The third edition of the Digital Pakistan Cybersecurity Hackathon 2023, organized by the state-owned non-profit company Ignite, kicked off in Karachi. The event is part of a series to bolster Pakistan’s cybersecurity capabilities.
Following the inaugural event in Karachi, regional rounds are scheduled in Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Quetta, and Islamabad. The series will culminate in a grand finale in Islamabad by the end of December, where the top three teams will be awarded a total cash prize of Rs 3 million. Ignite conducted five-day hands-on training workshops in ten Pakistani cities to prepare participants, covering various cybersecurity aspects.
Caretaker Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecom, Dr Umar Saif, stressed the crucial role of cybersecurity in national defence. He highlighted the progress in setting up Pakistan’s National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the establishment of a Cyber Security Authority.
Highlights of the Hackathon and International Participation
Ignite CEO Asim Shahryar Husain shared insights on the hackathon’s training workshops and their overwhelming participation. He proudly mentioned that Pakistani teams, Griffyns, Sudoers, and Airoverflow, previously part of Ignite’s hackathons, competed in the “Black Hat MEA” in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, achieving notable rankings.
The event also featured informative talks on cybersecurity by experts like Dr. Haider Abbas of NCERT and Fahad Azam from Meezan Bank. Engr. Prof. Dr. Bilal Ahmed Alvi, Vice Chancellor of Nazeer Hussain University Karachi, and Prof. Dr. Rabia Enam, Director of ORIC SSUET Karachi, also attended the event.
In his closing remarks, Engr. Prof. Dr. Bilal Alvi lauded Ignite’s efforts in transforming the hackathon into a national cybersecurity brand. The event highlighted the importance of secure coding practices and encouraged innovative solutions to combat emerging cyber threats in Pakistan.
The hackathon included a quiz competition and a 10-hour hacking contest, where teams from various universities competed, with the top teams being Revolt, M4Lware, and Sigma4. This initiative reflects Ignite’s commitment to fostering cybersecurity talent and addressing the country’s digital security needs.