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Race to find SA’s next cybersecurity experts to tackle SIM-swop fraud

A local hackathon to find the best people in cybersecurity is under way. Picture: FLY:D/UnSplash

A local hackathon to find the best people in cybersecurity is under way. Picture: FLY:D/UnSplash

Published Jun 13, 2022


Amid the rise of cybercrime in South Africa and globally, a local hackathon to unearth the next best cybersecurity experts has been extended to Friday.

Forming part of one of SA’s larger tech conferences, the Southern Africa Telecommunication Networks and Applications Conference (Satnac) by Telkom, the Cybersecurity Hackathon 2022 has extended its invitation for entrants to June 17

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IOL Business recently reported that along with cloud computing, data science, software development, and AI – cybersecurity is one of the top in-demand career fields in the technology sector.

According to the local division of the recruitment platform, Michael Page recently stated that interest in cybersecurity had increased amid demand for digital services.

As part of its Salary Guide and Hiring Insights report, it said the rise in cyberattacks would probably continue to promote growth in the cybersecurity industry.

As the sidebar to the coming Satnac event, the hackathon aims to uncover new solutions from ICT university students with experience in research in the cybersecurity field to prototype solutions that will solve cybersecurity problems in the country.

Security firm Surfshark recently revealed that South Africa ranked sixth in the world with cybercrime density, rising from 11.8 cybercrime victims per 1 million internet users in 2016 to 14.1 victims per 1 million in 2019 and 50.8/1 million users in 2020.

The successful teams of the hackathon will be given an opportunity to pilot their solutions with Telkom and software firm Amdocs.

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Telkom’s enterprise executive, Mmathebe Zvobwo, said: “The industry suffers huge losses annually due to SIM-swop fraud through digital identity theft, and we must keep ahead and counter the increase of cybersecurity fraud,” Zvobwo said.

This year’s hackathon will focus on countering the rise of fraud across all business sectors, including a cybersecurity pain-point – SIM-swop fraud.

According to Vodacom, fraudsters could potentially gain access to a person’s cellphone number by impersonating them at a service provider outlet after attaining their ID number through phishing.

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Absa Bank has previously said that fraudsters then have access to a person’s banking notifications and approval SMSes sent by banks to complete transactions.

The hackathon will seek to find a solution to mitigate human error through new technologies and automation.

The hackathon will take place virtually from June to August, with the set for the weekend of August 19 – 21. More information on the event can be found at

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