Researchers Diogo Barradas, Nuno Santos, and Luís Rodrigues were distinguished with the ANRW ISOC.PT 2020 Prize: Best Research Paper and Internet Impact Acknowledge Mention, with paper “On the unobservability of multimedia-based covert channels for Internet censorship circumvention”.

Using multimedia covert channels for Internet censorship circumvention

It is widely known that totalitarian states apply censorship techniques to prevent the free access to information online. In this work, we tackle the development of tools that allow for circumventing censorship by leveraging covert channels established over non-blocked multimedia applications, such as Skype. We also assess the ability of censors to detect covert channels when resorting to detection techniques based in machine learning. We explored the limitations of such techniques to develop new encoding mechanisms to create covert channels that are able to avoid detection. Our results make an important contribution towards the ability to bypass censorship, delivering a set of tools that allow citizens located in countries ruled by repressive regimes to freely access information in the Internet.

João Amado, Miguel Correia and Fernando M. V. Ramos were awarded with ANRW ISOC.PT 2020 Prize Relevant Research Mention, with the work “Intrusion Detection with Programmable Switches”.

This work aims to improve intrusion detection in computer networks by leveraging the novel monitoring capabilities of modern programmable switches. To defend against the growing sophistication of network attacks, our solution explores machine learning techniques that analyze network traffic data for timely identification and response to new attacks.