MUST emerge champions as its dominates in southern African university regional ICT cyber initiatives

Out of several teams that applied at African continental level for the Cyber 9/12 strategy challenge this year, only eight were picked, with the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) taking three of them and one of its team, Cyber Technophiles emerging champions.

When the eight teams met between September 28-29, 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa, the three MUST teams — Cyber Technophiles, Cyber Warriors and Cyber Elites, dominated proceedings by scooping three positions in the top five, in which Cyber Technophiles emerged champions followed by another MUST team on position two, Cyber Warriors with Cyber Elites taking position four.

Cyber Wizards of the University of Cape Town, were third with Cyber Monarchs of Botswana International University of Science and Technology on fifth; DSS05 of University of Western Cape claimed position six; Techno Team of Tshwane University of Technology scooped seventh position and 8th were D3COD1NG Army of Tshwane University of Technology.

MUST team Technophiles

Apart from the rankings, outstanding teams also won some awards which were also dominated by MUST by taking three of them — Best Decision Document to Cyber Technophiles; Most Creative Policy Response to Cyber Elites and Best Oral Presentation to Cyber Warriors.

The 4th, Most Improved Team, went to DSSo5 of Tshwane University of Technology.

Coach and lecturer, Allan Chongwe, said the MUST triumph was an easy ride, saying the teams worked very hard to achieve these results.

“All our MUST teams showed their prowess through team work and dedication,” said a proud Chongwe in an interview. “Members of each MUST team took turns in presenting and responding to tough questions from high calibre judges, some of them that flew from the US and Estonia.

“Other judges included professors from University of Cape Town and University of Johannesburg. Another interesting thing is that none of our teams had postgraduate students — they were all undergraduate students.

MUST Cyber Elites

“Yet, we competed with teams that were made up of Masters and Honours students. As a coach, I had to make sure that my teams do not lose focus but maintain the confidence they had during the training and preparations.”

Chongwe added that the excellent performance by the MUST teams was proof, if one was needed, that the university’s Bachelor of Computer Systems and Security programme was not just relevant locally but even at the international level.

One of the participating students who was also in the winning team last year, Tionge Mughogho, said the feeling this year was different from last participation, saying: “This year’s competition was full of pressure that only confidence in oneself could handle.

“This was because we had competitors who were Master’s holders in computer systems and prior to the competition rounds, they made sure to let everyone know about their qualifications.

“But just one sentence kept echoing in my head and that was what we were told before we left, that the experience of going there is good but it can only be made better and more memorable if you win.”

The judges

Tionge further said the feeling that they were not there in their individual capacities but representing MUST and Malawi, added impetus to settle for nothing less than a win.

“With this in mind, each one of us fought not just against the other teams but against our own potential to show that we can do better than we thought we could.

“As for me, I have been inspired to take on bigger challenges even where I have to compete with more experienced opponents,” she said, warning that the world will be shocked with the achievements of MUST students out there because there is just too much talent, skills and knowledge.

The Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is an annual cyber policy and strategy competition where students from across the globe compete in developing policy recommendations tackling a fictional cyber catastrophe.

According to the organisers, the Cyber 9/12 Strategy Challenge is a one-of-a-kind cyber competition designed to provide students from across academic disciplines with a deeper understanding of the policy and strategy challenges associated with management of tradeoffs during a cyber-crisis.

“Part interactive learning experience and part competitive scenario exercise, it challenges students to respond to a realistic, evolving scenario of international cyber crisis, analyze the threat it poses to national, international, and private-sector interests, and provide recommendations on the best course of action to mitigate the crisis,” says the completions statement.

“Through the competition, students have the unique opportunity to interact with expert mentors and high-level cyber professionals while developing valuable skills in policy analysis and presentation.”

The Africa region cyber strategy challenge took place in Cape Town, South Africa and there will be similar ones in Dundee, Scotland on October 18-19, 2022 followed by New York, USA on November 4-5, 2022.

Next would be Paris, France on December 5-7, 2022; Austin, Texas in January 2023; London, UK, in February 2023; Washington, DC, in March 2023; and Geneva, Switzerland in April 2023.

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David Chibaka
David Chibaka
1 month ago

Finally something better or to smile about from Malawi

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