Plymouth student wins European computer security award

A Plymouth University student has beaten competition from across Europe to win a major prize at a continental computing conference.

Dusan Repel won the Best Paper accolade at the European round of Kaspersky Lab’s annual Cybersecurity for the Next Generation conference, which was held in Aachen, Germany.

His paper, titled Obfuscation and Formal Grammars Revisited, discusses the use of formal grammars in obfuscators and polymorphic engines, outlining weaknesses and proposing solutions.

He won the €1,000 first prize, but also qualified to present his paper at the company’s worldwide conference, taking place in London in June.

Dusan, a final year Computer Science student, said: “To have my work acknowledged in this way is a great honour. In the end, all the participants helped achieve the objective of the conference – to generate novel scientific ideas that can provide a more secure tomorrow. It was a great opportunity to network with experts in the field of cyber security and it is always interesting to discuss the changing landscape of cyberspace and to propose new solutions to emerging threats.”

Dusan, who is supervised by Dr Ingo Stengel, from the Centre for Security, Communications and Network Research (CSCAN) at Plymouth University, was competing against nine finalists from France, Germany, Romania, Sweden, and the UK.

The event is open to undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD students from all over the world, and at the London event, his paper will go up against the winners from the four other regional rounds.

Professor Steve Furnell, head of the CSCAN, said: “Dusan's achievement is a real credit to his hard work, and illustrates the calibre of our computing students and the quality and impact of our research. We are constantly looking to push the boundaries of computer security and be ahead of the game, and this award further demonstrates our international profile in the computer security field.”

Kaspersky Lab is a global computer security company and its founder, Eugene Kaspersky, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Plymouth University in 2012.

He will be giving a prestige lecture at the University on Monday 22 April, titled Challenges in the IT Security Industry in the Age of Cyber Warfare. Members of the public are welcome to attend, but places are limited, and the free talk will take place in the Jill Craigie Cinema from 3.30-4.30pm. For more information, visit