Hackademics Forum - Supporting the spreading of cybersecurity knowledge

Hackademics Forum - Supporting the spreading of cybersecurity knowledge
Hackademics Forum's promotional banner.

Last 19th of April, an event called Hackademics Forum took place at the University of Córdoba (UCO) rectorate. It is a cybersecurity event whose main objective is to dive the assistants into the cybersecurity world by discussing engaging topics and disseminating new advances from a sector that is positioning itself as one of the most crucial of our lives in the present and the near future. We know this here at Zaleos, so we wanted to collaborate with this project by sponsoring its second edition.

Now that the event has concluded, we'd like to share some insights with you, such as information about the organization hosting the event, its inspiration, and of course, what happened during the event. If you want to delve deeper, just keep reading. (At the same time, you could take a look at the event website).

As for those behind Hackademics Forum

Within the UCO, there are some associations formed by students, former students, and professors that gather together around a common goal: to enjoy and learn more about one or various matters of interest shared among the members, as well as to give talks about specific topics within the field (these topics usually involve new trends or technologies that are only introduced or not offered as part of the degrees' syllabus). These associations are called "Clubs", or "Aulas" in Spanish, and in this case, the people from the "Cybersecurity and Networks Club" were responsible for orchestrating this cybersecurity event.

Regarding the origin of the event, it arose with the same goal as any other initiative of the Aula: to bring cybersecurity closer to students, but on this occasion, taking it one step further than the typical talks and workshops by organizing a "Forum" where not only students but also subject matter experts could interact and share new ideas, foster synergies and continue learning. This has ended up being the final and largest event of the Aula, receiving around 130 attendees in this second edition.

Opening ceremony of Hackademics Forum.

As for what unfolded during Hackademics Forum

Conferences and panel discussion

The event consisted of several talks that split into two blocks: one about how cybersecurity and AI merge and when they can work together and when they should not; and another one about the business of bad actors trying to tamper, steal, encrypt, reveal... relevant information and how engineers should prepare for this attacks and deal with them. There was also a panel discussion about how public institutions such as the university or the security forces apply cybersecurity in their organizations and how these areas operate and cooperate with other bodies to be more capable.

Conference by Alfonso Muñoz Muñoz: Hacking AI: introduction to adversarial machine learning.

After the inauguration, the first block started with the following conferences: "Garfunkel: your copilot to audit AI" by Pablo González Pérez, "Offensive and defensive security using machine learning: prompt injections and LLMs" by Alfonso Muñoz Muñoz, and "Hacking AI: introduction to adversarial machine learning". It was followed by the panel discussion "Implementation of cybersecurity in various sectors and the importance of collaboration" and the Hackademics CTF awards ceremony (we are going to cover this part in a moment). Finally, the event ended with the second block of conferences: "The business of selling information" by Eduardo Sánchez Toril and "Malware vs Analists - From the research to the answer" by Ana Nieto. The organization uploaded some of these presentations to the website, you can consult them here.

Discussion panel: Implementing IS in various sectors and the importance of collaboration.

Hackademics Forum CTF

On the other hand, the guys of the Cybersecurity and Networks Club prepared a CTF (Capture The Flag) competition to provide the participants with hands-on cybersecurity experience and the opportunity to win awards if they were able to maintain top positions in the competitors' ranking.

Capture The Flags are a type of competition in which contenders face cybersecurity challenges. Each challenge presents a problem that participants must solve using their knowledge (it may be about exploiting certain vulnerabilities, knowing how a cryptographic algorithm works, etc.) to uncover the solution and discover a "flag" that gives points to the participant. Typically, the flag is represented by raw text, similar to the following:


The organization set up different challenges of several disciplines (web, cryptography, reversing, and pwn), deployed them using a framework called CTFd, and opened them to the public over 48 hours so that the participants could obtain as many points as they could. Once the competition was complete, the winners were awarded on the event day.


At Zaleos we always aim to support initiatives like Hackademics Forum, as they carry out an important labor by sharing the knowledge of an increasingly important area like Cybersecurity not only with the students but also with the citizens as a whole.