Reversing and Offensive-oriented Trends Symposium 2021 (ROOTS)

Academic workshop co-located with DeepSec 2021 November 18/19, Vienna

Call for Papers

The Reversing and Offensive-oriented Trends Symposium, an academic workshop, is again co-located with the DeepSec conference in its fifth year. ROOTS solicits contributions that focus on theorems and root shells: In security, two things you absolutely cannot argue with.

Security is hard to define. Most often, security is defined by its absence. For scientists, this is particularly unsatisfactory. A lack of definition increases the difficulty to find suitable quantitive and qualitative models. Even though the overall landscape is blurry at best; exploitation, reverse engineering, and offensive techniques have their place. ROOTS aims to explore this territory.

The first European symposium of its kind, ROOTS aims to provide an industry-friendly academic platform to discuss trends in exploitation, reversing, offensive techniques, and effective protections. Submissions should provide novel attack forms, describe novel reversing techniques, or effective deployable defenses. Submissions can also provide a comprehensive overview of the state-of-the-art, and pinpoint promising areas that have not received appropriate attention in the past.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

- New exploitation techniques and methodologies
- New reverse engineering techniques and methodologies
- The science of (in)security
- The role of exploitation in the science of security
- The role of reverse engineering in the science of security
- Novel approaches to security scalability, in the actual world or in simulated environments (CTF)
- New unintended programming and execution models (“weird machines”)
wherein the program is encoded in data, metadata, descriptors, etc.
- Automated code analysis and semantic understanding
- Formal models of exploitation and formal methods for exploitation
- Systematization of knowledge in exploitation
- Systematization of knowledge in reverse engineering
- Exploitation of trending platforms and architectures: IoT, cloud, SDNs, etc.
- Reverse engineering of trending platforms and architectures: embedded systems, IoT, cloud, SDNs, etc.
- Exploitation perspectives on emerging trust models: SGX, enclaves, blockchains, etc.

To facilitate interaction with industry, the ROOTS ticket will be valid for all DeepSec conference tracks on both days, including the industry tracks, and tickets for the industry track will be valid for ROOTS.

PC & Publisher

Program Chairs: René Pfeiffer (DeepSec), Adrian Dabrowski (University of California, Irvine)
General chair: Edgar Weippl (Universität Wien, SBA Research)

Program & Review Commitee 2021
Patroklos Argyroudis (CENSUS S.A.)
Jean-Philippe Aumasson (Taurus)
Sergey Bratus (Dartmouth College)
Mariano Graziano (Cisco Talos)
Martina Lindorfer (University of Technology, Vienna)
Georg Merzdovnik (SBA Research)
Marius Muench (VU Amsterdam)
Sebastian Neuner (Google LLC)
Marcus Niemietz (Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences)
Konrad Rieck (TU Braunschweig)
Sebastian Schinzel (Münster University of Applied Sciences)
Juraj Somorovsky (Paderborn University)
Alexios Voulimeneas (KU Leuven)
Stefano Zanero (Politecnico di Milano)


2017-2020 proceedings have been published in ACM's Digital Library. Application for inclusion of 2021 in ACM DL via the International Conference Proceedings Series (ICPS) is pending. See for details about the author's rights.

Submission instructions

Submissions to ROOTS are not limited in page count, but their length should be commensurate with the results. We expect that 5--10 pages of two-column PDF using the sigconf template should be sufficient. We encourage submissions of papers based on results previously presented at industry or hacker conferences, so long as the papers themselves have not been presented or published elsewhere. We also encourage Systematization of Knowledge (SoK) submissions.

Papers should be submitted through

Submissions should be anonymous and direct references to the author should be blinded or written as a 3rd person reference, where possible. Additionally, submissions should not contain endorsements of specific products or vendors.

Important dates (tentative)

Submission deadline: August 20 (anywhere in the world)
Author notification: October 1
Camera-ready papers due: October 22
Workshop and DeepSec: November 18/19

Travel cost reimbursement

Authors will be expected to present their papers at ROOTS. ROOTS will follow the industry conference practice of reimbursing presenters for lodgings at the conference hotel (limited to two nights) and up to EUR 800 of other travel expenses.


These are unpredictable times with a lot of uncertainty regarding travel. Should governmental travel restrictions prohibit travel, should a presenter be unable to meet travel requirements by his own country or the European Union due to factors outside their control, should it lead to unexpected hardship (e.g., quarantine time on arrival or return) or health risks (e.g., traveling unvaccinated), or should their risk profile not allow for travel (e.g., unvaccinated vulnerable people in the same household), please contact the organizers to find an alternative arrangement (e.g., remote participation).