Last month I had the pleasure of attending SciFest Africa Festival which is now on its 23rd year running. The event which is an initiative of the Grahamstown foundation is aimed at promoting the public awareness, understanding and appreciation for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). Learners from all around Eastern Cape, private and public schools ranging from grade 4 – 12 attended the festival all in the quest to learn something new and exciting about what the world of STI has to offer.
As one of the exhibitors showcasing the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR’s) 3D printing capability – which forms part of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), I had the opportunity to engage with some of the learners and educators. While engaging with the learners, I noticed that there’s a difference between learners who were in the private school system, former model c and the township or rural public school system and I wondered, during these exciting times of 4IR, who would get the short end of the stick?
When showcasing our technologies to a young audience, we use an interactive approach by running quiz competitions, games and as part of the SciFest programme, we sometimes host workshops too. However, this year, we focused more on quiz competitions and this is where I began to observe the differences. The private school learners who came to our exhibition stand, could recognise 3D printed objects from afar. Quite often, we would be met with enthusiastic comments like: “This is 3D printing right? My dad has one too but it prints plastic objects” or “This is so cool, we learnt about 3D printing in class and we also went on a field trip.” When it came to asking questions, they answered with confidence and those who were not sure, were not afraid to ask questions. They were simply excited to learn more and throughout, they engaged with confidence whether they answered correctly or not.
The former model c school learners who visited our exhibition stand knew of the 3D printing concept. They understood its application in the health and housing sector and so they also answered the questions with confidence but, they had never seen or touched a 3D printer, they simply had a good theoretical understanding of it whereas, private school learners had been exposed to both. Learners from township and rural schools on the one hand said that they have never heard of 3D printing or seen a 3D printer. So, we had to introduce the concept by making reference to everyday examples such as the process of how a normal printer would work – which they understood very well, especially when the concept was explained in isiXhosa.
I also noticed that when the concept of 3D printing and 4IR was being explained in English, they eyes wondered and we somehow lost their interest but, when we switched to isiXhosa and we aligned these concepts to everyday things which they have seen or experienced, they were more willing to express themselves freely and ask questions.
Another observation I made throughout the year last year, was that most of the school tour visits I received largely came from private or former model c schools in the Gauteng region. Rarely did I receive requests from township and/or rural schools. It then dawned on me that for schools where affordability, access to facilities and the internet is not an issue, class work and fieldwork learning is being integrated as part of everyday learning.
However, for learners who struggle to access the internet, don’t have a family member that owns a technology piece like a 3D printer and cannot afford to travel to facilities like the CSIR to learn about cool technologies that contribute towards 4IR, they are ultimately left behind. Over and above the lack of exposure, the one subject that most people perceive to be intimidating is being communicated in a language that is not their own using concepts they have never heard of or seen before.
A report on Education in South African Rural Communities done by the Nelson Mandela Foundation states that out of South Africa’s 11.4 million learners, 2.6 million are in KwaZulu-Natal, 2.0 million are in the Eastern Cape and 1.7 million are in Limpopo. The remaining provinces have far smaller learner populations. Levels of adult illiteracy and youth unemployment are also highest in these three provinces. Further, according to a study published by Brand South Africa, the quality of education for most black children is poor. In poorer communities, schools are still substandard, access to electricity and sanitation is still a problem. Textbooks are not delivered and teachers are not motivated and well-supported.
Additionally, poor communities cannot support their schools and school governing bodies to the same extent as wealthier communities. In this report, it is also noted that while socioeconomic conditions of learners constrain learning achievement, it is clear that in South Africa, unequal schooling also aggravates socioeconomic disadvantage, rather than mitigate it.
This realisation left me feeling concerned because when I connected the dots post-observation, I wondered who would then be in a better position to take full advantage of 4IR? Would it not be the child that has access to information and the financial resources to experience education outside of the classroom?In part 2, I’ll explore possible solutions to establishing a relatable and accessible approach to communicating 4IR.
Author: Chumisa Ndlazi (Communications Professional)
KnowBe4 Africa goes continental with Cyber Security Africa
KnowBe4 Africa aims to make access to its cybersecurity awareness training platform easier for African businesses through CS Africa
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 21, 2019- KnowBe4 Africa is proud to announce that we are partnering with Cyber Security Africa as our African distributor. KnowBe4 Africa aims to make access to its cybersecurity awareness training platform easier for African businesses through CS Africa and offer a necessary solution to the threat of cybercrime in growing economies.
At the recent World Economic Forum in Cape Town, African business owners flagged cybersecurity as the biggest threat to a successful operation, with 94% of companies in Africa and the Middle East experiencing a cyberattack in the past year.
The distribution agreement between KnowBe4 Africa and Cyber Security Africa will allow for relationship building as well as provide local support on the ground for channel partners and end users. Considering the rapid rate of digital transformation in African countries, it’s vital that employees develop a security culture that will benefit them both personally and professionally.
Cyber Security Africa was the top choice as a continental distributor and has quickly established itself as an industry-leading Value-Added Distributor with a single-minded focus – the mitigation of information security risk for their clients. They focus their attention on niche, generally complex and certainly relevant security solutions that can utilized by organisations of all sizes and sectors. Lead by Martin Britz, Cyber Security Africa prides itself on being small enough to remain agile and large enough to apply a dedicated approach to each client experience.
For this new venture, Martin is assisting in the North and Central African regions. Gayle Britz will serve as the KnowBe4 champion and care for the SADC region. She guides a highly experienced team that includes Femi Ibine in West Africa, Susan Ndungu and Gladys in East Africa along with Andrew Ajuchi in Nigeria. Together, the Cyber Security Africa team will be able to provide support to business in close to 20 countries across the continent.
Cyber Security Africa founder, Martin Britz, believes great things are on the horizon for the fledgling partnership. “What sets us apart from our competitors is our keen understanding of this ever-evolving cybersecurity industry, with all its technologies, innovations, threats and solutions, positions us as “future-proof” to clients, while maintaining availability to attend to their more immediate needs. The offering from KnowBe4 Africa is unique and it’s exciting to be able to offer local training content that will have big benefits for African businesses.”
Transforming security culture
At the heart of this partnership is an authentic desire to empower and protect the greatest assets of any business: its people. Both KnowBe4 Africa and Cyber Security Africa focus on minimizing cyber risk for clients by educating their employees on how to spot threats like phishing, social engineering and training them with general information security practices. This fortifies the clients’ cybersecurity posture, saving them time and money while also drastically reducing the risk of falling prey to a cyberattack.
Anna Collard, managing director of KnowBe4 Africa firmly believes in securing a human firewall and creating a culture of security awareness in the digital age. “The human factor has become very important to the security of the organisation. People need to understand that if they use technology, they have to be cognisant of the risks. Organisations can support this understanding by investing in training that’s relevant, targeted and memorable. Training that can sustainably transform the company’s security culture.”
Whether it’s an SME, a healthcare institution or even a manufacturing business, there’s no doubt that all organisations will come to understand the importance of security awareness training. We certainly know that Africa is ready to make smarter security decisions, every day.
The Africa Digital Entrepreneurship Event Live in Johannesburg
The main challenge entrepreneurs are facing in Africa is not the lack of great ideas but the fear of turning ideas into reality. With unemployment in South Africa at an all time high, more and more people are trying to make their own way in the economy.
The Africa Digital Entrepreneurship events are about turning dreams into action. The series of events aims to enable digital entrepreneurship and the upcoming ‘Bitcoin Nights’ meet-up in Johannesburg on Thursday, 24 October at The Business Exchange Morningside, 150 Rivonia Road is a must-attend event for anyone interested in the digital assets space.
Business networking is the fast track to success and event sponsors such as Zcoin and OVEX believe that entrepreneurship is the way forward for South Africans. Jonathan Ovadia, Co-Founder and CEO at OVEX, a company helping to create an open, trustless and more efficient financial system says “the vision is to break down the barriers that prevent people from entering the traditional financial system. We believe that wealth-creating investment opportunities shouldn’t only be accessible to the wealthy, but should be available to all.”
The event is facilitated by the United Africa Blockchain Association (UABA), a non-profit leading blockchain education and adoption in sub-Saharan Africa. With the help of sponsors, The Africa Digital Entrepreneurship Series’ goal is to provide relevant content on business and technology that helps people learn and grow professionally and personally.
The meet-ups provide a conducive environment for networking and ideas exchange, and attendees can look forward to free drinks, giveaways and prizes. Other sponsors include Divi, which makes it possible for anyone to participate in securing blockchains through their one-click masternodes, challenging the notion that you need technical expertise to participate in the blockchain ecosystem.
Centbee, a digital wallet company that believes in the power of people to create an abundant future and æternity, a new blockchain technology, designed to deliver efficiency, transparent governance and global scalability are also part of the sponsors who see huge potential in Africa and are actively championing the digital asset revolution.
The theme of the Johannesburg event focuses on the Digital Asset Economy and anyone interested in tech is welcome to attend FREE of charge and benefit from the networking opportunity and inspiring discussions. Speakers will include Adi Kaimowitz, President and CEO of Virtual Actuary, Maushami Chetty of Novate Legal; Mpho Dagada – Commisioner, 4th Industrial Revolution at the SA Presidency; and Yaliwe Soko, Chairperson at UABA.
The event aims to inspire participants to increase their appetite for entrepreneurship and get more knowledgeable about the growing trend in digital assets. Africa is a market ready to adopt new technology but lack of emphasis on digital entrepreneurship opportunities in Africa might result in missed economic opportunities for the next generation. “It’s important to encourage the youth to explore the option of entrepreneurship as a career path instead of waiting for employment opportunities which may never be available to them.
Initiatives such as the Africa Digital Entrepreneurship Series focus on creating awareness and demystifying what it means to run a digital enterprise,” said Heath Muchena, Founder of Proudly Associated, a company working with companies developing blockchain-powered technologies that have use cases focusing on emerging economy development to gain adoption across the continent.
Whether you’re a student, professional or fledgling entrepreneur, this event will provide valuable insights and an opportunity to learn, grow, network and be inspired all in one. The meet-up will be a relaxed, no-suits-or-ties sort of event so expect to learn and be entertained.
“The Africa Digital Entrepreneurship Series connects up-and-coming entrepreneurs in all fields. It’s a fantastic way for those interested in tech and online businesses to build a solid support network,” said Grey Jabesi, host of the Grey Ave Podcast, Africa’s top rated podcast which focuses on survival skills for the 21st century.
By attending this FREE event, attendees will:
- Learn about new frontiers in digital innovation
- Find out how to leverage technology to broaden participation in the global digital economy
- Boost digital asset knowledge including digital asset acquisition and management
- Learn how to build a fully remote business
- Discover mentorship opportunities
- Interact with other entrepreneurs and build business networks
- Meet like-minded innovators and go-getters
- Be empowered!
Admission: FREE (Limited space so make sure you get there early.)
Date: Thursday, 24 October, 2019
Location: The Business Exchange,Block 4, 150 Rivonia Road, Morningside, Sandton, 2057 Johannesburg.
If you want to sponsor this event or for more information, contact:
Internet of Things (IoT): Kaspersky detects more than 100 million attacks on smart devices in H1 2019
Dan Demeter – Kaspersky (Image: Kaspersky)
This figure is around nine times more than the number found in H1 2018, when only around 12 million attacks were spotted originating from 69,000 IP addresses
LAGOS, Nigeria, October 16, 2019- Kaspersky honeypots networks of virtual copies of various internet connected devices and applications have detected 105 million attacks on IoT devices coming from 276,000 unique IP addresses in the first six months of the year. This figure is around nine times more than the number found in H1 2018, when only around 12 million attacks were spotted originating from 69,000 IP addresses. Capitalising on weak security of IoT products, cybercriminals are intensifying their attempts to create and monetise IoT botnets. This and other findings are a part of the ‘IoT: a malware story’ report on honeypot activity in H1 2019.
Cyberattacks on IoT devices are booming, as even though more and more people and organisations are purchasing ‘smart’ (network-connected and interactive) devices, such as routers or DVR security cameras, not everybody considers them worth protecting. Cybercriminals, however, are seeing more and more financial opportunities in exploiting such gadgets. They use networks of infected smart devices to conduct DDoS attacks or as a proxy for other types of malicious actions. To learn more about how such attacks work and how to prevent them, Kaspersky experts set up honeypots – decoy devices used to attract the attention of cybercriminals and analyse their activities.
Based on data analysis collected from honeypots, attacks on IoT devices are usually not sophisticated, but stealth-like, as users might not even notice their devices are being exploited. The malware family behind 39% of attacks – Mirai – is capable of using exploits, meaning that these botnets can slip through old, unpatched vulnerabilities to the device and control it. Another technique is password brute-forcing, which is the chosen method of the second most widespread malware family in the list – Nyadrop. Nyadrop was seen in 38.57% of attacks and often serves as a Mirai downloader. This family has been trending as one of the most active threats for a couple of years now. The third most common botnet threatening smart devices – Gafgyt with 2.12% – also uses brute-forcing.
In addition, the researchers were able to locate the regions that became sources of infection most often in H1 2019. These are China, with 30% of all attacks taking place in this country, Brazil saw 19% and this is followed by Egypt (12%). A year ago, in H1 2018 the situation was different, with Brazil leading with 28%, China being second with 14% and Japan following with 11%.
“As people become more and more surrounded by smart devices, we are witnessing how IoT attacks are intensifying. Judging by the enlarged number of attacks and criminals’ persistency, we can say that IoT is a fruitful area for attackers that use even the most primitive methods, like guessing password and login combinations. This is much easier than most people think: the most common combinations by far are usually “support/support”, followed by “admin/admin”, “default/default”. It’s quite easy to change the default password, so we urge everyone to take this simple step towards securing your smart devices” – said Dan Demeter, security researcher at Kaspersky.
To keep your devices safe, Kaspersky recommends users:
- Install updates for the firmware you use as soon as possible. Once a vulnerability is found, it can be fixed through patches within updates.
- Always change preinstalled passwords. Use complicated passwords that include both capital and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols if it’s possible.
- Reboot a device as soon as you think it’s acting strangely. It might help get rid of existing malware, but this doesn’t reduce the risk of getting another infection.
- Keep access to IoT devices restricted by a local VPN, allowing you to access them from your “home” network, instead of publicly exposing them on the internet.
Kaspersky recommends companies to take the following measures:
- Use threat data feeds to block network connections originating from malicious network addresses detected by security researchers.
- Make sure all devices software is up to date. Unpatched devices should be kept in a separate network inaccessible by unauthorised users.
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