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.

Update: The crawling mechanism for DBLP has been updated on July 1, 2022. As a result, the paper database may show a few inconsistencies. This effect will disappear over the next months.

Top of the Notch

Top-cited papers from 1980 to 2022 ⌄

  1. 1
    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
    6131 cites at Google Scholar
    3092% above average of year
    Last visited: Jul-2022
    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
    5917 cites at Google Scholar
    4095% above average of year
    Last visited: Jul-2022
    Paper: DOI
  3. 3
    Dorothy E. Denning:
    An Intrusion-Detection Model.
    IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, 1986
    5861 cites at Google Scholar
    1618% above average of year
    Last visited: Jun-2022
    Paper: DOI
  4. 4
    John Bethencourt, Amit Sahai, and Brent Waters:
    Ciphertext-Policy Attribute-Based Encryption.
    IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, 2007
    5849 cites at Google Scholar
    2841% above average of year
    Last visited: Jul-2022
    Paper: DOI
  5. 5
    Nicholas Carlini and David A. Wagner:
    Towards Evaluating the Robustness of Neural Networks.
    IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, 2017
    5501 cites at Google Scholar
    6042% above average of year
    Last visited: Jul-2022
    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
    5501 cites at Google Scholar
    6042% above average of year
    Last visited: Jul-2022
    Paper: DOI
  2. 2
    Paul Kocher, Jann Horn, Anders Fogh, Daniel Genkin, Daniel Gruss, Werner Haas, Mike Hamburg, Moritz Lipp, Stefan Mangard, Thomas Prescher, Michael Schwarz, and Yuval Yarom:
    Spectre Attacks: Exploiting Speculative Execution.
    IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, 2019
    1996 cites at Google Scholar
    4324% above average of year
    Last visited: Jul-2022
    Paper: DOI
  3. 3
    Mihir Bellare and Phillip Rogaway:
    Random Oracles are Practical: A Paradigm for Designing Efficient Protocols.
    ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security (CCS), 1993
    5917 cites at Google Scholar
    4095% above average of year
    Last visited: Jul-2022
    Paper: DOI
  4. 4
    Nicholas Carlini, Florian Tramèr, Eric Wallace, Matthew Jagielski, Ariel Herbert-Voss, Katherine Lee, Adam Roberts, Tom B. Brown, Dawn Song, Úlfar Erlingsson, Alina Oprea, and Colin Raffel:
    Extracting Training Data from Large Language Models.
    USENIX Security Symposium, 2021
    283 cites at Google Scholar
    3424% above average of year
    Last visited: Jul-2022
    Paper: DOI
  5. 5
    Ahmed Salem, Rui Wen, Michael Backes, Shiqing Ma, and Yang Zhang:
    Dynamic Backdoor Attacks Against Machine Learning Models.
    IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy, 2022
    84 cites at Google Scholar
    3418% above average of year
    Last visited: Jul-2022
    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 – 1989
1990 – 1999
2000 – 2009

2010 – 2019
2020 – 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.