Africa Hack OnWachira John
I love computer science; I think I chose it because of the power it wields. The power it bestows upon its learners; the power to create, destroy and protect. I was happily programming until I discovered another subject within computer science that I knew almost nothing about. That subject was cyber security. It seemed thoroughly interesting and so I thought, why not? Let’s be a hacker.
Imagine going over to your social media account to find a post under your name and you’re quite sure you didn’t post it. Imagine going online to find another you masquerading as you. Imagine, logging in to your online bank portal and finding your balance bearing figures nearing or equal to zero. Not that you withdrew the money yourself. Imagine there was a person watching everything you did with your digital devices. Imagine your private life made public. You can stop imaging because it could be true.
Whenever I heard about hackers, I imagined brilliant guys on computers in a dark basement somewhere segregated from social circles. Maybe I got such definitions from the blockbuster tech movies I’ve watched. What intrigues me about hacking is how a computer; a non-living thing, can be used to affect the lives of people directly or indirectly. Back in primary school, when we learnt about world wars, I cringed at the thought of people going hammer and tongs at each other’s lives. Now wars are more likely and are actually being fought on the cyber space front. The consequences might just be as bad as physical wars.
We are now in the digital age. Each day, our lives interweave seamlessly with technology and it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate the two. I can’t imagine a week without my gadgets, unless of course I’m on a vacation to the moon.
Late last year, I began looking into Cyber Security, the more I did, the more I got interested. I made deliberate efforts to learn about it and made my debut in the realm of hacking. The material I went through made me develop an inquisitive mind. I began developing third eye perspectives and asking lots of ‘wh’ questions. The problem with that is I’ve become unconventional in some way and though it might have been cool to me; it’s not always well received by the seasoned conventional folk out there. The upper side however is that I’ve been able to focus on what’s important.
So here was a budding hacker. My friends weren’t so lucky because they were my test subjects; ‘lab rats’ as a friend likes to put it. And it was quite the thrill. Soon I felt the need to connect with other like minds. I needed to be guided on this new field I was exploring. I scoured the net for anyone I could find that spoke a similar tongue. My search led me a to a TV interview. The guest on that show was an Information Security Consultant, his name; Tyrus. I later found him on LinkedIn and reached out hoping for a response. The response did come, in form of an invitation to a group called AfricaHackOn.
AfricaHackOn is a group that brings together cyber security professionals. They have weekly meetings which I began attending. During the two meetings I’ve attended, we’ve had speakers from the US talk to us about various subjects relating to Cyber Security. I won’t bore you with the trivialities of what the speakers said, but one way or the other I did learn a thing or two. Then there was the amazing team that I met.
When I met them the first time, we made succinct introductions and I found out that different people in the room had specialties in different areas. Learning never ceases to surprise me. You think you’re starting to get the hang of it when you discover you’re barely scratching the surface. Anyway, I’ll move with the rhythm, learn and learn some more.
The guys there were very friendly, I’ve began making friends. The guidance I sought has already begun. I’ve looked into what some of them are doing. Really creative and cool stuff, made me realize that hacking is also an art. It’s relieving and exciting to find folks who speak the same language. Last week, they went over for a boot camp at Multimedia University. Though I was not able to attend, I saw from the responses that it went well. I wish I’d met this group sooner. I’d have been far much ahead now. I’m not complaining though, will do what I can now that I have met them.
AfricaHackOn is making a name for itself in Africa. It is an idea whose time has come. It soon will be Africa’s authority in matters relating to cyber security. It is the hub that houses the best information security experts on the continent. Part of its vision is grooming new InfoSec professionals. I may not be at a level to mentor someone in this field [yet] but they sure would be in the right place with AfricaHackOn. I am watching this space, and so should you.
Check out their website on the link below
Find them on twitter using the following handle
Find them on Facebook via the following link