North-West University: NWU students win big at Cybersecurity Hackathon challenge


Five North-West University (NWU) students from the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences recently participated in the virtual Southern Africa Telecommunication Networks and Applications Conference (SATNAC) Cybersecurity Hackathon.

A hackathon is a kind of social event for programmers from all around, in which the participants have to solve a complex coding problem such as developing or improving existing software, or pitching a business idea for a particular field.

The SATNAC hackathon’s theme was “Fraud Management: Innovating against digital identity theft, business email compromise and insider threat in a cloud-based world”. It challenged students to counter the rise of unauthorised sim swaps due to insider threats linked to digital identity theft and business email compromise.

The goal of this challenge was to expose tertiary students with experience in cybersecurity research to prototype solutions to cybersecurity problems.

These solutions should militate against human error and behaviour through sophisticated technologies and automation, use analytics, and provide a clear methodology and approach to address technical weaknesses using a combination of relevant products.

Only 14 teams out of 200 participants were selected to participate. Mpumelelo Mkwananzi, Karabo Makau, Andile Nkosi, Shandukani Musekwa and Katlego Melamu represented the NWU and came in second place, receiving a cash prize of R50 000.

“I want to thank Dr Motjolopane for believing in us, and I am grateful for my team members’ help – without them this would have not been possible,” says Katlego.

More about SATNAC

The Southern Africa Telecommunication Networks and Applications Conference (SATNAC) is an annual event hosted under the auspices of Telkom and attracts more than 400 delegates each year.

This prestigious event has become the continent’s leading Information and Communications Technology (ICT) conference where industry, academia and operators network on matters concerning the progress achieved in applied research in the ICT sector. It also offers industry leaders the opportunity to share their views on latest trends and developments.

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