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For ESC 2018 click here

ESC 2017 final grades are announced here

ESC 2017 finalists are announced here

CSAW 2017 Embedded Security Challenge (ESC)

In Fall 2017, we mark the 10th anniversary of the Embedded Security Challenge and expand our global vision of the competition even further. This year's world-wide event will be held in four regions simultaneously: North America, Europe, Middle East & North Africa, and India, with the finals taking place on November 9-11, 2017. The venues for each region are as follows:

  • CSAW North America: NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Metrotech Center, Brooklyn, New York;
  • CSAW Europe: Grenoble Institute of Technology - ESISAR, Valence, France;
  • CSAW MENA: NYU Abu Dhabi, Center of Cyber Security, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE;
  • CSAW India: Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.

The competition is organized in all regions under the supervision of Professor Michail Maniatakos (NYU Abu Dhabi), and the US challenge leaders are Nektarios Tsoutsos and Tasos Keliris. In Europe, the competition is organized by Professor David Hely, with Boris Simunovic as the regional challenge leader. In the MENA region, the competition is coordinated by Professor Hoda A. Alkhzaimi, director of the NYUAD Center of Cyber-Security, with Mohammed Nabeel and Marios Sazos as the regional challenge leaders. In India, ESC is supervised by Professor Sandeep Shukla of IIT-Kanpur, with Rohit Negi as the regional challenge leader.

This year's ESC will focus on making legacy Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) more resilient to contemporary cyber-security threats, by designing and implementing novel fault detection and recovery techniques. The challenge will have two phases: a preliminary qualification phase, where teams compile a written report describing their detection and recovery strategy, and a final phase, where qualified teams are invited to the Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW) of their region to demonstrate live the implementation of their proposed methodology on a Raspberry Pi platform running OpenPLC. The technical requirements and details of each phase are elaborated in the challenge description.

It is recommended to 'watch' this repository on GitHub, as the challenge may be updated periodically.

Registration Policies

Each team should have a team leader and up to 3 additional team members (a total of 4 participants per team). Each team leader is responsible for coordinating with other members of their team and will be the point of contact for the entire team. Each team should also have a university faculty advisor. Except for unforeseen and exceptional situations, if a team has qualified for the final round of the competition and withdraws after October 9, 2017, the team members and their faculty advisor will not be able to qualify for the 2018 competition; the same policy applies to no-shows on the day of the finals.

The team leaders should register their teams and faculty advisor electronically at, using the team name and affiliation abbreviation as the 'Submission Title'. ESC uses a HotCRP-based registration and submission system for both the qualification and final rounds, and teams must register before finalizing their report and computer file submissions by the posted deadlines. In addition, CSAW requires all participating individuals (i.e., each team member separately) to complete a supplementary questionnaire available at

Students of all university levels are invited to compete. Each team is eligible to register for only one region based on university affiliation: North America, Europe, MENA or India. Registering for more than one region is not allowed, and such registrations will be cancelled automatically. In addition, after the registration closes, making changes to the existing members of a team (e.g., replacing a team member) or adding new team members, requires explicit permission from the organizers. This is also necessary for teams replacing team members or adding new team members during the final phase of the competition.

For ESC 2017, each region has different team sponsorship and prize policies, and the assignment of each team to the corresponding region depends on the country of the university affiliations of its members. Specifically, all members of the same team should be enrolled in universities within the same country for the duration of the competition, and these affiliations cannot be modified after the submission deadline. At CSAW Finals, each region will announce separate winners for the first, second and third place. Regions are defined as follows:

  • North America: includes universities in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Visit for information about the prizes and travel sponsorship within the US region. In 2017, two (2) students from each team qualified to the finals will receive a travel sponsorship to attend the finals in Brooklyn, New York during CSAW.
  • Europe: includes universities in the 28 counties of the European Union, as well as universities in Switzerland, Norway and Armenia. Visit for more information about the prizes and travel sponsorships within Europe.
  • MENA: includes universities in Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Georgia, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Please visit for more information about the prizes and travel sponsorship within the MENA region.
  • India: includes universities from India. Visit for information about the prizes in India.

To be able to qualify to the final round, each team must register for the correct region, corresponding to the country of the universities of its members.

Participation in CSAW Finals is contingent upon competitors' ability to enter the given country where CSAW is being hosted.

Competition Deadlines

To participate in the competition, each team needs to register with the HotCRP registration system by September 18, 2017 (Extended) September 25, 2017. In addition, each team member should also complete the supplementary CSAW 2017 questionnaire by this deadline. Registered teams should submit their qualification reports and developed computer files using the HotCRP system by September 18, 2017 (Extended) September 25, 2017. The teams that qualified to the final phase will be announced on this repository by October 3, 2017. The qualified teams should submit their final reports and associated computer files using the HotCRP system by November 3, 2017 5pm EDT (UTC-4) (Extended) November 6, 2017 5pm EST (UTC-5).

ESC Competition Sponsors

The Embedded Security Challenge is part of the Cyber Security Awareness Week (CSAW). CSAW is founded by the department of Computer Science and Engineering at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and it is the largest student-run cyber security event in the world, featuring international competitions, workshops, and industry events. This year's ESC competition is fully sponsored by the United States Office of Naval Research (ONR). The organizers would like to acknowledge ONR for their generous sponsorship.

ONR logo

Code of Conduct

All ESC participants in all regions are subject to the NYU Tandon School of Engineering student code of conduct. Any act of academic dishonesty (including but not limited to plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, unauthorized collaboration across different teams, work duplication, etc.) will not be tolerated and the offenders will be automatically disqualified from the competition.

Equipment Requirements

For the live finals of the competition in each region, the teams will be asked to demonstrate their PLC resilience methodology using the OpenPLC framework running on a Raspberry Pi platform running the Raspbian operating system. The required hardware will be provided to the finalists of all 4 regions by the organizers.


For the qualification phase, each participating team should upload to HotCRP a written report in PDF format, as well as a TAR.GZ archive with any developed computer files and instructions. For the final phase, each qualified team should upload a final version of their PDF report to HotCRP along with a TAR.GZ with all associated computer files and instructions for the preliminary and final phase. The qualifying reports can be up to 4 pages and the final reports can be up to 8 pages (inclusive of references and any appendices). In addition, all reports need to follow the standard IEEE conference format (10pt font, double column, letter size paper, not compsoc mode); templates are available here (LaTeX template is preferred). For the day of the live finals at CSAW, each team is asked to prepare a PowerPoint presentation (4:3 aspect ratio, up to 10 slides) and a poster (portrait, up to 36in x 48in) of their work.

All deliverables from the finalist teams of all regions will be shared with the United States Office of Naval Research (ONR), sponsoring this year's ESC competition, and can be used as part of future competitions.

Contact Information

Teams can contact their regional organizers at the following email address: csaw dot esc at nyu dot edu. To properly route each message and avoid delays in the response, each message must prepend the tag [NAmerica], [Europe], [MENA], or [India] in the subject line, depending on the region of the participating team. Messages without a valid region tag in the subject line will not reach the regional organizers.


CSAW 2017 Embedded Security Challenge







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