New Executive Director for Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute

Friday, June 25, 2021

New Executive Director for Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute

Dr. N. Asokan.

Professor N. Asokan has been named Executive Director of the Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute for a term that began on May 1, 2021.

In 2019 Professor Asokan joined the University of Waterloo as a Professor of Computer Science and is a David R. Cheriton Chair. Between 1995 and 2012, he worked in industrial research laboratories designing and building secure systems, first at the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory as a Research Staff member and then at Nokia Research Centre, most recently as a Distinguished Researcher. Professor Asokan was the founding director of the Helsinki-Aalto Centre for Information Security.

His primary research theme is systems security with a two-pronged approach. The first is on the development and use of novel platform security features, for example, exploring how hardware security mechanisms can be used to protect software more effectively. The second is on the interplay between machine learning techniques to provide better protection, as well as understanding and addressing the security/privacy problems faced by systems based on machine learning. Asokan is a Fellow of ACM and IEEE.

“Asokan’s primary focus initially will be to build a stronger CPI community,” wrote Charmaine Dean, vice-president, research and international, in a memo circulated to the CPI and the University’s Executive Council. “He is leading a number of new initiatives such as launching a public outreach talk series, making CPI compute servers available to CPI researchers, developing a research support program where a CPI specialist can help CPI researchers with short-term research needs like software development. Asokan plans to hold a series of meetings with CPI members across the university to solicit their feedback and ideas. CPI is continuing its leadership in NCC, and other established CPI activities like the seed grant and excellence scholarship, and the Cybersecurity Month events in October.”

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Florian Kerschbaum for his excellent work as the outgoing Executive Director of CPI,” writes Dean. “Dr. Kerschbaum co-established the National Cybersecurity Consortium (NCC) among the five leading Canadian universities in cybersecurity and privacy which is currently preparing a Pan-Canadian $160M grant application to the Ministry of Industry, Science and Economic Development spanning more than 140 researchers and 30 universities. The Canadian National Cybersecurity Consortium and its privacy network aims to bring all these stakeholders in Canada together to build an improved innovation pipeline from invention to products and services. We look forward to celebrating Professor Kerschbaum’s service in the coming months.”

Professor Asokan’s term as executive director runs to April 30, 2026.

“Please join me in congratulating Dr. N. Asokan on his new role,” Dean’s memo concludes.