School of Computing and Engineering

Cyber security: the implication of an intervention design on service providers security and service users privacy in cyberspace

Supervisory team: Dr Elahe Kani-Zabihi

Start dates: January, May and September of each academic year

Duration: This is a three-year position.

Research context

Research at the University of West London lives in an ecosystem of interdisciplinary research. This PhD position is based in the School of Computing and Engineering.

Internet users (service users) use on-line services provided by various organisations, including governments, academic institutions, commercial organisations or on-line social networking companies (service providers).  Increasingly, for many service providers, the Internet is becoming the sole method of service delivery. Privacy and Security research has revealed privacy and security dilemmas for both service users and service providers. In providing a safe and trustworthy cyberspace should system developers focus on on-line users’ privacy or service providers’ security design?

At present, online service users are often obliged to reveal their personal information in order to have access to services provided by online service providers.  Service users have no control of how their personal information is preserved and used. On-line service users are concern about their personal information use. In other hand service providers required this information for authentication and giving necessary authorization. An effective protective cyberspace environment should be designed to fulfil both participants.  

Research goal

The main goal of this project is to implement a tool to evaluate this paradox by involving both service users and service providers in the system development life cycle. This tool will work as an intervention to protect users and support them in their privacy concerns and protect service providers against cyber threats. 

Research objectives:

  • To conduct innovative activities to elicit user requirements for the intervention tool;
  • To design and implement the tool
  • To conduct a user study and by collecting qualitative and quantitate data evaluating the effectiveness of the tool in decreasing cyber-threat and users’ privacy concerns.

Candidate profile

The ideal candidate should have an MSc or equivalent degree in computer science or in a computing-related discipline.

The candidate should be have a strong commitment to reaching research excellence and achieving assigned objectives. It is expected that the PhD candidate will carry out applied research work that will start from establishing a theoretical framework, continue with the implementation of a software prototype and the experimentation with real data, and conclude with the validation of a proposed solution through a real-life user study.

The ideal applicant will have background knowledge and/or previous experience in one all of the following areas: Cyber Security; Internet Technology; Web Application development; E-Commerce.

All applicants for whom English is not their first language must also demonstrate their English language proficiency through evidence of IELTS at overall 7 (with 6.5 in all four skills) or by providing access to MA/MSc chapters or published work.

Further information

For general enquiries about the application process visit the Graduate School pages.

Questions regarding academic aspects of the project should be directed to elahe.kani@uwl.ac.uk