Alexander Sjösten, Data- och informationsteknik

​Information Flow for Web Security and Privacy

The use of libraries is prevalent in modern web development. But how to ensure sensitive data is not being leaked through these libraries? This is the first challenge this thesis aims to solve. We propose the use of information-flow control by developing a principled approach to allow information-flow tracking in libraries, even if the libraries are written in a language not supporting information-flow control. The approach allows library functions to have unlabel and relabel models that explain how values are unlabeled and relabeled when marshaled between the labeled program and the unlabeled library. The approach handles primitive values and lists, records, higher-order functions, and references through the use of lazy marshaling.

Web pages can combine benign properties of a user's browser to a fingerprint, which can identify the user. Fingerprinting can be intrusive and often happens without the user's consent. The second challenge this thesis aims to solve is to bridge the gap between the principled approach of handling libraries, to practical use in the information-flow aware JavaScript interpreter JSFlow. We extend JSFlow to handle libraries and be deployed in a browser, enabling information-flow tracking on web pages to detect fingerprinting.

Modern browsers allow for browser modifications through browser extensions. These extensions can be intrusive by, e.g., blocking content or modifying the DOM, and it can be in the interest of web pages to detect which extensions are installed in the browser. The third challenge this thesis aims to solve is finding which browser extensions are executing in a user's browser, and investigate how the installed browser extensions can be used to decrease the privacy of users. We do this by conducting several large-scale studies and show that due to added security by browser vendors, a web page may uniquely identify a user based on the installed browser extension alone.

It is popular to use filter lists to block unwanted content such as ads and tracking scripts on web pages. These filter lists are usually crowd-sourced and mainly focus on English speaking regions. Non-English speaking regions should use a supplementary filter list, but smaller linguistic regions may not have an up to date filter list. The fourth challenge this thesis aims to solve is how to automatically generate supplementary filter lists for regions which currently do not have an up to date filter list.
​Alexander Sjösten tillhör avdelningen för Informationssäkerhet vid Data- och informationsteknik.


Professor Davide Balzarotti, Eurecom, Frankrike.

Kategori Disputation
Plats: Online defence
Tid: 2020-09-11 14:15
Sluttid: 2020-09-11 17:00

Publicerad: må 07 sep 2020.