Samsung Security Tech Forum (SSTF) 2019 Successfully Wraps Up

The 3rd Samsung Security Tech Forum (hereafter referred to as SSTF) ended with an unprecedented success.

Held in Samsung’s Seoul R&D Campus on August 20th, SSTF 2019 once again demonstrated its prowess as the foremost security technology conference in Korea with the participation of leading security experts from both the academia and the industry. This year’s SSTF was also notable in that it included the largest spread of programs for participants to date, including keynote speeches, panel discussion, Open Tech Talk, Open CTF, and poster session.

Starting with a presentation on Samsung Research’s areas of focus delivered by Seungbeom Choi, Senior Vice President of Samsung Research R&D Strategy Team, the SSTF Workshop featured keynote speeches and panel discussion involving renowned academics and former top hackers of the world sharing the latest developments in the field of information security research. Indeed, the SSTF Workshop proved to be the most popular event in SSTF 2019, with the number of pre-registered participants alone reaching nearly 1,400.

Daniel Ahn, Senior Vice President of Samsung Research Security Team, emphasized the need for security in his keynote speech with the words “with the development of the AI technology and the commercialization of the 5G technology, we now face an age where devices and services have become more interconnected than ever before. This progress in technology also means that we are facing a greater threat to security.” SVP Ahn also repeatedly emphasized the need for new technologies to match up to the new environment and a stronger protection of personal data as he shared the advanced researches and systems currently being developed by Samsung Research in that regard.

Professor Taesoo Kim of Georgia Institute of Technology, a global expert in system security and the Director of the Georgia Tech System Software and Security Center (GTS3), addressed the second keynote session titled ‘Building Trustworthy Software Foundation with Hardware Security Mechanisms’. In his address, Professor Kim drew attention to the increasing competition toward new methods of hardware security and introduced the research projects related to community-based potential problem solving and hardware security mechanism solutions.

The third keynote speech was delivered by Professor Ruoyu (Fish) Wang of Arizona State University, a well-known hacker and a supervising member of DEFCON CTF, the world’s premier international hacking competition. Professor Wang’s lecture, titled ‘On the Difficulty of Automated Vulnerability Discovery on Binary Programs’, focused on the increasing dependence on interconnected system security in the Information Age. It went into great details on the importance of finding vulnerabilities and the difficulties faced by automated systems, and ended with Professor Wang’s recommendations toward future research.

Last, but not the least, was the final keynote lecture delivered by CEO Brian Pak, the founder of the American security technology startup Theori and a member of the team PPP, the most decorated team in the history of DEFCON CTF. As the leader of a cybersecurity R&D firm and an active consultant and participant in R&D efforts with leading firms around the world, CEO Pak shared his efforts to strengthen the security services and the veritable treasure trove of insights he had attained along the way. Indeed, CEO Pak’s presentation, rich in illuminating case studies and introducing his guidelines and recommendations toward general enhancement of security across the industry, was met with tremendous acclaim from the members of the industry in the audience.

After the four keynote sessions, this year’s new session, titled ‘Researches and Activities for Offensive Security in Samsung Research’ drew a positive response as researchers in Samsung Research shared their latest research activities and insights with the members of the general public. The momentum was carried forward to the panel discussion, which involved SVP Daniel Ahn, Professor Yongdae Kim of KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology), Professor Seungjoo Kim of Korea University, Director Kiwook Sohn of the National Security Research Institute, and Director Seung-Hun Jin of the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute of Korea in a lively discussion on the field of security technology.

This year’s SSTF also included a host of other events that drew great acclaim from the participants: in particular, SSTF 2019 featured a concerted effort by Samsung Electronics to invite students and other future leaders of the industry in shaping the core contents of the Forum.

Open Tech Talk, the newest addition to the SSTF this year, involved 8 undergraduate and graduate students taking to the stages in presenting their personal researches on the field of security. Interesting topics ranging from ‘Car is Only Yours: Automobile theft detection leveraging machine learning algorithms,’ ‘Application-level virtualization based effective Android App reverse engineering prevention method,’ and ‘Deep learning based face recognition model attack in a limited Q&A environment through replacement model relearning’ were introduced on stage with the added benefit of demonstrating the remarkable proficiency of the participants. All presenters were awarded with certificates issued by Samsung Electronics, with presenters Hyunwoo Lee and Kyung Ho Park being selected for the Best Research Award and Best Presentation Award respectively.

Open CTF, another new addition to this year’s SSTF, also proved to be a resounding success with the number of participants reaching beyond expectation to 430. Featuring five areas of offense, defense, coding, reverse engineering, and cryptology, the event allowed anyone with interest toward hacking from beginners to experts to take part in the event with no limitations. Armed with only a laptop and a deep passion for the event, participants successfully created a festive space open to anyone.

The final event to note was the array of posters displayed throughout the event venue, covering the latest security technologies applied to Samsung Electronics products. These posters, ranging from △System & Network Security to △Privacy Protection, △Security Governance, and △Threat Analytics, also featured presentations delivered by members of Samsung Electronics on the spot.

“We had started the SSTF to create a space where people could come together to share the latest security technologies, and now we have seen the SSTF grow to a truly global forum, followed by security experts and academics across the world,” said Seunghwan Cho, Executive Vice President of Samsung Research. “This year’s SSTF also demonstrated that there is a real, bright future for the field of Korean security technology, judging by the active participation and enthusiasm that many participants showed here.” Going forward, EVP Cho spoke of the company’s dedication to the SSTF with the words “we at SSTF will do our best to expand the basis for security technology as the leading company of global security technology.”