CSAW 2021 added high-profile speakers and panels
How secure are our wireless networks?
Among the most eagerly awaited portions of CSAW ‘21 — the most comprehensive student-run cybersecurity event in the world — was the panel discussion “Security Challenges in 5G Wireless and Beyond.”
The panel, focused on securing telecommunications, couldn’t be more timely as the Biden administration’s new infrastructure plan includes major investment in delivering broadband to all Americans, a task that will require new approaches to both fixed and wireless delivery. Hosted by Professors of Electrical and Computer Engineering Siddharth Garg (a faculty member of both the NYU Center for Cybersecurity and NYU WIRELESS), and Sundeep Rangan (Associate Director of NYU WIRELESS), it explored the manifold security vulnerabilities in networks, mobile devices, the mobile edge cloud, data management, low latency services, new spectrum, especially in the millimeter-wave bands, and more.
Michael Liljestam, principal researcher at NYU WIRELESS affiliate Ericsson Research; Vishwamitra Nandlall, VP tech strategy at Dell Technologies.; Syed Rafiul Hussain of Penn State University; Christina Poepper of NYU Abu Dhabi; Robinson Pino, program manager at the U.S. Department of Energy; and James Wilson of the DARPA. Microsystems Technology Office spoke about threats in NextG systems, detecting and adapting to attacks; isolating diverse services while maintaining efficient resource usage and exploiting data while maintaining privacy.
On the last point, Garg queried the panelists on the virtues of homomorphic encryption, a research focus for him, as he has collaborated on a system that allows inferences to be made directly on encrypted data, a solution that addresses the rise of privacy concerns for personal, medical, military, government and other sensitive information.
Other pressing issues
In addition to the wireless panel and the usual array of high-stakes student cybersecurity competitions, including the hotly contested Capture the Flag and Embedded Security Challenge, other highlights of the multi-day event included:
- A keynote by Martin Otto, the Head of the Cybersecurity Research Group at Siemens Technology, explored the practical challenges of providing cybersecurity services to utilities
- A presentation on IC Layout Security was given by Johann Knechtel of the Design for Excellence Lab at NYU Abu Dhabi
- Hammond Pearce, a postdoctoral Research Associate at the NYU Center for Cyber Security, presented his research with Center faculty Brendan Dolan-Gavitt, Ramesh Karri and Benjamin Tan, on GitHub’s AI-based CoPilot code generation system. (CoPilot, constituting a language model trained over open-source GitHub code, could be a vehicle for carrying exploitable bugs into computer software.)
- Dina Temple-Raston, senior correspondent at The Record and former NPR investigative reporter, was honored for garnering this year’s Cyber Journalism Award for her reporting on the SolarWinds hack.
CSAW Finals by the numbers
- 97 universities fielding teams
- 22 countries represented
- 123 finalist teams
- 323 individual competitors
- 18 exciting years of competition
To see complete lists of finalists and winners, visit the competition pages at www.csaw.io