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Improving Technical Security 24 February 2019

NDSS 2019 Highlights the Best in Security Research

By Karen O'DonoghueFormer Director, Internet Trust and Technology

Tomorrow, the 26th consecutive Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS) is set to kick off in San Diego, CA. NDSS is a premier academic research conference addressing a wide range of topics associated with improving network and system security. A key focus of the Internet Society has long been improving trust in the global open Internet and all of its connected devices and systems. In today’s world, we need new and innovative ideas and research on the security and privacy of our connected devices and the Internet that connects them together.

NDSS 2019 (24-27 February) will be the biggest NDSS symposium yet, featuring 89 peer-reviewed papers, 35 posters, 4 workshops, and a keynote. Record registration numbers are a key indicator that NDSS 2019 is featuring vital and timely topics. Below are some of the highlights expected in the coming week.


This year’s program officially starts with four workshops on Sunday, 24 February. NDSS workshops are organized around a single topic and provide an opportunity for greater dialogue amongst researchers and practitioners in the area. Each of this year’s workshops have dynamic agendas.

The Workshop on Binary Analysis Research (BAR) is returning for its second year at NDSS after a very successful inaugural year in 2018. Binary analysis refers to the process where humans and automated systems examine underlying code in software to discover, exploit, and defend against vulnerabilities. With the enormous and ever-increasing amount of software in the word today, formalized and automated methods of analysis are vital to improving security. This workshop will include a keynote, a number of peer-reviewed papers, an invited speaker, and a panel discussion. It will also emphasize the importance of releasing and sharing artifacts that can be used to reproduce results in papers and can be used as a basis for further research and development.

The Workshop on Decentralized IoT Systems and Security (DISS) is in its second year, following a very successful inaugural year in 2018. The seemingly endless potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) is somewhat tempered by the concern over the ever-increasing risk that these devices pose to the Internet. The ultimate success of IoT depends on solving the underlying security and privacy challenges. Following the spirit of NDSS, the goal of this workshop is to bring together researchers and practitioners to analyze and discuss decentralized security in the IoT. DISS features a keynote, several papers, and a panel discussion.

The new workshop this year is the Workshop on Measurements, Attacks and Defenses for the Web (MADWeb). The web connects billions of devices, running numerous types of clients, and serves billions of users every day. To cope with such a widespread adoption, the web constantly changes. This is evident by some browsers that have a release cycle of just six weeks. These rapid changes are not always studied from a security perspective, resulting in new attack vectors that were never observed before. The MADWeb is looking to connect researchers working at the intersection of browser evolution and web security. The goal is to create a new venue for discussing the rapid changes to browsers from a security perspective, the security implications of current web technologies, and how we can make browsers in the future more secure without hindering the evolution of the web.

Finally, the Workshop on Usable Security (USEC 2019) is one of the original NDSS workshops and is occurring at NDSS for the sixth consecutive year. You can see the results from the previous five years of USEC at NDSS plus three sister events held in Europe (EuroUSEC) here. This workshop has long focused on considering technical as well as human aspects of security. Enabling people to manage privacy and security necessitates giving due consideration to the users and the larger operating context within which technology is embedded. This year, and possibly for future USEC workshops, exceptional USEC papers will be invited to publish extended versions in a special issue of the Journal of Cybersecurity.


Moving beyond the workshops, NDSS will also feature Dr. Deborah Frincke. Dr. Frincke leads the Research Directorate of the National Security Agency (NSA). She will speak on the modern challenges for cyber defense, asking the attendees how we meet the challenge of cyber defense as technological advancement creates a world where an adversary has more opportunity to break into our framework of order.

NDSS 2019 Papers

The main content of NDSS 2018 is of course the set of papers to be presented and published. This year there are 89 peer-reviewed papers organized into 19 sessions, representing around 20% of the original submissions. Topics are wide ranging and include authentication, cryptography, censorship, privacy, blockchain, IoT, and mobile and web security. Papers, slides, and videos of all the talks will eventually be available on the NDSS 2019 programme page.

The final program component of NDSS 2019 is the Monday night Poster Session and Reception. This session will feature 35 posters of recently published or newly emerging research. Attendees will have a chance to vote for their favorite posters with special prizes being awarded in different categories.

The Internet Society is proud to have been associated with NDSS for over 20 years. We are excited to see the results of this year’s event! As of this writing, we are smashing all our recent records including number of accepted papers, number of accepted posters, and total attendees. Congratulations to all the workshop speakers, NDSS authors and speakers, and poster presenters for contributing to what will surely be an exciting week of research discussion and collaboration leading to significant advancements in network and system security.

Follow along via our social media channels – TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn, or search/post using #NDSS19. See you in San Diego!

Image courtesy of Wes Hardaker

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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