Three students named winners of Cyber Security Bootcamp

Three groups were named this week out of 200 students who participated in the two-week Cyber Security Bootcamp which was held in the Kenyan coast and winners awarded during the Pwani Innovation Week.

The boot camp, the first of others to be held in other parts of the country, is an initiative to address the growing need for a skilled cyber security workforce within the country and beyond, especially as there are increased cyber attaches both locally and globally as the world becomes technologically dependent. As more of our life and business operations move online, especially during Covid 19, cyber security has become critical to protect information.

Peter Maina , Brandon Mochama and Solomon Muthari were the members of the winning team. The cybersecurity bootcamp was designed to provide participants with the latest knowledge, skills and experiences to prepare them for a career in cybersecurity.

Communication Authority of Kenya (CA), Huawei, SwahiliPot Hub and Safaricom organized the bootcamp with the CS in the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Joe Mucheru officiating the awards ceremony.

(TOP: Dr. Gilbert Mugeni from CA; Denis Loyatum, representing CA-CIRT; and Michael Kamau of Huawei Kenya, with other participants during the awarding ceremony).

“Safeguarding of our digital space requires adequate cybersecurity capacity. The CA is cognisant that cybersecurity capacity remains a major gap, not just locally, but internationally. We are therefore committed to working with stakeholders both locally and internationally, in developing local cybersecurity capacity to power and safeguard our cyber space,” said Dr. Gilbert Mugeni, who represented CA’s Director-General Ezra Chiloba at the event.

Cybersecurity skills gap has been identified as one of the main issues plaguing the ICT industry. Various studies have shown that small businesses, financial institutions, government agencies, healthcare, energy and utilities are just but a few of the main industries targeted for cyber-attacks. This increasingly high number of attacks has captivated the national, regional and global attention and shown the need for more solutions against this threat.

“Data is the new oil of the digital economy and its protection has become even more critical. To mitigate cyberattacks the youth must be educated on Cybersecurity,” said SwahiliPot’s Founder Mahmoud Noor.

The increase in digital adoption and the correlated increase in exposure to cyber risks calls for greater focus on cyber security. The cybersecurity sector is rapidly growing but faces talent shortages. A 2019 global study found that 39% of global IT leaders are struggling to find cybersecurity talent.

“The boot camp was timely especially at a time when more and more of our life and business operations take place online, and thus being secure and safe online is ever more important,” said Huawei’s Deputy CEO Ms. Fiona Pan. “It is important to grow the quality and quantity of current and future workers skilled in cyber security. This will not only help businesses, but also learning institutions have the skills and knowledge to ensure security within their networks and systems.”

The recently concluded bootcamp targeted students within the coast region, and was delivered in three phases over a two-week duration. Phase I was an online self-paced learning on the Huawei ICT Academy portal. Participants to the next phase were shortlisted based on their performance on the online exam. Phase II was instructor-led lab work on enterprise security using a simulated platform (eNSP), which was conducted in teams. Phase III was a Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) Emergency Response Simulation Exercise.

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