ACSAC ’18 in Puerto Rico

Hey there! At the beginning of this month, three members of the NISEC group (Nicola, Sohaib and I) traveled to Puerto Rico to escape kaamos present our paper “Side-Channel Analysis of SM2: A Late-Stage Featurization Case Study”.
In our paper we present a Side-Channel Analysis of SM2, a public key cryptography suite originating from Chinese standards, in three different fronts: timing, cache-timing and electromagnetic (EM). To our surprise, the paper was very well received! It was a runner up for best paper award.

Runner up for Best Paper Award!


The conference took place in Puerto Rico, a U.S.A. territory in the Caribbean, which was devastated last year by Hurricane Maria but for our surprise runs smoothly, although many parts are still under construction.

The conference runs three tracks in parallel, with two tracks assigned to present papers and one track for panel discussions on relevant “hot” topics for information security such as block chain and machine learning. An interesting fact is that in the conference there is a strong presence of U.S.A. universities and intelligence departments such as the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and Air Force.

We had the opportunity to visit Old San Juan, the second oldest city in America founded by colonist. A beautiful old town surrounded by a fort that offers incredible views to the sea.

Knock knock!

Old door to enter San Juan.

Finally, for the social activity after the conference we visited the radio telescope in the Arecibo Observatory. A massive dish with special panels and a dome telescope used to transmit and receive radio signals, calculate distances and rotations, reconstruct the shape of objects in space, and as scenery for movies like James Bond Golden Eye!

Golden Eye anyone?

Arecibo Radio Telescope

It was a wonderful experience for a conference and definitively recommended if you are in the field of information security. Next year the conference is again in Puerto Rico, so stay put for the CFP.

– Nicola, Sohaib and Cesar

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