Vanderbilt Team Wins Best Paper Award at HoTSoS 2019

The winning paper at the 6th Annual Hot Topics in the Science of Security Symposium (held April 1-3 in Nashville, TN) was entitled "Integrated Data Space Randomization and Control Reconfiguration for Securing Cyber-Physical Systems" by Bradley Potteiger, Zhenkai Zhang and Xenofon Koutsoukos of Vanderbilt University. The paper focuses on utilizing a moving target defense approach called Data Space Randomization to defend against non-control data attacks by proactively randomizing program variables with varying keys to create a unique runtime environment, consequently leaving any adversary reconaissance knowledge obsolete.

Potteiger is a 5th year PhD student at Vanderbilt focusing his research efforts on utilizing moving target defense approaches to defend critical infrastructure against advanced cyber-attacks from our country's most sophisticated adversaries. Additionally, he focuses on maintaining safety and reliability in emerging CPS applications such as autonomous vehicles, aerospace, and medical devices. Asked about receiving the award, Brad mentioned "The NSA is a one of a kind institution focusing on protecting our country against the most critical threats in the emerging and hostile world of cyber warfare. I am truly fortunate to have had the support from the Science of Security program over the last couple of years, and am humbled by the recognition given to both my co-authors and me." All of the researchers agree that the landscape of cybersecurity is changing, creating the need to move from a reactive patching approach to a more dynamic proactive approach, including deception, adaptation, and moving targets for making general attack campaigns ineffective.

The Hot Topics in Science of Security (HoTSoS) Best Paper Award recognizes the paper that exhibits outstanding achievement in science. Papers are selected by the HoTSoS Program Committee. The winning paper is automatically nominated into the Annual Best Scientific Paper Competition, reflecting the NSAs view as being one of the most impactful, and promising research papers in the country.


The Best Paper Award trophy was presented to Bradley Potteiger of Vanderbilt by Dr. Adam Tagert, NSA Science of Security Technical Director