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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