Christmas Greetings and a Review of the Year

At the end of a successful year, we're heading off for the Christmas break.

CASA Christmas Card

Copyright: CASA, Robrahn

The Christmas season starts soon. The HGI and CASA Head Office Team wishes a Merry Christmas to you and your family. May your life be filled with warmth and good cheer this holiday season and throughout the New Year.

Political and social events turned 2022 into a special year in many ways. When it comes to cyber security research, the HGI and CASA can also look back on several eventful months. Read our review of the year here:

NIST Competition, ERC Grants and other Awards

It was probably one of the greatest successes in the history of IT security research in Bochum that we celebrated in July when the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced the winners of the "Post-Quantum Cryptography Standardization" competition: CASA scientists Eike Kiltz, Peter Schwabe, Tanja Lange, and Dan Bernstein were involved in three of the four final algorithms.

News from the European Research Council provided more reasons to celebrate. In April, Eike Kiltz received an ERC Advanced Grant endowed with 2.5 million euros for five years. Konrad Rieck and Thorsten Holz received a Consolidator Grant, and Lucas Davi and Michael Walter were awarded an ERC Starting Grant.

Speaking of winners: this year's German IT Security Award was held at the Ruhr-Universität in November. The first prize went to the scientists David Knichel, Amir Moradi, Nicolai Müller, and Pascal Sasdrich for their project "Simply secure: A toolbox for automated creation of protected hardware". They won 100,000 euros in prize money.

Numerous papers from our research team also received awards: Konrad Rieck, Erwin Quiring and Alexander Warnecke (Et al.) received a Distinguished Paper Award for the paper "Dos and Don'ts of Machine Learning in Computer Security" at the "Usenix Security Symposium". At the same conference, Tobias Scharnowski, Nils Bars, Moritz Schloegel, Thorsten Holz, and Ali Abbasi (Et al.) won a Distinguished Artifact Award for their paper "Fuzzware: Using Precise MMIO Modeling for Effective Firmware Fuzzing". CASA PI Alena Naiakshina was awarded a Distinguished Paper Award at the "SOUPS - Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security" for her contributes to the paper "Let's Hash: Helping Developers with Password Security". The paper "Faster Addition and Doubling on Elliptic Curves" by CASA PIs Daniel J. Bernstein and Tanja Lange got the IACR Test-of-Time Award.

New Research Projects and Colleagues

A new research project launched in 2022 is "Digital Fitness for Citizens - Realistic Risk Perception, Safe Routines," or DigiFit for short, coordinated by Prof. Dr. Angela Sasse. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research for three years with around 2 million euros.

Great news reached postdoc Pascal Sasdrich right before Christmas: The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) funds him for an Emmy Noether group, which will start next year.

The Cyber Security Research Team in Bochum is constantly growing, in 2022 we welcomed some new colleagues. Michael Walter holds the professorship for quantum information, Amir Moradi came back from Cologne to Bochum as a professor for implementation security. By December, Karola Marky joined us as a professor for "Digital Sovereignty". The news that Thorsten Holz joins the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security as tenured faculty is a great pity, but we look forward to the future collegial collaboration.

Events and Outreach

After the long Corona break, we especially enjoyed the events this year that could take place face-to-face again. A detailed report on the CASA Summer School on Blockchain Security and the CASA Retreat in Königswinter can be found on our news pages.

Some of our CASA Distinguished Lectures also took place on-site at Ruhr University again. The lectures of the high-ranking speakers can all be watched on our Youtube channel.

A special evening was the closing event of the artist residency of the media artist Marco Barotti, who presented his concept APES. His sound sculptures made of recycled Wi-Fi sector antennas were created in collaboration with our researchers in 2022. Many have also a lot of positive memories when it comes to the visit of the Minister of Culture and Science, Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, as part of her research trip "#Möglichmacher".

The first CASA comic entitled "What's the Fuzz About Hub C and the Missing Carrots?" also offers another, artistic approach to learning more about the science at CASA. Those who prefer to listen rather than read may have enjoyed our 2022 podcast series, "Nachgehackt - the Podcast on IT Security."

Last but not least, at the end of the year, we’re happily looking back on our series "Women in IT Security", in which we presented exciting female scientists from our institute month by month.

Preview for the coming year

With all these memorable moments in mind, we’re now leaving our office for a winter break until 09.01.2023.

New, joyful events will be coming up in 2023. On this occasion, we can already announce a few dates. On February 10, the Graduate School SecHuman invites you to the annual symposium. A farewell party for Thorsten Holz is dated for March 9. On April 20, we will host the opening of the IT art project "DIS/PLAY" by artist Ralf Baecker. The HGI will celebrate its 20th birthday on May 10, which we will invite shortly. Further dates will be announced in January.

General note: In case of using gender-assigning attributes we include all those who consider themselves in this gender regardless of their own biological sex.