In recognition of the importance of governance in addressing cyber risks, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) held cybersecurity summit in Nairobi’s Safari Park in the last three days preceding the weekend last week. The summit’s goals were based on the threat to technology-based information assets that is higher than it has been reported in the past. The conference served as a platform to echo the Authority’s mandate in combating the threat because security governance is the glue that holds core elements of cyber defenses in the country and effective risk management.
Apart from reminding people that cyber-attacks on organizations are inevitable, the summit hosted a Hackathon that featured tens of students from 10 universities in Kenya. At the end of the session, the CA recognized 43 students who showcased notable skills at the Cyber Security Hackathon. Winning teams were selected through and a lengthy exercise that entailed participants solving computer security problems. The challenges were divided into two classes: ethical hacking where students identified weaknesses and vulnerabilities in computer and information systems, and digital forensics that entailed the review of digital data for crime detection and prevention.
In Ethical Hacking, Strathmore University led the group, followed by KCA and Meru University. UoN emerged winners in Digital Forensics and was followed closely by JKUAT.
The program featured participants from the Presidential Digital Talent Program, Kisii University, Kenyatta University, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST) and the Technical University of Mombasa (TUM).
“The initiative has provided a great forum for interaction and knowledge exchange amongst cybersecurity enthusiasts in academia and the industry,” noted Ms. Mercy Wanjau, CA Director-General.
“As an Authority, we are happy that through this hackathon, we have adequately sparked conversations on cybersecurity and hopefully more and more Kenyans will be alert as they engage on their favorite platforms,” concluded Ms. Wanjau.
According to the National Kenya Computer Incident Response Team – Coordination Centre (National KE-CIRT/CC), 26.6 million cyber threats were identified between April and June 2019. 11.3 million threats were detected in the preceding quarter. The issues are not restricted to government organizations; instead, there have been countless incidents in the past months where small organizations have been attacked, and their data access for an extended period without their knowledge.
The hackathon was staged to emphasize that today’s cyber threat actors do not rely only on defeating technical safeguards, but probe and take advantage of weaknesses found in target systems.