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UCC Launches Cybersecurity Competition, Targets University Students

The cybersecurity industry rapidly grows every day — evolved to a step where “it’s no longer about simple viruses”. Although more resources are being deployed to counter cyber attacks, the nature of the industry still has a long way to go before we can catch up with these threats.

However, measures are being developed and put in place to neutralize these incidents that have and are still affecting millions of people, businesses, governments and other institutions — exploring ways to secure their products and keep important data safe.

On note, the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC), has launched its first-ever cybersecurity competition, targeting university students to tackle the growing cyber threat.

The key areas for the competition are; knowledge, innovation, and skills in relation to cyber attacking, defending and responding.

Noting that Uganda has made strides in addressing cybersecurity concerns, Ms. Christine Mugimba, the Director of ICT and Research at UCC, said quote, “there are still gaps which the competition aims to address, at least in part.”

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UCC states that the objective of the cybersecurity competition is to find young cyber talents that can foster the development of the required cybersecurity competencies.

While launching the inaugural cybersecurity competition at the Commission head offices in Bugolobi on Friday, Feb. 21st, 2020, UCC Ag. Executive Director, Eng. Irene Kaggwa Ssewankambo, highly emphasized that Ugandan must not wait for foreigners to solve their problems. Hence the need to build the capacity of young professionals who will help prevent unwanted access to all our ICTs.

She added that “part of the problem is that the landscape of cybersecurity is becoming increasingly complex as what is learned today may not address tomorrow’s problems.”

Ms. Ssewankambo concluded her remarks by appealing to Ugandans to take a keen interest in their cybersecurity. Starting with their mobile phones, to protect their valuable data.

The competition aims to not only strengthen the Commission’s efforts to protect critical information infrastructure but also to build a culture of cyber awareness.

UCC says more than 500 university students aged 18-24 will participate in this competition. Participating Universities include; Uganda Christian University, Makerere Univesity, Kyambo University, ISBAT University, Kabale University, Clarke International University, Cavendish University, Uganda Technology and Management University, Nkumba University, Kabale University, Uganda Martyrs University.

The university were picked because they took the time to attend the cybersecurity workshop that was organized by UCC and Silensec — and conducted by Kenyan cybersecurity specialist Kapere Ndege.

The Commission didn’t mention of any prizes to be won for the emerging winners/finalists.

Notably, the global cost of cybercrime, as revealed by Ms. Mugimba, has grown from USUD$445 billion in 2014 to USD$600 billion currently — about 0.8% of the global GDP. According to the Uganda Cybersecurity Report 2017, private and public entities lost over UGX55.5 billion in cyber fraud the previous year.

However, while some 400 cases of cyber-crime such as information alteration, money laundering and electronic fraud were recorded in 2017. The report indicates that 95.6% of cybersecurity incidents went unreported or unresolved and only 4.4% of the reported cases were successfully prosecuted.

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