ASIA ’08 – Annual Symposium on Information Assurance

We have been running the Annual Symposium on Information Assurance in conjunction with the NYS Cyber Security Conference for the last three years which is co-sponsored by the NYS Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination, the NYS Forum and the University at Albany, State University of New York.


This symposium attempts to bridge the gap between researchers and practitioners with the symposium catering to the research and the conference catering to practice. This is the first year we used the acronym ASIA – thanks to Bolek Szymanski from RPI for suggesting it.



We had two excellent keynote speakers for this year’s symposium: Billy Rios from Microsoft and John Crain from ICANN. Billy is a bright researcher and an excellent speaker and yet one of the most modest people I have met. I saw him first at a BlackHat conference in Washington and was very impressed with him. He mesmerized his audience for a full hour in a packed conference room talking about phishing and telling stories about his marine corps past!




John talked about how the Domain Name System works on the Internet and how secure it is. I first met John at a conference in Germany organized by the Russians where we both were in the Russian cross hairs as western imperialists. John’s talk was very revealing which the audience thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks to both John and Billy for excellent talks.


We had a plenary talk for the Symposium and the Conference combined that featured RFID hacking using tools developed by Adam Laurie from UK. This was the featured event of the entire event with about 500 people packed into the Sawyer Theatre. The hacking demonstration was a skit based on the theme of Matrix where Neo (Sanjay Pon), Trinity (Damira Pon), Morpheus (Kwaku Essel), and the women in Red (Rachel Niebour) worked together to demonstrate social engineering and RFID hacks on credit cards and building entry cards. The demonstration also included a memory attack to break into a password protected machine.

A highlight of the symposium was the dinner at my home featuring vegetarian Indian cuisine catered by Karavalli. We all had a great time! Next year we will do this again. The call for papers will be out later in the year, but you can look at some information as well as proceedings and pictures from previous years’ symposia at


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