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Published on November 22, 2021
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November 14, 2021

« Top cybersecurity experts gather last weekend for CSAW'21, the world's largest cybersecurity academic competition »



The 2021 edition was held online on Virtual Chair platform this weekend, from November 10th  to 14th !

The European edition organized by Grenoble INP-Esisar and the LCIS laboratory in partnership with NYU Tandon School of Engineering, brought together 104 finalist students representing 35 European universities from 10 different countries. They faced each other in 3 competitions in front of 10 industrial and academic expert judges recognized in cybersecurity.

Even if all the events were held online, the Virtual Chair platform made possible meetings and exchanges between participants, finalists, judges and industrialists in a fun and interactive way!


Many thanks to our partners: Valence Romans Agglo and IRT Nanoelec!


Once again this year, the winners were rewarded with scholarships awarded to the 3 winners of each challenge.

We also thank all the judges for their work, their seriousness and their enthusiasm to participate in this competition.

check-esisar APPLIED RESEARCH COMPETITIONcheck-esisar


The event brought together the elite of young cybersecurity researchers who have published in the most prestigious conferences in cybersecurity. During the final, on Wednesday, November 10th, one of the authors of each selected paper presented their research to a jury of 7 experts. The judges indicated that they had been impressed, once again this year, by the quality of the work presented. They wished to thank all the candidates for the quality of their presentation, allowing them, in a limited time, to understand the issues at stake as well as the solutions provided and their implementation.

The three winners :

csaw2 First place : Sinem Sav (EPFL), Switzerland

POSEIDON: Privacy-Preserving Federated Neural Network Learning

The subject is a topical one with a significant societal impact. How to do learning on data, which are regulated in Europe by the GDPR? The training offered by Sinem Sav is based on the anonymization of this data. To demonstrate the results obtained from her approach, she uses a use case from the medical world. The judges found this proposal to be very convincing and very well presented.

Co-authors : Apostolos Pyrgelis, Juan Ramon Troncoso-Pastoriza, David Froelicher, Jean-Philippe Bossuat, Joao Sa Sousa, Jean-Pierre Hubaux

csaw3 Second place :  Hany Ragab (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Netherlands

Rage Against the Machine Clear: A Systematic Analysis of Machine Clears and Their Implications for Transient Execution Attacks

The attack studied in this article is an extremely interesting attack for researchers / engineers / developers in the world of microarchitectures. The choice to approach this type of attack in a less classic than usual way was appreciated by the judges. In addition, the jury found the demonstration to be convincing. A very good presentation!

Co-authors : Enrico Barberis, Herbert Bos, Cristiano Giuffrida (VU Amsterdam)

csaw4 Third place : Daniel Weber (CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security), Germany

Osiris: Automated Discovery of Microarchitectural Side Channels

Daniel Weber's presentation dealt with a topical subject in microarchitectures. The judges stressed the importance of the methodology that was proposed. This methodology, based on compromises to avoid combinatorial problems, gives good coverage of detecting system anomalies. In addition, the jury recognized that the demonstration was convincing and show the effectiveness of the proposed solution.

Co-authors : Ahmad Ibrahim, Hamed Nemati, Michael Schwarz, Christian Rossow (CISPA)


check-esisar EMBEDDED SECURITY CHALLENGEcheck-esisar


Established in 2008, the Embedded Security Challenge - the world's oldest and largest academic physical security competition, and also CSAW's toughest test.

To qualify, the students had to identify the hardware vulnerabilities of a given system and then propose appropriate countermeasures. The 7 qualified teams presented on Friday November 12th to a jury of experts the technical solutions they implemented against covert channel and fault injection attacks using a ChipWhisperer card. The teams competed against each other according to 2 scenarii: "Research track" and "Technical track".

After long deliberation, the jury finally decided to reward 4 teams: 3 for the "Technical track" and 1 for the "Research track". Sapienza Universita di Roma tops the 2 scenarios with their TRX Research Labs and TRX Technical Labs teams!

The winners :


First place Research Track – TRX Research Labs (Sapienza Universita di Roma), Italy : Pietro Borrello, Dario Petrillo, Daniele Tarantino, Noemi Palmeri (Advisor: Leonardo Querzoni)




First place Technical Track – TRX Technical Labs (Sapienza Universita di Roma), Italy : Qian Matteo Chen, Matteo Almanza, Pasquale Caporaso, Cristian Assaiante, (Advisor: Leonardo Querzoni)



Second place Technical Track VUBAR (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Netherlands : Enrico Barberis, Hany Ragab, Shivam Kapoor, Utsav Dayal (Advisor: Marius Muench)



Third place Technical Track – UCST (University of Piraeus), Greece : Konstantinos Spyridon Mokos, Dimitrios Lazarakis, Ilias Koudounas, Paschalis Kyranoudis (Advisor: Thanos Papadimitriou)


check-esisar CAPTURE THE FLAG check-esisar


After 48 hours of qualifying rounds last September to select the best students, the top 15 European teams met in the final in an extremely difficult 36-hour event from Friday 8pm to Sunday 8am. This type of test is considered by all players in the field to be essential for training students in cybersecurity.
The event was won by the Italian team Tower of Hanoi, made up of 4 students from Politecnico di Milano and the Università degli Studi di Milano: they are ranked 3rd in the world competition! In the top 3 we also find the Swiss team m0unt41n and WreckTheLine a team from Romania and UK.

The champions :

First place – Tower of Hanoï (4235 points) (Italy) : Daniele Mammone, Marco Meinardi (Politecnico di Milano), Bruno Halltari, Tommaso Fontana (Univesità degli Studi Di Milano)

Second place – m0unt41n (3635 points) (Switzerland) : Miro Haller (ETH Zurich), Aaron Hodel (ETH), Samuel Bétrisey (EPFL), Simon Kindheuser (Ostschweizer Fachhochschule)

Third place – WreckTheLine (3412 points) (Romania & UK) : Alan Chang (University of Oxford), Fineas Florin Silaghi (West University of Timisoara), Ioan Dragomir (Technical University of Cluj-Napoca), Dragos Albastroiu (University of Bucharest)


The entire CTF ranking can be accessed here:

Thanks to our 2021 jury: Jean-Baptiste Bedrune (Ledger), Guillaume Bouffard (ANSSI), Jeremy Dubeuf (ARM), Julien FRANCQ (naval-group), Patrick HADDAD (STMicroelectronics), Bernard Kasser (STMicroelectronics), Yann Loisel (SiFive), Victor Lomne (NinjaLab), Michael Marcourt (Thalès), Laurent Pion (Worldline)

Thank you to all the organizers at NYU Tandon School of engineering, to the organizing team of the European event at Grenoble INP-Esisar, to the LCIS laboratory and to the doctoral students who participated in the organization and to all the participants for this exciting competition!

We hope to see you in person for a new edition in Valence in November 2022!

Organizing team CSAW Europe: David Hely, Stéphanie Chollet, Arthur Baudet, Arthur Desuert, Amir Ali Pour, Vincent Beroulle, Ihab Alshaer, Zahra Kazemi, Alexandre Boturyn, Alexandre Faucquenoy, Anne-Laure Duée, Gabriel Blanchard




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Date of update November 22, 2021

Université Grenoble Alpes