TRUST aWARE project perspectives – Interview with Javier Gutiérrez Meana, TRUST aWARE project coordinator

TRUST aWARE project perspectives – Interview with Javier Gutiérrez Meana, TRUST aWARE project coordinator

The TRUST aWARE project began last June. It is an EU-funded project from the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Javier Gutiérrez Meana, the TRUST aWARE project coordinator, talks about the relevance, the context and the key challenges for TRUST aWARE.

In your own words, what is TRUST aWARE about?

TRUST aWARE is a European project that focuses on Security and Privacy (S&P) threats from different perspectives, because it covers the whole S&P process, starting with the early detection and identification of potential threats in software; a throughout analysis using a set of innovative tools; and release of this information to citizens and stakeholders to anticipate and mitigate risks but also rise awareness. In this context, it should be highlighted the involvement of groups of volunteers in different countries as part of the co-creation methodology to ensure results are useful and relevant for society.

What makes Trust aWARE important in the times of Digital Age?

Nowadays we are all exposed to S&P threats simply because we use digital devices, browsers, applications, etc. For example, when we download a new app – even from an official store – we often accept the privacy policy without paying much attention to its clauses. We should be aware of how our personal data will be used, so it may be worth highlighting some parts of the text for a deeper review. Moreover, TRUST aWARE tools will help discover data breaches or understand the mechanisms behind the advertisements we see on social media.

In simple terms, what problems is TRUST aWARE trying to solve?

One of the most important points of TRUST aWARE is the early detection of S&P threats to be able to anticipate an appropriate response or mitigate their associated risks. Cooperation among organisations is key to generate and spread alerts with the aim of reaching a wide audience. Furthermore, this knowledge will underpin training to ensure citizens are well informed to take decisions in relation to security and privacy aspects, and successfully react against attacks or potential breaches.

What is/are the unique value proposition of the project?

I think that targeting both security and privacy threats is the cornerstone TRUST aWARE together with the participation of key stakeholders in the different activities. Although we are more or less familiar with security in software applications because of day-to-day activities and headlines (especially cyberattacks reported by large companies and governments), there is still room for improvement with anticipation and mitigation measures.  However, privacy in software is usually forgotten from the user’s perspective, and often exploited by those who want to take advantage of  (use, sell) valuable data. Dedicated tools and training will contribute to better dealing with this type of threats with a focus on vulnerable groups of citizens.

What are the main challenges and opportunities that you envision for the project?

One of the main challenges in TRUST aWARE is the changing and evolving nature of S&P threats. For this reason, the tools developed under TRUST aWARE are flexible and reconfigurable to be able to tackle different and new scenarios. In terms of opportunities, the collaboration with several European organisations should be understood as a strategy to foster networking at different levels.

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