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Communications Authority, Huawei, and Safaricom launch cybersecurity boot camp for Coast students for Pwani Innovation Week


As more and more of our life and business operations take place online, the need to ensure the security of networks and the information flowing over those networks, otherwise known as cyber security, has become critical. To help businesses and learning institutions have the skills and knowledge to ensure network and information security, it is important to grow the quality and quantity of current and future workers skilled in cyber security. To address this growing concern, Communications Authority (CA), Huawei, and Safaricom have partnered alongside Swahilipot Hub to organize a Cyber security Bootcamp over a 2 week duration for university students from the coast region as part of Pwani Innovation Week.

The boot camp covers Huawei Certification e-learning Course on Cyber Security, virtual lab exercises, Computer Incident Response Team (CIRT) emergency exercise, and mentorship from experts within the field. These jointly structured sessions and courses are geared at preparing participants for a successful career in cybersecurity. The boot camp is organized as a lead up to the Pwani Innovation Week taking place from 28th-31st March during which the final activities and award ceremony will take place.

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. As such, organizations need the right technical knowhow to not only manage security risks and controls but also maintain a robust security posture to identify and neutralize possible cyber threats.

The cybersecurity sector is rapidly growing but faces talent shortages. As a result the increase in security breaches and cyber-attacks has led to an increase in demand for cybersecurity professions locally and across the globe. A 2019 global study found that 39% of global IT leaders are struggling to find cybersecurity talent.

In Kenya, the CA hosts the National CIRT which detects, prevents and responds to various cyber threats targeted at the country. It also has the mandate for cybersecurity awareness and capacity building. Speaking at the launch, Dr. Gilbert Mugeni representing the Director-General CA, Mr. Ezra Chiloba said: “Safeguarding of our digital space requires adequate cybersecurity capacity. The CA is cognizant 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. This commitment is reflected today in the launch of this boot camp, which was made possible by the support of our partners Swahilipot, Huawei and Safaricom.”

“Technology has become an enabler across different aspects of our daily lives leading to customers increasingly living digital lifestyles. Initiatives such as the Pwani Innovation Week are important in ensuring that we continue to meet the future demand for highly qualified experts in a digital world especially in sectors such as cybersecurity. We are keen to partner with other IT players and the government in supporting such initiatives that grow and develop ICT talent and skill in the country,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO – Safaricom.

As technology evolves and the world grows more technologically dependent, so are the cyberattacks becoming more sophisticated and developing threat to sensitive data. Utilizing the expertise of the three partners provides participants with the latest up-to-date knowledge alongside practical activities to hone their skills. “Building and implementing an end-to-end global cyber security and privacy protection assurance system is one of Huawei's key strategies and actively working with governments, customers, and industry partners to address cyber security and privacy challenges is of importance to us.” Stated Ms. Fiona Pan, Huawei’s Deputy CEO Public Affairs. “We are fully aware of the importance of privacy protection and cyber security and therefore prioritize building capacity amongst all employees and students together with our partners.” She added. 

238 students have applied for the boot camp which will cover three (3) phases each with an assessment at the end.

In his remarks, Mahmoud Noor, Swahilipot Hub Chairman announced the launch of the National boot camp that will take place during the Pwani Innovation week targeting institutions of higher learning and Community Tech Hubs. “The boot camp will be a platform to identify and upskill talent in cybersecurity and ultimately connect them to public and private sector.” He added.

Phase I will be an online and self-paced learning on Huawei Cybersecurity Course; Phase II will be instructor led lab work on enterprise security using a simulated platform (eNSP) conducted in teams. Phase III will be a CIRT Emergency Response Simulation Exercise. On completion, successful participants will receive certification training vouchers, certificates and other awards from the Communications Authority, Huawei and Safaricom.