Ministry of IT & Telecom and its associated company, Ignite, have launched Pakistan’s first nationwide cybersecurity hackathon. 1200+ individuals have registered so far. Teams will be competing in five categories including application exploitation, mobile device exploitation, network attacks and exploitation, operating systems exploitation, and speed programming.
Ignite is hosting the hackathon which will assist in improving cybersecurity readiness, protection, and incident response capabilities of the country by conducting cyber drills at the national level. The cyber drills have been designed with a dual purpose: to act as a platform for cooperation, information sharing, and discussions on current cybersecurity issues, as well as to provide hands-on experience to national cybersecurity resources.
Participation is expected from university students, freelancers, professionals, and hackers from all over the country. The organizations responsible for ensuring cybersecurity compliance in Pakistan are the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), and the State Bank of Pakistan. These organizations are partners for this national competition. This challenge will provide awareness and resource pool to these organizations to better safeguard the cyber front of Pakistan.
In the first round of the competition, 150 participants will be selected from each of the 3 cities (Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad). The onsite drill will be conducted in 3 cities (Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad) on different days. For the first round, the two-day activity of 10-12 hours duration has been planned. On completion of the first round, 150 participants (50 teams) will be selected for the final round which will also be a 10-12 hours activity (higher level of difficulty). A web-based dashboard with real-time scores shall be provided. Venues for preliminary rounds will be Ignite’s National Incubation Centers or relevant universities. Total cash awards of Rs. 6 million will be given to the top 3 teams in each of the 5 categories of the hackathon.
Speaking on the occasion, CEO Ignite Asim Shahryar Husain, stated, “Ignite is excited about hosting Pakistan’s first nationwide cybersecurity hackathon in collaboration with IT Ministry, PTA, SBP, NEPRA, and other partners. There is a shortage of 3-4 million cybersecurity professionals globally. Our goal is to identify and reward cybersecurity talent in Pakistan.” After completion of registration and shortlisting, preliminary and final rounds of the hackathon will be held in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad in October.
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