Hayden Hainsworth, General Manager for Cybersecurity Engineering at Microsoft,
SheHacks is a community of women in cybersecurity from various backgrounds and counties across Kenya. This community brings together learners and experts who share knowledge, experience and mentorship through various platforms and programmes. Through this they are able to encourage women to take up positions in cyber security.
The SheHacks Hackathon is focused on preparing women to thrive in information technology security and at the same time nurturing those who are intent on joining the industry. The hackathon is running as from the 17th – 18th of October 2019 at the Strathmore Business School.
The world that we live in is interconnected courtesy of the internet that we find ourselves exposed to cyberattacks in different fronts. This is due to the fact that at any given time, one has multiple devices logged onto the internet, think of smart homes, smart cars, mobile, phones laptops among others. Other than our devices, the information that we normally give out freely for example when entering buildings in town or say updating your whereabouts on Instagram or facebook can act as a treasure trove for hackers.
On the corporate level, things are much worse, according to Pritak Roy from Microsoft, in 2016 there were over 82,000 incidents which affected 225 organisations. These incidents led to a cumulated loss of $ 400 Million. In 2018, this figure rose to a whopping $ 6 Billion and the amount of losses is expected to go higher as hackers become more sophisticated.
According to Microsoft, Kenya has one of the highest number of internet users with over 46 million people having access to the service. But with this acceleration of digitalisation comes insecure consumer habits. This coupled with inadequate cybersecurity measures in key sectors will eventually turn Kenya into a lucrative target for cyber criminals. As such their collaboration with SheHacks provides a great opportunity to empower more youth with cybersecurity skills to accelerate digital success in the region.
By the year 2020 there will be an opportunity for over 2 Million cyber security experts worldwide. However, currently in Kenya there is a high demand for cyber security experts but the talent pool is low hence the need for training initiatives like SheHacks.
SheHacks Founders Evelyn Kilel and Laura Tich commented that, “Since we founded this initiative, we have seen tremendous growth in the number of women and young people who want to take part. This year alone, we are hosting close to 300 young ladies from Kenya to equip and empower them with the required technical know-how to combat cyber-crime.”
Hayden Hainsworth, General Manager for Cybersecurity Engineering at Microsoft, had this to say, “We are really delighted to be partnering with SheHacks for this year’s Hackathon, with a focus to prepare women to thrive in the technology industry. We want to make it easy for anyone to take their next step forward in technology.”
Those who are interested in starting their journey to becoming cyber security experts and taking advantage of the 2 Million opportunities can take a Microsoft online course here.