By Zoe Ochwango, Moringa School Staff.
From the 27th of May to 6th of July, 2017, Moringa School ran a course on Cyber Security with Africahackon, which had a great reception from tech enthusiasts in Kenya. The idea for the training was motivated by three main aspects: the need to embrace new trends in technology, how cybersecurity is becoming increasingly needed as technology use increases, and finally, the national security of any country highly depends on it. We have always challenged ourselves to constantly work to becoming more relevant in the continuously changing priorities of a country and job market.
Kenya has suffered from many cybersecurity attacks, ranging from attempts to disrupt critical infrastructure to steal information, funds and disrupt delivery of essential services. A more recent one was speculations regarding the hacking of Safaricom and MPESA services for a day. Because close to 45% of Kenya’s GDP flows through MPESA, the hacking of such a service in the future would do much harm to the economy of the nation. With majority of the things we do today going online – working, shopping, playing, and dependence on digital services quickly growing – the need to protect our information from being maliciously disrupted or misused is really important. Cases of cyber security threats have also been on the increase now than ever before. Therefore having a stable, safe and resilient cyberspace is of utmost importance to our daily life.
So what really is cybersecurity?
As RSA Security LLC puts it:
“Cybersecurity is not about writing elegant code or building a high performance network. It is about managing risks. The reason we continually fail to adequately secure our networks is not a failure to understand technology, but a failure to understand people and how they behave. That’s why some of the best penetration testers and incident investigators come from non-STEM backgrounds”
An article in the Harvard Business Review referred to information security scientists as:
“The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century.”
Cyber security is certainly a career that requires not only just strong analytical thinking skills, but also a creative mind with the ability to know how systems can be interfered with. Most times engineers create systems which they are later on surprised to see people use in ways they never thought would be possible. Therefore, learning cybersecurity will push one to higher levels of creativity to think through those kinds of things.
What does the future look like on cybersecurity?
The reality is that if someone wants to be an expert at risk management presently, the best ground will be in cybersecurity. It was ranked 8th on World Report’s list of the 100 best jobs for 2015 by USnews, with an estimated 36.5 % profession growth rate by 2022, 209,000 vacant cybersecurity jobs in 2015 in the U.S and a whopping $88,890 median yearly pay for an information security analyst.
Through the training program organised by Moringa School, trainees were able to understand online security concepts such as The course we had helped those who came for it understand what online security is, how they can protect their digital life; home or work (threat landscape), risk management and fundamental challenges of networking and communication. They also had an opportunity to know harmful online threats and the steps on how to tackle this.
Moringa School is presently scaling to other countries; Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana, with these countries also facing the same challenges on cyber security attacks as the others, the need to have a part of the population of these countries competent to handle these challenges is one of our top priorities. Our vision, which is to build human capacity by training people of varied technical ability in a holistic way, is our guiding light!