The Net Rat: Rethinking Connected Services for Increased Security

Bernd Prünster, Florian Reimair, Andreas Reiter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


Traditional desktop computers have been outranked in terms of usage numbers by mobile devices. Still, many popular mobile-first services rely on workflows designed decades ago for a different environment. When relying on cloud-based services, privacy and data protection issues need to be considered. Mostly, however, one can choose between either well-supported legacy applications or innovative niche solutions. In this paper, we introduce the Net Rat, a framework enabling a seamless transition from existing centralised setups to decentralised state-of-the-art services, increasing security while maintaining backwards compatibility to well-established legacy services. We demonstrate the feasibility of our approach with a case study focusing on the decentralisation of the e-mail service—until now, this failed due to missing backward compatibility. A security analysis demonstrates how our approach reaches its goal of protecting user data through decentralisation. The Net Rat is built on a solid foundation as result of a security-first design. The results of this work clearly show the feasibility of decentralising existing services and highlight how well-established services can be improved. Our approach also presents opportunities to develop new services based on a solid foundation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 14th International Joint Conference on e-Business and Telecommunications
Number of pages9
Volume4: SECRYPT
ISBN (Electronic)978-989-758-259-2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017
EventInternational Joint Conference on e-Business and Telecommunications - Madrid, Spain
Duration: 24 Jul 201727 Jul 2017
Conference number: 14


ConferenceInternational Joint Conference on e-Business and Telecommunications
Abbreviated titleICETE 2017


  • peer-to-peer
  • network security
  • decentralisation

Fields of Expertise

  • Information, Communication & Computing

Treatment code (Nähere Zuordnung)

  • Application


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  • A-SIT - Secure Information Technology Center Austria

    Stranacher, K., Dominikus, S., Leitold, H., Marsalek, A., Teufl, P., Bauer, W., Aigner, M. J., Rössler, T., Neuherz, E., Dietrich, K., Zefferer, T., Mangard, S., Payer, U., Orthacker, C., Lipp, P., Reiter, A., Knall, T., Bratko, H., Bonato, M., Suzic, B., Zwattendorfer, B., Kreuzhuber, S., Oswald, M. E., Tauber, A., Posch, R., Bratko, D., Feichtner, J., Ivkovic, M., Reimair, F., Wolkerstorfer, J. & Scheibelhofer, K.


    Project: Research area

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