CSAW'17 Challenge Leads, Mentors, & Guides

Applied Research


Zahra Ghodsi: Challenge Co-Lead, CSAW North America

Zahra is a second year Ph.D. candidate at New York University and a recipient of the Ernst Weber Fellowship from the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Zahra received her B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology in 2013 and M.S. degree in Computer Engineering from New York University in 2015.



Santiago Torres: Challenge Co-Lead, CSAW North America

Santiago is a second-year Ph.D. Student at NYU's Center for Cyber Security (CCS) under the guidance of Prof. Justin Cappos. His interests include binary analysis, cryptography, operating systems, and security-oriented software engineering. His current research focuses on securing the software development lifecycle, password storage mechanisms, and update systems. Santiago is a member of the Arch Linux security team and has contributed patches to F/OSS projects on various degrees of scale, including Git, the Linux Kernel, NeoMutt, and the Briar project.

kevin-gallagher.pngKevin Gallagher: MENTOR

Kevin Gallagher's fascination with cybersecurity began when, as an undergraduate, he began reading articles about cyber attacks, vulnerabilities and defense. The fact that his college didn’t offer a course on the subject hardly deterred him. Gallagher approached a professor, conducted research and drew up a curriculum for an independent study on “Introduction to Cybersecurity.” The curriculum was approved and Kevin has been hooked on cybersecurity ever since.

A native New Yorker, Kevin went to high school in Queens and earned his bachelor's degree in Computer Science from CUNY's Hunter College. While there, he developed data analytics software for CUNY's Central Office and conducted research at the CUNY Graduate Center on bibliometrics and social networks. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Computer Science at NYU Tandon School of Engineering and will earn his doctorate in 2019. His areas of interest focus on unconventional security areas, namely anonymity, privacy and censorship circumvention.

Kevin served as the Applied Research Competition Lead in 2016 and experienced firsthand how CSAW was bridging the gap between academia and the industry.


Siddharth Garg: Faculty Guide

Siddharth Garg received his Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2009, and a B.Tech. degree in Electrical Enginerring from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. He joined NYU in Fall 2014 as an Assistant Professor, and prior to that, was an Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo from 2010-2014. His general research interests are in computer engineering, and more particularly in secure, reliable and energy-efficient computing.

In 2016, Siddharth was listed in Popular Science Magazine's annual list of "Brilliant 10" researchers. Siddharth has received the NSF CAREER Award (2015), and paper awards at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy (S&P) 2016, USENIX Security Symposium 2013, at the Semiconductor Research Consortium TECHCON in 2010, and the International Symposium on Quality in Electronic Design (ISQED) in 2009. Siddharth also received the Angel G. Jordan Award from ECE department of Carnegie Mellon University for outstanding thesis contributions and service to the community. He serves on the technical program committee of several top conferences in the area of computer engineering and computer hardware, and has served as a reviewer for several IEEE and ACM journals.


Mohamed Asan Basiri M: Challenge Lead, CSAW India

I have completed my B.E. (Electronics and Communication Engineering) and M.E. (Embedded Systems) from Anna University, Tamilnadu in 2009 and 2011 respectively. I obtained a Ph.D. degree from Indian Institute of Information Technology Design and Manufacturing (IIITDM) Kancheepuram, India in July 2016. My Ph.D. work mainly focuses on VLSI architectures for various discrete transformations such as DWT, FFT, DHT, and integer DCT. Also, it includes the basic signal processing elements such as MAC, multi-precision multiplier, an efficient high fan-in multiplexer.

Currently, I work as a Post Doctoral Fellow in the department of Computer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, India, where my research deals with asynchronous crypto hardware implementations, Galois arithmetic, Bloom filter based payload matching, decision tree/TCAM based packet classification, backplane switch interconnects, and hardware-software co-designs using Artix-7 FPGA with Xilinx and Cadence ASIC design tool (Genus and Innovus). My research interest includes VLSI architectures for cryptography, signal processing, network packet processing elements, and reconfigurable designs.

Capture the Flag


Nick Gregory: Challenge Co-Lead, CSAW North America

Nick Gregory is a co-lead for the 2017 CSAW Capture the Flag (CTF) competition and is also the infrastructure lead for CSAW. In his free time, Nick is usually bug bounty hunting, bowling, or doing genealogical research.



Josh Hofing: Challenge Co-Lead, CSAW North America

Josh makes things. While making things, he usually breaks things. Sometimes, the things he makes break the things for him.



Brendon Dolan-Gavitt is a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University in the IDS Lab. His interests lie in the area of systems security, in particular, developing automated techniques for ... Read more



Saurabh Kumar: Challenge Lead, CSAW India

I completed MCA from Uttarakhand Technical University, Dehradun in 2010 further, obtained my M. Tech (Information Technology) from Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee in 2012. During M. Tech I worked on Secure Routing for Mobile Ad-hoc Networks.

Presently, I am a Ph.D. student at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, wherein I am working in the domain of Android Security. Have also performed TA duties in the Computer System Security course at IIT Kanpur, where my work involved majorly preparing CTFs, Quiz and assignments in support of course curriculums. IIT Kanpur is also organizing an online course hosted at securitymooc.in where I am again involved as TA preparing CTFs and Quiz. This course duration is from 1st June, 2017 to 31st July, 2017 and deals with security related to system software, networks, mobile platform, supply chains etc.

Before joining Ph.D, I had a brief tenure at Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Govt. of India, as Assistant Programmer. Being in CBI, I dealt with the Computer Forensic, Mobile Forensic, System Analysis, Social Media Analysis, assisting IOs in investigation related to Digital Evidence and development of customized application related to Office Automation, etc.

Embedded Security Challenge

nektarios-tsoutsos.pngNektarios Tsoutsos: Challenge CO-Lead, CSAW North America

For two years, Nektarios Georgios Tsoutsos worked as an adviser in the computer security industry. He designed security policies and conducted gap analyses and security assessments to ensure regulatory compliance for financial institutions and telecommunication providers. Four years ago, he left the industry to return to academia. He is currently a fourth-year computer science doctoral candidate at NYU Tandon School of Engineering and a researcher at NYU Abu Dhabi. Tsoutsos brings his wealth of experience to this year’s CSAW as a student challenge leader in the same competition he won three years ago: the Embedded Security Challenge.

Today we store less of our data on physical devices and upload more to cloud services such as Amazon and Dropbox. With his advisor, Professor Michail Maniatakos at NYU Abu Dhabi, Tsoutsos filed a patent for a novel cloud computing framework called Homomorphically Encrypted One Instruction Computation Systems and Methods (HEROIC), his answer to the recent attacks on cloud services. HEROIC eliminates the need for cloud computing processors to decrypt data prior to processing it. By keeping data encrypted, HEROIC keeps programs and data more secure and eliminates the need for shared cryptographic keys.

Tsoutsos was born in Athens, Greece. His father is a professional violinist and a former concertmaster at the national opera and state orchestra. His mother is a political scientist. When he was six, Nektarios learned how to write computer programs and hasn’t stopped coding since. In addition to being a member of IEEE and MENSA, Nektarios is a recipient of the Deborah Rosenthal, MD Award, given annually by the NYU Tandon Department of Computer Science and Engineering to a single graduate student for outstanding performance on the Ph.D. qualifying examination.


Tasos Keliris: Challenge Co-Lead, CSAW North America

Tasos is a PhD candidate at the Tandon School of Engineering of New York University. He is working on embedded systems security, focusing on industrial control systems and critical infrastructure, or as he puts it "things that matter."


michail-maniatakos.pngMichail Maniatakos: Faculty Guide

Mihalis Maniatakos is an Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NYU Abu Dhabi. He does NOT enjoy long walks on the beach, due to the poor distance-covered to time ratio. His favorite means of transportation is teleportation.



Rohit Negi: Challenge Lead, CSAW India

An adaptable, organized and responsible graduate with 4+ years of experience specializing in industrial automation and operational technologies. My past experience, current work and interest are in the field of cyber security and cyber defense of protection and control system used in critical infrastructure. Core work is to finding security vulnerabilities in automated critical infrastructures, finding ways to circumvent the threats that will be associated with such vulnerabilities and its mitigation techniques.

High School Forensics

Momo Amin: Challenge Co-Lead, CSAW North America



Kent Ma is a co-lead for the 2017 CSAW High School Forensics (HSF) competition and is currently a second-year undergraduate student studying Computer Science at New York University. He was formerly the winner of the 2014 HSF Challenge as a member of the team PHS 1437. He spent this past summer working as an engineering intern at Capsule8.

nasir-memon.pngNasir Memon: Faculty Guide

Nasir Memon is a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering and the founder and director of the Offensive Security, Incident Response and Internet Security laboratory ...  read more

Law & Policy


Cassandra Deskus: Challenge Co-Lead

Cassandra (Cassie) Deskus is a JD ('18) student interested in criminal justice and technology law. She participated in NYU’s Technology Law and Policy Clinic. She was a student advocate for the Domestic Violence Advocacy Project, where she worked on the Uncontested Divorce Project. She spent her 1L at the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section and will spend her 2L summer at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation & Obscenity Section. She is a managing editor of the Journal of Legislation and Public Policy. Prior to law school, Cassie worked for three years as a software engineer and analyst. She has B.S. in Math from the University of Chicago and an M.S. from Northwestern University.


Joshua R. Fattal: Challenge Co-Lead

Joshua R. Fattal is a rising 3L student at NYU School of Law. He currently serves as Co-Chair of the IPELS Cyber Law Committee, and is also a student advocate for the International Refugee Assistance Project. He spent this past summer in the Cybersecurity Practice of the NYC office of Steptoe and Johnson LLP, where he worked on issues concerning data breaches and foreign laws on encryption technologies, and has served as a research assistant for Professor Samuel Rascoff at NYU Law, Matthew Waxman at Columbia Law, and Fareed Zakaria at CNN. He previously studied History at Columbia University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude.


Leonid Grinberg: Challenge Co-Lead

Leonid Grinberg is a 3L student interested in how rapid technological developments interact with legal and regulatory frameworks. He spent summer 2017 at the Enforcement Division of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and fall of 2016 at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Annual Survey of American Law and served on the board of the Supreme Court Forum. Last summer, he worked in the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division in the Department of Justice. Prior to attending law school, he worked as a software engineer at the New York Times. He graduated with an S.B. in Computer Science and Engineering from MIT.


Emily Poole: Challenge co-Lead

Emily Poole is a rising 3L student interested in cybersecurity law, its implications for our national security, and the role of our democratic institutions in overseeing developments in both of these areas. She is the President of the National Security Reading Group, a student organization that hosts monthly lunch discussions with experts in different areas of national security law. She is also on the board of the NYU Law and Government Society. In Summer 2016, she was a judicial intern at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and also conducted research on privacy law for an upcoming book by a NYU professor. In Summer 2017, she will be working on cybersecurity issues as a summer associate at Alston & Bird LLP in Washington, D.C. She graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Tufts University with a B.A. in International Relations and French.

kevin-kirby.pngKevin Kirby: Mentor

Kevin Kirby, the mentor for the 2017 NYU CSAW Policy Competition, is a 3L (JD 2017) student at NYU School of Law and recipient of the NYU Law School’s Center on Law and Security ASPIRE Scholarship. Before attending law school, Kirby spent five years as a combat engineer officer in the Army, followed by project management at Starbucks, where he developed requirements for a facilities management software upgrade. Since moving from Seattle to attend NYU, Kirby has done research into products liability and voter privacy issues for NYU Law professors and interned for the Honorable Judge Amit Mehta of the U.S. District Court in D.C.

Kirby worked previously at the Federal Trade Commission in the Bureau of Consumer Protection, which is involved in prosecuting companies with unfair or deceptive data security practices. His interest in the question of what constitutes reasonable security factored into this year’s prompt for the Policy Competition, which asks competitors for policy proposals that would ensure that the true costs of data insecurity are allocated appropriately. When Kirby isn’t researching how much money companies should spend on cybersecurity, you can find him playing chess in Washington Square Park.

zach-goldman.pngZachary Goldman: Faculty Guide

Zachary K. Goldman is the Executive Director of the Center on Law and Security and an Adjunct Professor of Law at NYU School of Law. Previously, Goldman served as a Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the U.S. Department of Defense, and as a policy advisor in the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, where he was the subject matter expert on terrorist financing in the Arabian Peninsula and Iran sanctions. In the private sector, he was a litigator at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York. Read more....

Security Quiz


Kyle Fox: Challenge Co-Lead

Kyle Fox is a current Senior at NYU Tandon, pursuing a degree in Computer Science. He has been a member of the OSIRIS lab at Tandon since Sophomore year, and has an interest in all things cyber security related.




Michael Vu is a current third year student at NYU majoring in Computer Science at Courant with a minor in Cybersecurity from Tandon. He spent the summer of 2017 working with New York City's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications' Cybersecurity Division within their Security Operations Center, where he worked on researching and implementing a machine learning aided Intrusion Detection Service in addition to serving as a technical advisor for the National High School Model United Nations. Currently he is researching additive manufacturing forensics as a research assistant for Professor Ramesh Karri.