America's Best Student Researchers to Compete in NYU-Poly Cyber Security Awareness Week

Judges Pick Top 10 Research Papers Authored by Doctoral Candidates for Final Round in World’s Largest Student Security Event

Female students at CSAW

Brooklyn, New York—Judges chose 10 of the best young researchers to progress to the final round of the prestigious Best Applied Security Paper Contest during the world’s biggest student cyber security challenge event. The 10 doctoral candidates from across the United States will gather on the Brooklyn campus of the Polytechnic Institute of New York (NYU-Poly) for the 10th annual Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW).

They were selected by an elite group of 30 judges, including university professors and industry and government experts based on their research papers, previously presented at peer-reviewed academic conferences or published in journals. In the final round of their CSAW competition on November 15, they will present their findings to the judges and compete for cash awards.

As part of the 10th annual NYU-Poly CSAW, the Best Applied Security Paper Contest aims to inspire and support doctoral students’ studies and research on cyber security. Representing the very top work of doctoral students worldwide, this contest accepts only published research that demonstrates comprehensive analyses of current cyber security issues and provides high-feasibility solutions to current security problems.

Here are the finalists for the Best Applied Security Paper Award:

  1. Zhou Li, Indiana University at Bloomington, "Finding the Linchpins of the Dark Web: a Study on Topologically Dedicated Hosts on Malicious Web Infrastructures"
  2. Martin Maas, University of California at Berkeley, "PHANTOM: Practical Oblivious Computation in a Secure Processor"
  3. Ian Miers, Johns Hopkins University, "Zerocoin: Anonymous Distributed E-Cash from Bitcoin"
  4. Keaton Mowery, University of California at San Diego, "Welcome to the Entropics: Boot-Time Entropy in Embedded Devices"
  5. Yacin Nadji, Georgia Institute of Technology, "Connected Colors: Unveiling the Structure of Criminal Networks"
  6. Vasilis Pappas, Columbia University, "Transparent ROP Exploit Mitigation Using Indirect Branch Tracing"
  7. Masoud Rostami, Rice University, "Heart-to-Heart (H2H): Authentication for Implanted Medical Devices"
  8. Seungwon Shin, Texas A&M University, "FRESCO: Modular Composable Security Services for Software-Defined Networks"
  9. Ruoyu Wang, University of California at Santa Barbara, "Steal This Movie: Automatically Bypassing DRM Protection in Streaming Media Services"
  10. Mingwei Zhang, Stony Brook University, "Control Flow Integrity for COTS Binaries"

“The Best Applied Security Paper Competition allows students who have already demonstrated their research capabilities through their published papers to prove the impact that their research can have on the practice of security,” said Nasir Memon, founder of CSAW, director of NYU-Poly’s cyber security program, and head of the NYU-Poly Department of Computer Science and Engineering. “The CSAW competitions have become widely known for offering important opportunities for students to explore new approaches; they are a vital investment in the next generation of security professionals.”

The three-day CSAW finals, from November 14 to 16, will draw hundreds of the world’s most promising cyber security students and leading practitioners to NYU-Poly’s campus. In addition to the Best Applied Security Paper, other contests include the Capture the Flag Application Security Contest, which attracted a record 13,500 participants in the preliminary round; the High School Forensics Competition, a digital murder-mystery; the Department of Homeland Security Quiz, a trivia game open to all students during the CSAW finals; the Embedded Systems Competition, an advanced round of play to discover and exploit hardware vulnerabilities; and a contest in which students design interpretive web experiences to emphasize the importance of cyber awareness.

The THREADS security conference will open the CSAW events and bring to campus top cyber security researchers to explain measures they developed for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It is open to students and professionals. All cyber security students in the region are invited to participate in a career fair that is also part of CSAW.

For more information about NYU-Poly’s CSAW, visit

NYU-Poly was one of the first universities to introduce a cyber security program, and it is designated as both a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education and a Center of Academic Excellence in Research by the National Security Agency. The Sloan Consortium, an affiliation of educators and institutions dedicated to quality online education, named NYU-Poly’s graduate cyber security program the Outstanding Online Program of 2011. The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Security and Privacy (CRISSP), a cutting-edge research collaboration of NYU-Poly and other NYU schools, re-examines the entire cyber security paradigm to integrate technology with broader issues such as human psychology, business, public policies, and law.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is a gold sponsor of CSAW; Facebook, Qualcomm, Raytheon, and RSA provide support at the bronze level. To date, 25 companies have provided generous funding for the educational goals of NYU-Poly’s CSAW.