Three months ago the Gov-X Innovation Challenge was launched with a view to finding solutions to cybersecurity challenges and online risk.
As many as 90 ideas were submitted and eight were selected to participate in a qualifying round where the folks behind those ideas were mentored by local cybersecurity experts.
The challenge was hosted by the University of the Western Cape: Future-Innovation Lab working with the Cybersecurity Hub and the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies.
Partners that provided assistance in the challenge included KnowBe4, Trend Micro, BCX, Bi-Technologies, Vox Telecom, NClose, Blck Rhino and Bi-Tech Africa.
Participants in the challenge were asked to address three key issues, namely:
-Provide a national competency via the National Computer Security Incident Response team (CSIRT).
-To prevent and curb online gender-based violence and provide assistance to victims.
-Raise awareness initiatives for citizens and create general cybersecurity awareness within communities and raise the profile of cybersecurity issues.
The winners of the challenge – and a cool R100 000 to further their idea – is Hack South. The group plans to help children equip themselves against cyber risk through a gamified learning experience.
Second place went to Ex Machina for its interactive learning platform designed to help users be safer online through education. Ex Machina won R30 000 for its idea.
A team called Edu[1st] won third for its plan to build a text recognition engine to combat gender based violence. The platform could alert authorities when certain words are used which is both clever and alarming. Edu[1st] won R10 000 for its idea.
“It has been quite a year for the ICT sector, with the pandemic forcing a reliance on digital like digital like never before, and this demands a more robust cybersecurity infrastructure. Now more than ever we need innovation in cybersecurity – data breaches have grown over 500 percent and South Africa does not have enough skills and capacity to protect infrastructure, citizens and the private sector,” said deputy director at the 4IR Project Management Office, Nomvuyiso Batyi.
Whether or not these ideas become fully fledged solutions remains to be seen but we’ll be keeping an ear to the ground as regards any of these proposed ideas making it to market.
[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]