Computer Science Student Wins Cyber Security Award

Manyasa (right) receives his cash prize award after being declared the winner.

Computer Science student, Oliver Manyasa has won this year’s Inter University  Cyber Security (CTF- Capture the Flag) Contest that was organized by the I & M Bank.

Beside Manyasa bagging the top award, the JKUAT team of seven (7) students who participated in the contest namely; Emmanuel Muchi, Lawrence Ochieng, Victor Weke, Awino Mackrio, Sialo Tobiko, Wathinji Karanja and Oliver Manyasa, was declared the second best under the institutional category.

The competition seeks to sharpen university students’ dexterity, skills and knowledge in identifying bugs or vulnerabilities in computer systems as well as their capacity to exploit the vulnerabilities by coming up with solutions while demonstrating their  competencies in execution of the tasks.

Manyasa, a third year student, took home the top cash prize award of Ksh. 50, 000 while the overall JKUAT team smiled back to Juja with Ksh. 30,000 cash prize.

The contest entailed learning how bugs come into being, the extent of the dangers they pose to computer systems and how they can be solved among other aspects.

The event was held at  I&M Bank offices, Parklands, Nairobi, Saturday, November 20, 2020 and attracted students from several universities including; Kenyatta, Nairobi, MMUST, TUK, KCA among others.

This was the second time JKUAT was featuring in the Inter University CTF competition, organized by the I & M Bank. In 2019, JKUAT finished second.

Commenting on his debut participation in the contest last year, Manyasa said, “My knowledge then was limited because it was my first time to take part in the hacking competition.  This year, I had prepared adequately, but I was not confident I would emerge the best.

“I am happy that I won, more so especially for my contribution in making my School finish the second best, although we were gunning for the first position.

What then contributed to the sterling performance by the JKUAT team? Manyasa who is also a member and Cyber Security Lead for the Developers Students Club (DSC), says, “We have been holding cyber security online challenges (contests) and small meetings every Thursday in Hall 7, where we teach other students the hacking skills and to learn from peers.”

The School of Computing and Information Technology (SCIT) has played a significant role. We are able to apply the knowledge and skills we acquire during the courses and training offered in SCIT to tackle the challenges.

JKUAT team displays their cash award for emerging the second best overall.

He further says, the DSC membership draws from different tracts such as android, cyber security, web development, data science, internet of things (IOT), among others. This diversity has been handy in honing their skills and competencies.

The DSC in partnership with lecturers in SCIT plans to organize an internal competition for students next year to sharpen their cyber security skills.

Manyasa who is passionate about finding vulnerabilities in computer systems and advising on how they can be fixed, aspires to be a cyber security penetration tester, noting, “cyber security is a relatively new area due to the adoption of computer systems in Kenya.” This he adds, calls for more cyber security experts to ensure security of the computer systems. This is the space where Manyasa aspires to be a key player in future.

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