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EzMole: A new prototype for securing public Wi-Fi connections
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Computer Science.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

When public Wi-Fi networks are being used, it can be hard to know who else that is using the same network or is monitoring the traffic that is traveling across the network. If the network is public and unencrypted anyone can monitor the traffic and to use these networks for work can be very risky. This is a big problem that needs a solution because the information that travels across the public network might have organizational secrets or sensitive personal information that shouldn’t be read by outsiders.

One way to significantly increase the security while using these public networks is by configuring and setting up a VPN-tunnel, all traffic will then be sent encrypted. But nowadays many computers and mobile phones runs applications in the background that are actively asking for updates. It can for example be news apps, mail clients or instant messaging services like WhatsApp or Telegram. Since the apps is pushing for updates in the background there is a big risk that these programs are asking for updates and therefore transmit and receives information unencrypted over the public network before they have been able to set up their VPN-tunnel.

People might be unaware about this problem and this research can be used to explain the problem and offer a solution to it and that is the reason why this research is important. This research tries to solve the problem and find answers to the research questions, “How to design and implement an affordable intermediate device that offers the user secure access to Internet on public Wi-Fi networks?" and “What are the design principles of that method?”.

The proposed solution to solve this problem was to design and implement a new intermediate device, which was called EzMole, in between the public Wi-Fi and the users’ personal devices. The new device will operate and secure the users’ devices from potential malicious users on the public Wi-Fi while the VPN-tunnel is being established. It will also create a new encrypted wireless network that will be used to connect the personal devices to EzMole, for example mobile phone or laptop.

The methodology that was used to design and develop the new EzMole-device was the Design Science Research Methodology. It includes six steps that was used during three phases of the project that worked in an iterative process with development, testing and evaluation until the device met the initial requirements of a successful device. There were tests for both functionality and security to make sure that it worked in the right way and that it didn’t have any known security weaknesses or flaws. This was very important since EzMole will be and represent an Internet-of-Things(IoT)-device and therefore the security had a big focus.

After the tests, it was time to evaluate it against the initial requirements and the new device lived up to 9/12 requirements and was therefore classified as successful. The research contributes with a universal solution for the research problem and it gives answers to the research questions and in the meantime, reduces the gap in the literature. It also contributes with providing a new piece of hardware that will can help people to connect to the Internet in a more secure way when they are using public Wi-Fi networks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 58 p.
Keyword [en]
EzMole, Wi-Fi, wifi, Internet of Things, IoT, security, vulnerability assessment, access point, Internet, public Wi-Fi
National Category
Computer Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-64780OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-64780DiVA: diva2:1119679
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Information Security, master's level (120 credits)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-07-06 Created: 2017-07-04 Last updated: 2017-07-06Bibliographically approved

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