With the first day of ITWeb’s 2019 Security Summit underway at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, 50 young tech enthusiasts are participating in this years’ Hackathon event sponsored by PwC.
The hackathon, held by ITWeb in conjunction with ICT skills development company Geekulcha and Snode Technologies, aims to nurture individuals who are keen to develop their skills through learning and innovation, and who have a passion for cyber security.
Running for the third time alongside the summit, this year’s hackathon is themed ‘Protecting connected citizens in the 4IR’.
Aptly called #SS19hack, the hackathon has participants as young as 13 participating and engaging with industry leaders. Lerouro Mogeora, aged 13, is the youngest participant this year, while for 14-year old Sifiso Nkabinde this is the second year at the event.
Those participating range from high school pupils to students from the Vaal University, the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of the Witwatersrand.
There are 13 teams hacking it out, creating secure IoT applications. As they code, they need to identify at least three vulnerabilities within their applications utilising OWASP, an open source cyber security platform for checking common vulnerabilities. OWASP also has tools to assist the coders in improving the security of their software.
A week ago, at a similar hackathon event in Kimberly, eight teams were competing, with the winning team there creating a solution that provides encrypted file share and messaging applications for government ministries. The top three teams from the event will also have their projects judged alongside those in Johannesburg.
The overall winning team from the two Hackathons will win R20 000 sponsored by Micro Focus, with the second and third placed teams winning R10 000 and R5 000 respectively, courtesy of MTN.
An added bonus for the top team in Johannesburg is that they will be awarded the Tshimologong Precinct Security Summit Hackathon trophy.
The #SS19hack continues during the second day of the ITWeb Security Summit 2019.
Panel of judges
On Thursday 23 May 2019, we attended the Freshworks Networking Meet talking about the impact of an increasingly connected world. In 2019, the influence of IoT, cloud, and BYOD have a dramatic impact, not only in our personal lives, but also in the world of business. It is crucial that organisations shift their thinking from a historic view of cybersecurity as a “grudge purchase” to something that is vital to the running of your organisation, is crucial for success and can often win battles in the boardroom. Our Founder and CEO, Nithen Naidoo, spoke about the changes we have seen in our client environments, especially with the workforce becoming increasingly dominated by millennials who expect to be connected at all times. Unlike traditional antivirus software, DLPs and firewalls, the Guardian platform is able to detect even the smallest changes in your networked environment and provides organisations with an unprecedented level of visibility and control of their network. It allows businesses across the globe to identify and prevent potential data exfiltration, malware infections and avoid catastrophic ransomware attacks such as the well-known Wannacry malware. Once the floor was opened for questions, the audience raised concerns around how secure (1) Mac vs Windows Operating Systems are and (2) mobile vs desktop platforms, with a mention of the recent Huawei-Google ban. The long and short of it is that there is no one platform that is more or less secure than another, every system contains some form of vulnerability and can be exploited just as easily, the question comes in around what is most lucrative for the attacker. The myth of a Mac being more secure than a Windows PC is largely due to the fact that there are simply more Windows PCs out there and most organisations across the globe make use of Windows Operating Systems as the norm. Attackers, like businesses, often focus on ROI and will always focus their attention on where they believe they can have the greatest impact. When it comes to the mobile industry, mobile malware is growing at a rapid rate and often mobile devices are a greater concern than laptop or desktop devices as many users often blindly accept permissions on all their applications and are generally more trusting when it comes to a potentially “life-changing” application that appears on the app store. This poses a particular risk to organisations as these devices are often brought into the office and are connecting to the corporate network, allowing the malware to spread though the network and impact the business productivity and reputation. Following Naidoo’s keynote, we joined a panel discussion chatting about creating a balance between organisational productivity and enterprise security in the age of consumerisation. Naidoo was joined by Darren Bilse (Systems and Technology Manager at Spark Schools), Andre Fredericks (CIO at Indie Sanlam) and Greg Lock (Senior Solution Architect at ITEC South Africa); moderating the panel was Saurabh Prabhuzantye (Business Head – MEA at Freshworks). Topics covered in the panel covered everything from how consumerisation of IT has impacted the organisations for which the panellists’ work, to how migration to the cloud has brought both benefits and challenges to IT heads and CIOs around the world, to understanding what you are buying and whether or not it suits your organisation and the needs of your team on the ground; real world problems facing real world organisations. The meet was a great information and knowledge sharing platform, allowing vendors and customers alike to openly share their opinions and experiences and to leverage off of the combined knowledge of South African and global IT professionals. We would like to thank the Freshworks team for inviting us to participate in this event and look forward to working with them in the future!
This is MEST Africa’s second annual MEST Africa Challenge, a Pan-African pitch competition for scale-ups based in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa or Cote d’Ivoire who are ready to expand into new markets. Out of nearly 1 000 applicants from across the continent, 50 finalists (10 in each region) were chosen to pitch at the regional finals in Accra, Lagos, Nairobi, Cape Town and Abidjan, held on 27 and 28 February. Finalists from each regional pitch included: Cote d'Ivoire: Seekewa, a financing platform that allows Internet users and companies from all over the world to support small agricultural projects in Africa through a voucher system.Ghana: Ozé, a data insights company that helps businesses make data-driven financial decisions and achieve growth to improve performance. Kenya: WayaWaya, a fintech company that provides seamless transactions into and within Africa for individuals and businesses.Nigeria: AMPZ.TV, the 'LinkedIn for Sports' that is developing the next generation of Etos, Drogbas and Aubameyangs through technology.South Africa: Snode Technologies, a platform that provides real-time cybersecurity for businesses both locally and internationally. These finalists attended the MEST Africa Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, 10-12 June 2019, where they once again competed head-to-head, this time on a global stage for $50k in equity investment and the opportunity to join the Pan-African MEST incubator community. Each finalist was allowed just 5 minutes to pitch their company’s profile to the judges and to convince them that they have what it takes to rapidly expand and grow with the African market as well as abroad. This year, the competition was fierce, with each scale-up having its own unique strengths and bringing something unique to the table. The judges had a hard-task of deciding which of these finalists were worthy of top spot. In the evening of 11 June 2019, the judges had reached a conclusion. Unable to agree on which of the MEST African Challenge finalists had the potential to make the largest impact on the continent, the judges decided to award Ozé from Ghana, Snode Technologies from South Africa, and WayaWaya from Kenya, each with $50k investment and support from Microsoft! “We are excited to partner with MEST,” said Microsoft Senior Director, Chris Lwanga. “At Microsoft our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” The winner of this year’s challenge will join MEST Africa's portfolio along with last year's winner, Nigeria's smart accounting platform, Accounteer, which has since gone on to expand into Kenya and raise additional funding. Niyi Adegboye, Senior Business Developer at Accounteer who presented the winning pitch in 2018, has said: “It was an amazing experience participating in the MEST Africa Challenge 2018. Accounteer is proud to be a part of the MEST portfolio today.” Since winning the Challenge, Accounteer has expanded from Nigeria into Kenya, and has received follow-on funding from Microtraction. About Snode Technologies Eight years ago, it decided that the way we approach defence is flawed because of how easy it is becoming to bypass security controls. The World Economic Forum lists cybercrime as one of the top ten risks facing mankind. By 2021, the global cybersecurity spend will be over $1 Trillion, and we would have lost $6 Trillion to cybercriminals. It was clear that an innovative solution was required to address the risks associated with cybersecurity globally. With this in mind, the Guardian cybersecurity platform was developed with the sole purpose to gain insight into prevailing patterns, which are not visible to the human eye, allowing users to identify attacks before they happen. Snode, and the Guardian platform’s, unique approach to cybersecurity leverages advanced mathematical algorithms and the power of machine learning to process dynamic data, regardless of format, at scale, and in real-time. The Guardian platform passively monitors all activity on the network and provides organisations with a “single source of truth” by seamlessly integrating into their network and providing them with a consolidated, interactive dashboard coupled with contextual alerting that enables analysts to proactively respond to all threats. Its target audience is varied, but its ability to passively defend infrastructure, without affecting critical business operations, has made it attractive to mining, logistics and telecommunication businesses. Over the next 2–3 years, Snode hopes to scale to the rest of Africa, South East Asia and the Middle East, and says winning the MEST Africa Challenge finals “gives us the platform to access new African markets, build brand awareness and trust across the continent.”