N. Asokan

University of Waterloo


N. Asokan is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo (since 2019) where he holds a David R. Cheriton Chair. He is also an adjunct professor at Aalto University.

He was a Professor of Computer Science at Aalto University from 2013 to 2019 and at the University of Helsinki from 2012 to 2017. 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 Center, most recently as Distinguished Researcher.

Asokan’s primary research theme is systems security broadly, including topics like the development and use of novel platform security features, applying cryptographic techniques to design secure protocols for distributed systems, applying machine learning techniques to security/privacy problems, and understanding/addressing the security and privacy of machine learning applications themselves.

Asokan received his doctorate in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, MS in Computer and Information Science from Syracuse University, and BTech (Hons.) in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur. He is an ACM Fellow and an IEEE Fellow. He directs the Helsinki-Aalto Center for Information Security (https://haic.fi)

For more information about Asokan’s work see his website at https://asokan.org/asokan/ or follow him on twitter @nasokan.

Keynote Title

Hardware-assisted Trusted Execution Environments — Look Back, Look Ahead


Over the last two decades, hardware-based isolated execution environments, commonly known as “trusted execution environments” or TEEs, have become widely deployed. However, concerns about vulnerabilities, and potential for abuse have been persistent and have recently become increasingly pronounced. In this talk, I will discuss the history of (mobile) TEEs, what motivated their design and large-scale deployment, and how they have evolved during the last two decades. I will then discuss some of their shortcomings and potential approaches for overcoming them. I will also briefly touch on other types of hardware security primitives that are being rolled out by processor manufacturers and the opportunities they offer for securing computing.