Over 200 young techies from different learning institutions across the Nyanza region have benefitted from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Cybersecurity Bootcamp and Hackathon Series 2023 program held in Kisumu.
The joint initiative with Huawei and the Kenya Cybersecurity and Forensics Association (KCSFA) which seeks to address the growing need for cybersecurity professionals in the emerging digital landscape.
Speaking on Saturday in Kisumu during the award ceremony held in Kisumu, Ms. Rosalind Muriithi, Director of Internal Audit, at the Communications Authority of Kenya said that the government is accelerating its efforts to disrupt cyber threats, fix newly discovered vulnerabilities, and counter emerging threats and protect Kenyans.
“Government’s top priority is to safeguard our digital economy from cybersecurity challenges like data breaches, hacking attempts, identity theft, malware attacks, etc. For this purpose, it is crucial that our skilling efforts help build a skilled workforce that is capable of effectively protecting and defending digital systems and networks,” said Ms. Muriithi.
In 2018, cyber-attacks directed at Kenya stood at 7.7 million. In 2023, the attacks have sky-rocked to a high of 444 million, ranking Kenya among the top three most targeted countries in the region, alongside South Africa and Nigeria.
The hackathon series is part of the ongoing initiative by the CA and Huawei to develop local cybersecurity capacity toward safeguarding the Kenyan digital economy as it grows.
“Our country has been at the forefront of adopting emerging technologies and is a leading Nation globally on matters of technology, innovations, and internet penetration. For this reason, our country finds itself in a unique situation that demands more localized solutions to the equally unique challenges that we face. It’s in this light that KCSFA – Kenya Cyber Security & Forensics Association has partnered with the National KE-CIRT/CC under the Communications Authority of Kenya to deliver the Hackathons at the regional and national levels, “said Mr. Njoroge Kinyanjui of KCSFA.
By design, the Hackathons are both training grounds and skills-harnessing platforms for future cybersecurity experts targeting University and college students.
“We hope that the initiative will inspire these young innovators to select a discipline related to cybersecurity as they progress with careers in technology and keep our country safe in cyberspace,” said Venessa Kawira, Huawei Kenya IT Talent Academy Manager.
“As Kenya endures its digital transformation, it is evident that collaborative efforts from both the public and private sectors are critical in securing a digital nation and protecting individuals and businesses from cyber threats,” she added
As cyber-attacks continue to rise, there is a call for strong public-private partnerships to improve national security and advance innovation that protects critical systems and data.
“I firmly believe that collaborations like that of CA, Huawei, and other partners will play a pivotal role in nurturing talent and Young Kenyans will get better access to skills that are more relevant in this fast-changing digital age,’’ said Fredrick Wahome, Vice president of KCSFA.
This prestigious event provides a platform for participants to showcase their expertise and knowledge in the cybersecurity domain.
CA Huawei and KCSFA will be holding the hackathon in various counties in the coming months with Nyeri County hosting the next edition. The top teams from the hackathon and boot camp regional finals will converge in Mombasa for the highly anticipated October Cybersecurity Month National Conference which is held annually to create awareness of cybersecurity.