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Strengthening the Internet 29 April 2024

NDSS Symposium Showcases the Importance of Securing Your Connected Life

By Robin WiltonDirector, Internet Trust

It may be a cliché to say that the most interesting conversations you have at a conference are those between the sessions… but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s untrue.

At NDSS Symposium 2024, I talked to one of the venue’s security guards, and the conversation definitely didn’t go where I expected. She mentioned she had heard there was a presentation on the security of connected vehicles. I confirmed that there were several, including topics such as how to confuse a car’s visual sensors and how to defend against vehicle-to-vehicle malware.

Intrigued, I asked why that was of particular interest.

“I do a lot of personal security work, including secure chauffeuring,” she replied, “and if the safety of my client is at risk because someone can mess with the car remotely, I’m going to have to work out how to deal with that risk.”

For one thing, it reminded me that the digital world now has physical effects and can threaten our physical safety—and even our lives. But, it also highlighted the fact that you really don’t have to be a PhD candidate or computing geek for NDSS Symposium topics to be directly relevant to your daily life.

Admittedly, some of the symposium’s themes are as niche as you might expect. For example, in the NDSS context, “fuzzing” has nothing to do with guitars or furries, but a technique for testing software by feeding it invalid or unexpected input data. You might never encounter it yourself, but you should be glad someone’s doing it on your behalf!

Other symposium sessions deal with topics that will intrude on your life, if they haven’t already, including facial recognition, censorship, and my current preoccupation, client-side content scanning for law enforcement.

NDSS operates on the principle of open publication, so all the symposium’s proceedings and videos of the presentations are freely available. I encourage you to browse and be inspired by the work to keep your Internet and the systems and services you use more secure.

Why Should You Care About the NDSS Symposium?

If you’re a developer or an end user, the NDSS Symposium is your window to leading-edge security research into technology that, as I’ve noted above, is already part of your life or soon will be.

The reality of digital societies is that you don’t have to be an Internet user to be a connected citizen. Understanding the security of the digital realm should, for digital natives, be like understanding personal hygiene.

If you’re an employer, the NDSS Symposium is your window to an amazing pool of talented, hard-working subject-matter experts, some of whom are looking for the next step that will take them from academia to employment. Sponsor the symposium, and you can get your brand (and your staff!) in front of a truly exceptional community of specialists. We’re still improving and refining the sponsorship packages for NDSS 2025, but you can get an idea of what’s in store by reviewing the 2024 program and contact details.

And if you’re a researcher, NDSS is the platform for global publication and visibility of your research. It’s also an opportunity to meet, socialize, and exchange ideas with 600 like-minded individuals: come and be inspired!

Finally, why does the Internet Society care about the NDSS Symposium? Because our vision is for an Internet that is open, global, trustworthy, and secure. The research presented at NDSS Symposia secures the Internet of the future, which means it helps secure your future, too.

We hope to see you at NDSS Symposium 2025 as we move to our new, bigger venue in downtown San Diego. Whether it’s as an award-winner, an attendee, an author, a session chair, a sponsor, or one of the organizing committees, your participation helps NDSS grow and thrive, which is so important for the security and trustworthiness of an open, globally connected Internet.

Image © Robin Wilton CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 

Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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