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National Cybersecurity Institute to open 5G technology lab in Malaga

National Cybersecurity Institute to open 5G technology lab in Malaga

This demonstration centre will be open for use by academic researchers and companies

Nuria Triguero

Friday, 12 April 2024, 15:16

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As a growing hub for the cybersecurity industry, Malaga still lacked the presence of the country's public institutions to promote the research of digital security. But this is no longer: the National Cybersecurity Institute (INCIBE) is going to set up a laboratory dedicated to 5G technologies and the development of cybersecurity in Malaga, which will be open to companies and academic researchers. Its location has not yet been finalised, but one option under consideration is El Rayo Verde, the building dedicated to innovation and entrepreneurship, shared between Malaga TechPark and the University of Malaga, as an extension of the Teatinos campus.

In any case, Felipe Romera, the general manager of this technopolis, says that he has made available a space of around 300 square metres in El Rayo Verde for INCIBE to set up this lab.

INCIBE's first Malaga office will form part of INCIBE-Lab, a new series of labs that the company plans to set up in four cities across Spain: León, Malaga, Vizcaya and Madrid. It has been revealed, moreover, that the contract for the supply of equipment necessary to furnish and launch this network of labs, as well as for related services, was awarded to Telefónica for 9.1 million euros (including taxes) last November (it has since been modified and its value is close to 9.3 million). Of this amount, it is unclear how much will be put towards the Malaga office. A few days ago, another contract was put out to tender regarding the provision of specialised support services for the maintenance and operation of these facilities. This tender, which amounts to 2.6 million euros, is divided into five lots, one of which is specifically for Malaga, with a base budget of 563,556 euros.

INCIBE sources explain that, within the framework of its 2023-2025 Multiannual Strategic Plan, it is currently acting to "support the creation of cybersecurity ecosystems, through collaboration with autonomous regions, in order to promote the implementation of several national demonstration centres for research, innovation and experimentation". The aim of these centres is to "promote research into cybersecurity and the proactive search for threats, applied to private 5G networks for business, industrial control systems and new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence". "INCIBE, as a national cybersecurity benchmark, has detected the need to explore the risks associated with this growth and the use of new technologies, as well as to identify and promote the best initiatives to mitigate them," say its spokespersons.

In these controlled environments, INCIBE explains, experts and researchers can "simulate and analyse a wide variety of cyber threats while developing, refining and validating the tools and strategies that safeguard our digital infrastructure". "Collaboration between our academia, industry and government entities is critical. By working together in these controlled environments, researchers and practitioners can share knowledge, skills, methodologies and best practices," they add.

Shared use

This infrastructure will, therefore, be open to shared use by academic researchers and R&D staff from private companies. The University of Malaga's influential research groups dedicated to cybersecurity and 5G technology are expected to play a major role in this lab. Both INCIBE and the University have already reached a collaboration agreement.

But why do we need a lab specifically dedicated to 5G technology? Over the next few years, large-scale deployment of these networks is expected in Spain, both for large telephone operators and for private networks. Royal Decree-Law 07/2022 of 29 March (5G Law) establishes the security requirements for the installation, deployment and operation of these networks and sets the objective of "promoting the comprehensive security of the ecosystem generated by 5G technology".

INCIBE-Lab's aims are to 'strengthen the industry and promote national activities in cybersecurity related to 5G technologies, industrial control systems, IoT technologies and artificial intelligence within the enterprise environment'; 'support the national adoption of the 5G standard, collaborate and cooperate with operators, suppliers and national laboratories'; 'train for its target audience in cybersecurity applied to 5G technologies, industrial control systems, IoT technologies and artificial intelligence'; 'ensure the security of private 5G networks that can be used within an enterprise environment'; "promote research in cybersecurity applied to enterprise-class 5G private networks, industrial control systems, IoT technologies and artificial intelligence"; "proactively search for threats that may affect enterprise-class 5G private infrastructure, as well as industrial control systems and new technologies such as IoT or artificial intelligence"; "promote the secure development of applications using 5G private network communication, industrial control systems and new IoT technologies' and 'demonstrate to its target audience the risks associated with the use of technologies using 5G SA private networks, industrial control systems and new IoT technologies, as well as ways to mitigate them'.

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