Cybersecurity Lab Welcomes First Female Hacker-in-Residence
Security Researcher Joins OSIRIS Lab to Share Expertise
NYU Tandon’s Offensive Security, Incident Response and Internet Security Laboratory, well known as the OSIRIS Lab, recently welcomed a new hacker-in-residence: Sophia d’Antoine, a Senior Security Researcher at Trail of Bits. While d’Antoine may be a new face within the OSIRIS Lab, she has been central to NYU Tandon’s Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW) Capture the Flag (CTF) competition, having participated for three years while a student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and even serving as a judge and developing three challenges for the competition.
Now, as a hacker-in-residence at the student-run cybersecurity research lab, d’Antoine will be imparting her own expertise to the student members hoping to learn practical approaches to combating hackers who exploit real systems. D’Antoine will also be OSIRIS lab’s first woman hacker-in-residence, a distinctive laurel that she hopes will inspire more women to be part of and excel within the tech and cybersecurity industries.
“I learned of OSIRIS through CSAW CTF — a cornerstone event for the global hacking community,” d’Antoine shared. “But, my decision to join as a hacker-in-residence was made once I saw all of the great work that the Lab is doing and a chance to help out with all of the interesting research projects and smart students working on them, as well as an opportunity to mentor students emerging in the security world.”
At Trail of Bits, an information security company that provides expertise to industry leaders, d’Antoine has been working on a variety of projects, including developing tools to discover vulnerabilities automatically. She also speaks at conferences and events around the world on emerging research and is part of the USENIX WOOT committee. “At Trail of Bits, we attempt to solve interesting, hard problems in the world of security with novel solutions and tooling, ideally advancing the state of the art,” she explained. Trail of Bits was co-founded in 2012 by Dan Guido ’08, a former adjunct faculty member in the cybersecurity program and hacker-in-residence at NYU Tandon.
D’Antoine understands the importance of having an exploratory research space for students in addition to their academic programs. At RPI, she was part of the university’s computer security lab, where she competed in various challenges and hack-a-thons and also helped develop and teach the Modern Binary Exploitation course at RPI, which aimed to introduce students to offensive security through reverse engineering, vulnerability research, and exploit development.
“It is super helpful to have clubs like OSIRIS, and NYU is lucky to have such a large, successful club. Without clubs like these, I would never have gotten into security at all!” d’Antoine shared. “The CTF community helped me get into security and see the value in using novel research, and tool development early on. OSIRIS provides similar introductions to security topics which students would otherwise not be exposed to. The community which these clubs provide also helps new students gain the confidence and the knowledge to stick with it, even when the challenges get harder.”
In her new role at OSIRIS, d’Antoine hopes to work alongside students towards building their expertise in tool development, intermediate languages, symbolic execution, and other research areas that will help them launch their own cybersecurity careers. OSIRIS currently offers a myriad of programs for students, from their weekly Cybersecurity Club to the Hack Night workshops on topics like binary exploitation or hacking hardware.
"I'm really excited to have Sophia working with us in the OSIRIS lab. She is truly a world-class researcher and expert in cybersecurity, and our students will learn a lot from her mentorship,” shared Brendan Dolan-Gavitt, assistant professor of computer science and engineering and the faculty adviser to the OSIRIS Lab.
Graduate School of Arts and Science
Master of Arts in English Literature, Class of 2018