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Strathmore University launches first Cyber Security Masters program

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About three years ago, with Kenya continuing its operations against the Al-Shabaab terror group in Somalia, a mobile network operator in Kenya was upgrading its new customers to a new prefix when an engineer unknowingly erred leading to an unplanned collapse of mobile services in Kenya, lasting a couple of hours. The Kenya security forces were thrown into panic and the Presidential Security unit quickly evacuated President Mwai Kibaki from his office at Harambee House for fear of his safety.

This story was told by Dr Fred Matiangi, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Information and Communication during the launch of a Master of Science Information Systems Security program at Strathmore University to illustrate the massive impact cyber security was having in the country.  The program is now the most advanced training available for information security experts in the region.

“The threat landscape just became complex and more sophisticated due to the migration of government data and essential services to digital platforms. We have to take action to impart our information security professionals with more advanced skills to counter threats and vulnerabilities. The country, meanwhile, is losing more than Ksh 2 billion annually due to increased hacker activities,” said the Information and Communication CS.

Dr Matiangi said the Masters of Science program launched by Strathmore University was aligned to the national cyber security policy and noted that it had earned the support of over 10 advanced research centres funded by global tech giants who uniquely positioned @iLabAfrica to spearhead this training and research solution.

Strathmore University will leverage advanced security research labs based at its @iLabAfrica Research centre and technical partnership with Safaricom, Huawei, ICT Authority, EMC, Ericsson, Oracle, CISCO Academy, Softlock and Microsoft to avail world class research resources required for the program.

“As government and ministry, we are proud Strathmore University took a bold step to launch this program targeted at making our most experienced security professionals even better. At the same time, I want to challenge the police service and the Judiciary to rapidly move to equip themselves with modern effective cyber crime units to match emerging trends in cyber crime”. He noted that a Chinese gang arrested in Nairobi laid bare the sophisticated nature of today’s cyber criminals.

Dr. Joseph Sevilla, Director of @iLabAfrica, Speaking during the launch event said Strathmore University had established technical collaborations with leading industry partners in the region and will be supported by leading international faculty who are experts in this field to deliver the high-quality two-year Masters program. Classes will make extensive use of distance learning technologies to allow participation of students outside Nairobi and the busy Chief Information Officers who wished to study from their offices.  The course commences on 4th May this year.

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