fragmented despite smaller groupings of these organizations working together in specific EU and national projects. APARSEN will help to combine and integrate these programes into a shared program of work, thereby creating the pre-eminent virtual research center in digital preservation in Europe, if not the World. The Joint Programme of Activity will lead to:

• The integration of the majority of the research activities in DP within a common vision and common terminology and evidence standard
• A common agreement of the services needed for preservation, access and most importantly re-use of data holdings over the whole lifecycle;
• Embedding of legal and economic issues, including costs, governance issues and digital rights in digital preservation
• A discipline of data curators with appropriate qualifications recognized across Europe, and well defined support services

Science and Technology Facilities Council
Stichting European Alliance for Permanent Access
European Organization for Nuclear Research
Stichting Secretariaat van de International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers
FTK Forschungsinstitut für Telekommunikation e.V
CSC – Tieteen tietotekniikan keskus Oy
Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
Digital Preservation Coalition limited by Guarantee*DPC
Alfred-Wegener-Institut fuer Polar- und Meeresforschung
The British Library
European Space Agency
Koninklijke nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen-Knaw
Koninklijke Bibliotheek
Stichting LIBER Foundation
Consorzio interuniversitario nazionale per l’informatica
InConTec GmbH
Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas
Globit – Global Information Technology GmbH
Microsoft Research (Cambridge Lab)
Philips Consumer Lifestyle B.V.
Airbus Operations SAS
INMARK Estudios y Estrategias S.A.
Fondazione Rinascimento Digitale-nuove tecnologie per i beni culturali
Luleå University of Technology
University degli studi di Trento
Tessella PLC
IBM Israel – Science and technology ltd
SBA Research
Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek
University of Patras

Mumia project

The tremendous power and speed of current search engines to respond, almost instantaneously to millions of user queries on a daily basis is one of the greatest successes of the past decade. While this technology empowers users need to extract relevant information from the hundreds of thousands of terabytes of existing data available on the web, the next decade presents many new grand challenges. This next wave of search technology is faced with even greater demands, not only in terms of volume of requests, but also in terms of the changes to the content available, and the dynamics of Web 2.0+ data being produced. These increased and new demands mean that search technology must be able to search, filter, extract, combine, integrate, and process multiple and distributed sources of multilingual content, delivered to an even wider global audience and variety of population. Inevitably, Multilingual and Multifaceted Interactive Information Access (MUMIA) research and development will be a key part of the next generation of search technology. Machine Translation (MT), Information Retrieval (IR) and Multifaceted Interactive Information Access (MIIA) are three disciplines which address the main components of MUMIA. However, relevant research, which is vitally important for the development of next generation search systems, is fragmented. This Action will launch a much needed initiative to coordinate the collaboration between these disciplines, fostering research and technology transfer in these areas and play an important role in the definition of the future of search. To form a common basis for collaboration the domain of patent retrieval has been selected as it provides highly sophisticated and information intensive search tasks that have significant economic ramifications; as well as providing a large scale unifying test bed of multilingual and dynamic data. This Action will explore innovative frameworks to empower the synergies from the disparate research fields of MT/IR/MIIA within the specific context of patent search and other next generation Web applications.

Alexander Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki
Information Retrieval Facility
Dublin City University
Univ. of Duissburg-Essen
Univ. of Sheffield
Univ. “Al.I.Cuza” Iasi
University of Santiago de Compostela
University of Amsterdam
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS)
Institute for Parallel Processing, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
LIG (laboatoire d’Inforamtique de Grenoble), University of Grenoble
Centrum voor Wiskunde & Informatica
INRIA Futurs
University of Tampere, Department of Information Studies and Interactive Media
University of Glasgow
Barcelona Media Innovation Centre (FBM-UPF)
Information Science and Technology Institute (ISTI) of the Italian National Research Council

EU projects!

Andreas Rauber has been very successful. He brought several new EU projects to the center: APARSEN, TIMBUS and Mumia. Moreover, we will start with INMOTOS and we hope to attract one or two ERCIM fellows.
…more information will be posted soon…

Martin Mulazzani at Purdue University

Martin Mulazzani will work the next months at Purdue University in Lafayette, IN with Prof. Elisa Bertino and Prof. Christina Nita-Rotaru.


We are attending CCS 2010 in Chicago and present a poster and a paper at the AISec Workshop.

Japan‐Austria Joint Workshop on ‘ICT’

Edgar Weippl gives a talk on information security at the joint workshop organized by FWF and JST in Tokyo.

ISecLab Blog

The researchers of ISecLab, among them Engin Kirda, just launched a nice blog;

D-A-CH Security

On Sep 21 and 22, SBA and the Vienna University of Technology host the D-A-CH Security conference. The proceedings have been edited by Peter Schartner and Edgar Weippl (more…)

Edgar Weippl joined the editorial board of Computers & Security (COSE)

Elsevier Advanced Technologies publishes 8 issues of Computers & Security (COSE) annually; the journal began publication in 1981, and is concluding publication of volume 29.  It is the oldest journal in print in the area of computing and information security and privacy.   Beginning in 1983, COSE became the official journal of the International Federation for Information Processing,  Technical Committee 11 on Security and Protection in Information Processing Systems (IFIP TC-11). Gene Spafford is the new editor in chief and he made some updates of the editorial board.

Security in Social Networks

Sep 14, Edgar Weippl presents a summary of SBA’s research on social networks in Zurich (Der Standard)

Wiener Forschungsfest

SBA is part of the Wiener Forschungsfest, an outreach program to make research results accessible to the general public (more…)

IEEE Transactions SMC-C: Special Issue on Availability, Reliability, and Security

The six papers in this special issue focus on availability, reliability, and security. Some of the topics covered include prevention of identity theft, biometric technology and authentication, and security considerations for RF identification. Guest editors: Ravi Sandhu, A Min Tjoa, Edgar Weippl. (more…)

Verification, Validation, and Evaluation in Information Security Risk Management

Our article “Verification, Validation, and Evaluation in Information Security Risk Management” (Authors: Stefan Fenz and Andreas Ekelhart) got accepted at IEEE Security & Privacy. Check out the preprint at the IEEE Digital Library.

Over the last four decades, various information security risk management (ISRM) approaches have emerged. However, there is a lack of sound verification, validation, and evaluation methods for these approaches. While restrictions, such as the impossibility of measuring exact values for probabilities and follow-up costs, obviously exist, verification, validation, and evaluation of research is essential in any field, and ISRM is no exception. Individual approaches exist, but so far there is no systematic overview of the available methods. In this article we survey verification, validation and evaluation methods referenced in ISRM literature and discuss in which ISRM phases the methods should be applied. The selection of appropriate methods is demonstrated with a potential real-world example. This systematic analysis draws conclusions on the current status of ISRM verification, validation and evaluation and can serve as a reference for researchers and users of ISRM approaches who aim to establish trust in their results.

Markus Huber at CMU

Markus Huber will work this summer on his research in Social Networking Privacy and Security at Carnegie Mellon University with Alessandro Acquisti.

Technical report: Friend-In-The-Middle (FITM) Attacks

Abstract. In the ongoing arms race between spammers and the multi-million dollar anti-spam industry, the number of unsolicited e-mail messages (better known as “spam”) and phishing has increased heavily in the last decade. In this paper, we show that our novel friend-in-the-middle attack on social networking sites (SNSs) can be used to harvest social data in an automated fashion. This social data can then be exploited for large-scale attacks such as context-aware spam and social-phishing. We prove the feasibility of our attack exemplarily on Facebook and identify possible consequences based on a mathematical model and simulations. Alarmingly, all major SNSs are vulnerable to our attack as they fail to secure the network layer appropriately.


“INFORM” awarded 2nd place

The SBA FIT-IT proposal “INFORM” (Internet Forensic Framework) has been awarded the 2nd place in the competition for the best proposal among all proposals for “Trust in IT-Systems” in 2009.

The goal of “INFORM” is to study current challenges in computer forensics and to produce tools that enricht the toolset of a forensic analysist. In the traditional approach, the seizure of the suspects hard drives is used to analyse traces of malicious activities. With the widesread availability of hard drive encryption tools, online file storate systems and bootable Linux distributions that leave no traces on the hard drive, new tools and procedures are needed to support the evidence collection process. Social networks and anonymization networks pose further challenges for online forensics that will be adressed by “INFORM”.

The news report on futurezone and derstandard.

Social Engineering Bot and Porn Sites

Our researchers of ISecLab have recently released some nice papers that are quoted on slashdot (see 1 and 2). More news reports on PCWorld, BBC and darkreading.

IMPACT 2010: May 6

We celebrate the new grant COMET-K1 (more…)

“Digital Genome” Safeguards Dying Data Formats

quoted from ACM  Queue: “European researchers have deposited a “digital genome” time capsule inside a data storage facility known as the Swiss Fort Knox, which contains a blueprint that future generations can use to read data stored using obsolete technology. The capsule is the result of the four-year Planets project, which was launched to preserve the world’s digital assets as technology changes. “The time capsule being deposited inside Swiss Fort Knox contains the digital equivalent of the genetic code of different data formats,” says British Library archivist Adam Farquhar. Planets project researchers note that the European Union alone loses at least three billion euros worth of digital information every year. “Unlike hieroglyphics carved in stone or ink on parchment, digital data has a shelf life of years, not millennia,” says University of Technology of Vienna professor Andreas Rauber. The project aims to preserve data DNA, the information and tools to access and read historical digital material and prevent digital memory loss into the next century. “If we can nail the next 100 years, we figure we will be able to nail the next 100 years as well,” Farquhar says.

(more…) (Andreas Rauber @ SBA)

Guest talks and visiting researchers from the university of Deusto.

Pablo García Bringas and Igor Santos Grueiro visited SBA Research and we plan to collaborate in the area of privacy and forensics in social networks.

New Key Researcher: Prof. Stefanie Rinderle-Ma

We are happy to have a new key research who focuses on workflow systems and security: Prof. Stefanie Rinderle-Ma (at the University of Vienna)