Influential Security Papers

This webpage is an attempt to assemble a ranking of top-cited papers from the area of computer security. The ranking is automatically created based on citations of papers published at top security conferences. In particular, the ranking is based on the four tier-1 conferences (see the System Security Circus)

and the following tier-2 conferences

The citations for each paper are determined by crawling the DBLP service and Google Scholar. As both services limit crawling activity, the update interval for the ranking is large, such that citation counts change on average every two months.

☞ Interested in cryptography? A similar ranking of cryptography papers is available here.

Top of the Notch

Top-cited papers from 1981 to 2018 ⌄

  1. 1
    Mihir Bellare and Phillip Rogaway:
    Random Oracles are Practical: A Paradigm for Designing Efficient Protocols.
    ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS), 1993
    4794 cites at Google Scholar
    3263% above average of year
    Last visited: Sep-2018
    Paper: DOI
  2. 2
    Dorothy E. Denning:
    An Intrusion-Detection Model.
    IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, 1986
    4759 cites at Google Scholar
    1717% above average of year
    Last visited: Aug-2018
    Paper: DOI
  3. 3
    Laurent Eschenauer and Virgil D. Gligor:
    A key-management scheme for distributed sensor networks.
    ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS), 2002
    4711 cites at Google Scholar
    2026% above average of year
    Last visited: Aug-2018
    Paper: DOI
  4. 4
    Vipul Goyal, Omkant Pandey, Amit Sahai, and Brent Waters:
    Attribute-based encryption for fine-grained access control of encrypted data.
    ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS), 2006
    4141 cites at Google Scholar
    2641% above average of year
    Last visited: Sep-2018
    Paper: DOI
  5. 5
    Haowen Chan, Adrian Perrig, and Dawn Xiaodong Song:
    Random Key Predistribution Schemes for Sensor Networks.
    IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, 2003
    3815 cites at Google Scholar
    1617% above average of year
    Last visited: Sep-2018
    Paper: DOI

→  Check out the top-100 ranking

Absolute citations are not necessarily a good indicator for the impact of a paper, as the number of citations usually grows with the age of a paper. The following list shows an alternative ranking, where the citations are normalized by the age of each paper.

Top-cited papers normalized by age ⌄

  1. 1
    Nicholas Carlini and David A. Wagner:
    Towards Evaluating the Robustness of Neural Networks.
    IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, 2017
    405 cites at Google Scholar
    4365% above average of year
    Last visited: Sep-2018
    Paper: DOI
  2. 2
    Mihir Bellare and Phillip Rogaway:
    Random Oracles are Practical: A Paradigm for Designing Efficient Protocols.
    ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS), 1993
    4794 cites at Google Scholar
    3263% above average of year
    Last visited: Sep-2018
    Paper: DOI
  3. 3
    D. F. C. Brewer and Michael J. Nash:
    The Chinese Wall Security Policy.
    IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, 1989
    1339 cites at Google Scholar
    2976% above average of year
    Last visited: Sep-2018
    Paper: DOI
  4. 4
    Vipul Goyal, Omkant Pandey, Amit Sahai, and Brent Waters:
    Attribute-based encryption for fine-grained access control of encrypted data.
    ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS), 2006
    4141 cites at Google Scholar
    2641% above average of year
    Last visited: Sep-2018
    Paper: DOI
  5. 5
    Steven M. Bellovin and Michael Merritt:
    Encrypted key exchange: password-based protocols secure against dictionary attacks.
    IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, 1992
    1805 cites at Google Scholar
    2578% above average of year
    Last visited: Jul-2018
    Paper: DOI

→  Check out the normalized top-100 ranking

The Last Decades

If you are interested in a more detailed breakdown of top-cited papers over time, you can find can find rankings for the last decades here:

1980 – 1990
1990 – 2000
2000 – 2010
2010 – now

Limitations

As with any ranking, the presented results do not necessarily reflect the true impact of a paper. Citations are only one metric to assess the reception of a paper and are insufficient to characterize all aspects contributing to the relevance of scientific work. Moreover, the underlying data may contain errors or missing information. Errare humanum est.

Contact

If you have questions, comments, complains, or ideas how to improve this webpage, feel free to send an email to Konrad Rieck. Alternatively, you can contact me on Twitter.