The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) hosted an award ceremony at Sarova Stanley Hotel to celebrate the winners of the recently concluded October Cyber Security Awareness Month (OCSAM) Bootcamp and Hackathon.
The event, graced by representatives from the Nairobi County government, officials from Huawei and CA aimed to foster innovation, raise awareness on cyber safety and build capacity among young Kenyan students in the field of cybersecurity, ahead of October.
The theme of this year’s October Cyber Security Awareness Month (OCSAM) was “The Paradox of Progress: Securing a Digital Nation.” The focus was on addressing the growing challenges of cybersecurity amid Kenya’s rapid digital development.
The officials emphasized ethical hacking and urged the participants to collaborate with authorities and adhere to laws.
In a speech read by Mr Matano Ndaro from CA, Mr Ezra Chiloba, the Director General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CA emphasized the importance of capacity building to secure Kenya’s cyberspace.
“As technology adoption increases, cyberattacks have escalated dramatically, Kenya ranking among the top three most targeted countries in the region for cyber-attacks,” noted Mr Chiloba.
The event saw participation from over 6000 students from various universities and colleges in Nairobi County. Out of these, 31 students were shortlisted to participate in the Bootcamp, and 80 students qualified for the Hackathon.
These participants dedicated 24 hours of intense effort to tackle real-world cybersecurity challenges.
Vice Chair of Kenya Cyber Security and Forensics Association (KCSFA), Fredrick Wahome congratulated the students on reaching the regional final and expressed his appreciation for their dedication to learning and improving themselves.
He also highlighted the importance of cybersecurity in today’s digital landscape, urging the students to continue their pursuit of knowledge and skills in this field.
Huawei, a global leader in ICT, played a significant role in supporting the event and emphasized the need for a strong focus on cybersecurity.
Deputy CEO of, the Government Affairs Department, Huawei Kenya, Adam Lane stressed that cybersecurity and privacy protection are fundamental requirements, “Not only to ensure customer trust but also as a competitive advantage in the technology industry.”
Mr Johnson Sakaja, the Governor of Nairobi County, represented by The Chief Officer, of Smart Cities under Innovation and Digital Economy, Tirus Njoroge and Advisor for Innovation, Technology and the Digital Economy to the Governor, George Musyoka, emphasized the transformative potential of digital government services while acknowledging the risks associated with cybersecurity.
He stressed, “The need for robust legal frameworks and proactive measures to protect individuals’ data and prevent cyber threats.”
The highlight of the event was the announcement of the three winning teams from the Hackathon.
The Nairobi Hackathon winner was Team r00t which expressed their joy and encouraged the students to be, “Ethical hackers.”
The first runner-up was team Tech-Mavericks and the Second runners up, team Hackitects.
These students demonstrated exceptional skills and ingenuity in tackling cybersecurity challenges.
These students came from various universities and colleges in the county, including Kenyatta University (KU), United States International University (USIU), Kenya Methodist University (KEMU), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Egerton University, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, among others.
Mr Ndaro expressed his gratitude to all the participants, partners, and staff for making the event a success and pledged to improve and expand such initiatives in the coming years.
The programme will be extended to Kisumu, Mombasa and other chosen counties will be announced by the authorities. Winners from the counties will later come to a face-off for the final national winner to be named and awarded.
The event showcased the importance of capacity building and innovation in strengthening Kenya’s cybersecurity landscape.
As the country continues its digital transformation, it is evident that collaborative efforts from both the public and private sectors are essential to secure a digital nation and protect individuals and businesses from cyber threats.