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'Hacking the virus' at ITWeb’s Security Summit

By , junior journalist
South Africa , 18 Aug 2020

The fourth annual instalment of ITWeb’s Security Summit hackathon is set to begin on 24 August.

This year’s theme is centred on solutions for a post-COVID-19 world and will see participants attempting to ‘hack the virus’.

Those with little or no information security background are also invited to join the hackathon. The event aims to develop the local information security skills pipeline.

ITWeb hosts the hackathon in collaboration with youth ICT organisation Geekulcha. The hackathon will take place online, alongside the ITWeb Security Summit 2020.

Tiyani Nghonyama is Geekulcha’s co-founder and COO. He says the pandemic’s impact on hackathons has taken some getting used to, as they can no longer be hosted physically.

“We’re getting used to it, but we do miss physical hacks,” he says.

“The vibe and networking aren’t the same, but it isn’t all bad, because virtual hackathons mean we’re able to reach participants from all over the country.”

On the issue of data costs for participants, Nghonyama says: “We have structured our virtual hackathons to be data-sensitive. Participants spend minimal time on video calls where they can connect with their mentors and each other.”

Solutions should be designed while keeping user rights and cyber vulnerabilities in mind as well as security best practices and standards. Teams will be briefed on these standards, such as the “CIA triad” (confidentiality, integrity and availability), which is used to identify cyber risk problem areas.

The hackathon’s first day will be an ‘ideathon’ to match teams and mentors based on the mentors' areas of expertise and the teams' solutions. Teams will then submit their first attempt and receive feedback from their mentors.

A Capture the Flag (CTF) challenge will also be held this year. CTF is a security challenge that requires teams to complete a number of tasks, such as a Web page scavenger hunt or hacking into a server to find a specific piece of hidden text.

The hackathon will run from 24-27 August. Cash prizes for the top three places are R20 000, R10 000 and R5 000 respectively. Snode Technologies will also offer four participants an information security learnership. The Northern Cape Provincial Government’s economic development and tourism department and the Sol Plaatje University will lead the Northern Cape leg of the hack.

To take part in the #SS20Hack, visit the event page. Anyone interested in being a mentor at the hackathon can also register.

The SSHack will run on the sidelines of the virtual ITWeb Security Summit, taking place from 25 to 28 August. Click here to register for the summit.

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