For many years, Kaspersky Lab has organized the Kaspersky Academy education project. A big part of that focuses on the annual student conference CyberSecurity for the Next Generation devoted to IT security issues. Its participants are students from technical universities and colleges in many countries if the world, as well as young specialists who are professionally active in various branches of the IT industry.
The conference traditionally takes place in five stages: four regional rounds and the global final. This year the Russia / CIS round was staged in Moscow, right in Kaspersky Lab’s HQ. That was the venue where college students and future IT security experts from Russia, Ukraine and Armenia made their presentations.
All in all, 15 people from eight colleges and universities made it to the final Russia / CIS round. Each of these students presented their project, hoping to win universal recognition and a place in the final, as well as a monetary prize. During two days of the conference, the participants made 15 highly interesting presentations to be appraised by the jury. Each presentation was made in English, which was a prerequisite for taking part in the conference. Naturally, this requirement created some difficulties for many presenters, as alongside the presentation they also had to speak English to answer the questions from a program committee made up of several Kaspersky Lab experts and college lecturers.
Looking at the contents of the presentations, we can confidently say that today’s students definitely have an abundance of interesting ideas, so we need not worry about the security and comfort of the digital environment around us. Their presentations covered a wide variety of topics: from systems to combat DDoS attacks to secure cloud-based calculations; from devices improving the reliability of two-factor authentication, to technologies for concealing secret data in PDF files. Members of the jury admitted it was hard to pick out three winners. After a long discussion, the program committee announced the three best projects in their opinion:
First place: Artyom Shumilov from Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Russia, for the presentation “Using 3D Animated Hand Gestures to Create a New Type of CAPTCHA”. Artyom’s work can indeed be named one of the most interesting in the competition for his surprisingly new vision of how CAPTCHA – the familiar spam protection tool on many web sites – could work. In short, the project proposed using 3D images of human gestures instead of the distorted symbols and words that are regularly used now. If put into practice effectively this could substantially improve the level of website protection against spam attacks. Current CAPTCHA techniques often fail to provide adequate protection from such attacks.
Second place. Sevak Harutyunyan from the State Engineering University of Armenia, for the project “Secret Sharing System Based on Error-Correcting Codes”. Sevak presented his research into a secret data communication system based on so-called error correction codes.
Third place: Sergey Shpak from the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI, Russia, for the presentation “Sharing Private Encrypted Information in Online Social Networks”.
Surprisingly, social networks only featured in one of the projects presented at the conference. In his research, Sergey turned his attention to the fact that many users of social networks neglect their privacy, and proposed several methods to protect messaging systems within the services.
All three winners received cash prizes and trips to the final round of the conference in Stockholm this summer.
Apart from the three main prizewinners the jury also picked out three other participants and gave them “Best presentation” prizes. These special diplomas were given to Artur Ziarmand from Kharkov National Radioelectronics University, Ukraine, for his project “iCloud Traffic Control”, Shushanik Torosyan from Dubna University, for his project “A New Approach on Information Leak Prevention in Corporate Information Systems”, and the afore-mentioned Sergey Shpak. Sergey thus won two awards at once.
All in all, this was a successful event. Now we await the coming year, when the next Russia & CIS round of the conference CyberSecurity for the Next Generation will take place.