4 May 2017 – Dr. Prateek Saxena was presented with the Young Researcher Award at the University Awards 2017 in recognition of his work in the field of cybersecurity.

Held at the University Cultural Centre last Friday evening, the ceremony honoured members of the NUS community who have set new benchmarks in the areas of education, research and service in the past year.

Dr. Saxena’s field of expertise is in computer security and its intersection with formal methods and programming languages, and his current research areas include cryptocurrencies, trusted computing, binary analysis, and web security. One of his highly cited research projects is on “data-oriented attacks”, a term he and his students coined to refer to cyberattacks that circumvent state-of-the-art defences deployed in computer systems today. Dr. Saxena’s work on data-oriented attacks has fundamentally challenged the previously held assumption that most cyberattacks will be thwarted if advanced defences are mounted.

Describing his cybersecurity research, Dr. Saxena said, “We break things. Then, we show how to build them better and then repeat until it becomes sufficiently hard to break things.” He added that having the courage to ask questions that will have an impact on the field, and an insatiable curiosity, are two qualities that a good researcher should possess.