CSI Students attend CERIAS Conference


From April 17th-19th, Purdue University's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) held their annual conference.  In attendance were several IU students and staff, including informatics Ph.D. students Swaminathan Ramesh and Syed Hafiz along with CSI's Project Manager Joshua Streiff.  The conference's goal was to bring together "researchers, practitioners and program managers from academia, government and commercial industry as we examine emerging research in ‘cyber’ assurance, security, resiliency, and privacy" through two days of keynotes, technical talks and panel discussions.

The conference included a wide variety of speakers including Brig. Gen. Greg Touhill (USAF Ret.), David Meltzer (CTO Tripwire), Lynn Terwoerds (Executive Director, Executive Women's Forum), and Ron Ross (NIST).  Subjects ranged from Touhill's talk on "Making the Business Case for Cybersecurity", Terwoerds' report on Women in Cyber Security, to Ross's closing keynote "Pushing Computers to the Edge: Next Gen. Security and Privacy Controls for Systems and IoT Devices."

In attendance was a large swath of the computer security community including industry, academia, and government stakeholders.  These individuals spent two days discussing security in talks and at lunch tables where CTO's shared with and listened to students while managers did the same with professors and researchers.  An opportunity for learning and making research connections, IU Ph.D. student Swaminathan Ramesh found the experience very valuable to his work and learning:

"The CERIAS conference was a wonderful amalgamation of industry and academia, where everyone recognized the importance of information security in its many forms.  There was a healthy dose of industry insights into how the information security process works and many speakers emphasized how vital the issue of security was, regardless of business model.  The panel discussions introduced many upcoming areas which would influence cybersecurity in the near future. 

Presentations ran throughout both days, but those presentations were not limited to industry and professors.  Student work was included and showcased both during the speaking sessions and in a poster session held at the end of the first day.  As Swaminathan noted, "The poster sessions held on the evening of the first day of the conference had many interesting student projects on topics ranging from software security to public key cryptography.”  This focus on student collaboration, making connections in both academia and outside of it, was an integral part of the CERIAS experience. As Joshua Streiff reflected,

CERIAS's dedication to the subject matter of security matched it's dedication to the principle of getting students prepared for their future, our future, as well as to our communal place in collaborative security work.  CERIAS was not a place for showboating, it was a place for the serious work of preparing ourselves for a more secure future even in a world of ever emerging threats.

The conference was not just meetings and posters.  There was time spent with fun discussions, good food, and even an original Enigma cryptography machine on loan from the NSA as a reminder of the early days of information security.  In all the conference was a valuable expenditure of time and energy as Ph.D. student Syed Hafiz noted,

I got contemporary idea regarding current cyber security atmosphere from the keynote speeches as well as the discussion sessions on varying and diversified topics.  Some topics of the presented posters were pretty interesting, e.g. Public key authentication using Dessins d'Enfants, HexVasan: A variadic function sanitizer, Protecting data with forensics Just In Time, etc.  I am looking forward to see the manuscripts once get published.

Swaminathan Ramesh concurred thanking IU for supporting him with the trip and looking forward to going again next year,

The trip was extremely useful from both a research stand point and as a networking opportunity for students in security and I thank Mr. Joshua Streiff for organizing this trip, and Prof. Ryan Henry and the Department of Computer Science at IU for providing me with this wonderful opportunity."