Cybersecurity guru strengthens MUT’s cyber resilience, pro bono

Njabulo Xaba, left, and Jay Kay

The Department of Information Technology and Networks (IT&N) at Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) has taken the protection of MUT’s internet to another level during its Cyber Awareness Week 2022. This year, it used its relationship with a cybersecurity guru, Jay Kay, from Askaris Cyber Security in the United Kingdom.

Kay met Njabulo Xaba at a global cybersecurity conference in Johannesburg and a relationship emerged leading to Kay’s company flying him to spend a week at MUT empowering staff and students on cybersecurity.

The presentations by Kay were a culmination of back-end work which often put staff to the test in terms of how risk-savvy they are with protecting the University from cyber threats. Presenting on “How not to be a phish out of water”, Kay set the tone by explaining how social engineering works, where hackers use misdirection and confusion to make organisations vulnerable.

“The cost to a hacked company amounts to millions of dollars. Besides the costs, when the entire database is wiped off, it causes a lot of distress to companies. It is for this reason that when I leave this platform you should all have a buy-in into the fact that cyber training should be mandatory,” said Kay.

He cited cases where organisations have built up cybersecurity awareness as part of employee onboarding.

“Today, organisations need to start reviewing their policies such as working from home policy, password policies, and cybersecurity policies. Cybersecurity risks are looming everywhere, and companies need to be subjected to constant audits on their risk environments,” said Kay.

The takeaway lessons enabled people to understand various forms of phishing, ranging from smishing, vishing, smear phishing, whaling, and email phishing. Kudos to the senior director, IT&N and team, and particularly Xaba, for operating at an international level and negotiating with Kay to provide this training pro bono.