Visible to the public 10th Annual Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper CompetitionConflict Detection Enabled

10th Annual Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper Competition

Winning Paper | Honorable Mention | Review Team

The tenth NSA Competition for Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper recognizes the best scientific cybersecurity paper published in 2021. Papers were nominated between December 15, 2021 through April 15, 2022 and 28 nominations were received.

  W I N N I N G__P A P E R 

The winning paper selected is Verifying Hyperproperties with Temporal Logic of Actions (TLA) by Leslie Lamport and Fred B. Schneider, from Microsoft Research and Cornell University respectively, answers a key question: How can you ensure that a computer algorithm is correct? The paper was published at the 2021 IEEE Computer Security Foundations Symposium, the paper states that the myriad security tools available typically examine specific pieces of code rather than an algorithm itself. In lieu of this approach, Lamport and Schneider propose that in order to verify algorithm (and potentially system) accuracy, one could look at the theoretic and practical breakthroughs.

Leslie Lamport
Microsoft Research

Fred B. Schneider
Cornell University


  H O N O R A B L E   M E N T I O N  

Receiving honorable mention was the paper Defensive Technology Use by Political Activists during the Sudanese Revolution Alaa Daffalla, Lucy Simko, Tadayoshi Kohno, and Alexandru G. Bardas, of Cornell University, George Washington University, the University of Washington, and the University of Kansas respectively. This paper Their paper investigates the practices of 13 Sudanese activists and how technology can be used in times of political strife. The authors examine computer and privacy needs while operating under an oppressive regime. This paper was also presented at the 2021 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy.

Alaa Dafalla
Cornell University

Lucy Simko
George Washington University

Tadayoshi Kohno
University of Washington

Alexandru G. Bardas
University of Kansas


  R E V I E W__T E A M  

NSA Competition Leads:

Gilbert Herrera - NSA Director of Research
Dr. Adam Tagert - Science of Security, NSA Laboratory for Advanced Cybersecurity Research

The following individuals served as distinguished experts for the 10th annual competition:

DR. WHITFIELD DIFFIE, Cybersecurity Advisor
DR. ERIC GROSSE, Cybersecurity Advisor
PAUL KOCHER, Independent Researcher
CARRIE GATES, Bank of America

DR. SEAN PEISERT, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
LAWRENCE BERKELEY, National Laboratory
DR. ARUN VISHWANATH, Cybersecurity Advisor
MS. MARY ELLEN ZURKO, MIT Lincoln Laboratory


  A B O U T__T H E__C O M P E T I T I O N  

The Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper Competition is sponsored yearly by NSA's Research Directorate and reflects the Agency's desire to increase scientific rigor in the cybersecurity field. This competition was established to recognize current research that exemplifies the development of scientific rigor in cybersecurity research. SoS is a broad enterprise, involving both theoretical and empirical work across a diverse set of topics. While there can only be one best paper, no single paper can span the full breadth of SoS topics. Nevertheless, work in all facets of security science is both needed and encouraged.