JNIC 2023 awards cybersecurity’s most promising newcomers

clausura de las jnic 2023 en Vigo

During the last three days, more than two hundred people participated in the JNIC 2023 organised by Gradiant and atlanTTic (University of Vigo) with the collaboration of the Spanish National Institute of Cybersecurity (INCIBE).

Carmela Troncoso, expert in cybersecurity from Vigo, gave a talk on the use of technologies designed to improve privacy.


VIII National Conference on Cybersecurity Research (JNIC 2023) ended this Friday 23rd with the participation of nearly two hundred people from different parts of the country. On this last day, the awards ceremony took place, aimed at recognising the new promises in the field of cybersecurity. Juan Díez, Head of the Strategic Sector of Health, Food and Research at INCIBE, highlighted that “we closed the 8th edition with 3 vibrant days of research, transfer and training innovation, as well as round tables and keynote speeches, with a new approach to the transfer part, a successful parallel CTF and with the IEEE category of the congress. All the current topics and trends were covered, such as AI, generative AI, quantum cryptography, forensics, regulation, risks, etc. An excellent edition in terms of attendees, work and organisation in a region (Galicia) and a city (Vigo) that has such a welcoming, enveloping and singular academic and business fabric in the field of cybersecurity in everything else.


The JNIC 2023 meeting point for innovation and transfer

Belén Rubio, vice-rector of Research, Transfer and Innovation of the University of Vigo pointed out the success of the conference and thanked atlanTTic and Gradiant for the organization of the conference. “In the universities we are very involved in cybersecurity training, which is essential nowadays for citizens. That is why it is very important the work that has been done these days during the congress highlighting the three pillars of the conference: transfer, research and teaching innovation”, said Belén Rubio.

Martín Llamas, director of atlanTTic, stressed that “as organisers, we are very pleased with the success of this edition where, in addition to breaking attendance records, we have attracted to Vigo the national leaders in cybersecurity research and highlighted the muscle of our R&D ecosystem in areas such as quantum communications or 5G and subsequent communications networks, in which our centre has a more than extensive track record.”

Luis Pérez Freire, executive director of Gradiant, highlighted that “it has been an honour for Gradiant to participate in the organization of this edition of the JNIC. During this scientific congress we have been able to see the high level of specialized research in cybersecurity that is being done in Spain, which is a very solid basis for transferring innovative technologies to the industry. From Gradiant we will continue to reinforce our specialization in this field, investing in R&D, in cybersecurity and privacy technologies, and promoting collaboration with companies to reach the market. It is essential that we continue our commitment to develop as a country a strategic autonomy in cybersecurity, to protect our key industries and at the same time boost the Spanish cybersecurity sector.”


Prize for promising new national cybersecurity talents

As a novelty in this edition, the virtual competition “Capture The Flag JNIC” was activated with the aim of detecting and rewarding the new promises of national cybersecurity. Created to complement the VIII Jornadas Nacionales de Investigación en Ciberseguridad (8th National Cybersecurity Research Conference), it was held between June 9th and 12th. A total of 4 challenges of different levels of complexity were proposed in the competition, combining various disciplines such as reverse engineering, steganography, forensic analysis and cryptography, among others.

The data obtained showed that the competition has established itself on the international cybersecurity scene and that the level of the participants is higher every year, which requires the preparation of more complex challenges. A total of 272 participants (169 teams) from 90 different universities, institutes/training centres and companies registered. There were even participants from 15 foreign countries, mainly from Latin America.

Finally, the winning team was “Air Security” from the University of Salamanca and Air Institute of Valladolid, made up of Daniel Pérez Martínez, Manuel López Pérez and Pablo Palza Martínez. The second team was Pirates of the Cantabrian from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, made up of Álvaro Ramos and Andrés Prieto, and the third was JitaNICos from the Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid, made up of Isaac Lozano Osorio, Raúl Martín Santamaría and Sergio Pérez Peló.

During the conference, the “Call For Flags” awards were also presented, aimed at the creation of cybersecurity challenges. The CFF OPTARE Challenge 1 Award went to Razvan Raducu and Manuel Sánchez Paniagua from the University of Zaragoza and the CFF OPTARE Challenge 2 Award went to Agustín Di Bartolo from the Catholic University of Salta.


V RENIC Awards at JNIC 2023

The awards ceremony for the 5th edition of the RENIC awards for the best Doctoral Thesis and the best Master’s Thesis in Cybersecurity also took place, giving the winners the opportunity to present their work during the conference. The prize for the best Doctoral Thesis went to Juan Enrique Rubio Cortés for his work Analysis and Design of Security Mechanisms in the Context of Advanced Persistent Threats Against Critical Infrastructures and the prize for the best Master’s Thesis went to Paula López González for her work Technique based on feature models to validate and diagnose the configuration of a client-server system of authentication and biometric identification.

The final day’s programme included a keynote speech by Carmela Troncoso, PhD at KULeuven and Associate Professor at EPFL (Switzerland), who addressed in her paper “Privacy by design: from paper to practice”, different interpretations of this philosophy of digital systems design, with examples of the use of technologies designed to improve privacy (Privacy Enhancing Technologies) combined with systems that allow complex functionalities without the need to collect or process data.


Disruptive Technologies, Cybersecurity and Quantum Technologies

JNIC is a scientific conference for the exchange of knowledge and experiences in the field of cybersecurity between academics, researchers and companies. The conference will focus on three axes: Research, Transfer and Educational Innovation in Cybersecurity; through various sessions and round tables.

The event is the main reference in exposing the advances, knowledge and innovation in cybersecurity at national level, and came to Galicia for the first time, after previous editions in León, Granada, Madrid, San Sebastián, Cáceres, online edition during the pandemic, and Bilbao. The conference was organised by the technological centre Gradiant and the Centre for Research in Telecommunication Technologies of the University of Vigo, atlanTTic. The initiative counted with the collaboration of the Spanish National Institute of Cybersecurity (INCIBE).

The conference was supported by Axencia para la Modernización Tecnolóxica de Galicia (AMTEGA), theNodo Galego de Ciberseguridade CIBER.gal, th Consorcio de la Zona Franca de Vigo, Seresco, Plexus Tech, Cátedra R en Ciberseguridade, RENIC (Red de Excelencia Nacional de Investigación en Ciberseguridad), Eviden, Optare Solutions, Viewnext and CITIC (Centro de Investigación en Tecnologías de la lnformación y las Comunicaciones).