In a scintillating display of talent and innovation, a group of young technologists from KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa, collectively known as the "AlgoAtWork Mafia," clinched the esteemed People's Choice Award at the recent ITWeb Security Summit Hackathon.
The Hackathon, organized by ITWeb in partnership with Geekulcha, saw participants from across the nation showcasing their skills, tools, and abilities to address significant cybersecurity challenges. Yet it was the "AlgoAtWork Mafia" who truly stood out with their ingenious solution against phishing scams.
The team, comprising Alex Dodd (15), Jivesh Ramnath (16), Adelaide Hendrickse (15), and Guiliana Wright (12), embarked on this path after recognising a worrying pattern through their research. "We observed the struggles that the elderly encounter while using the internet and noticed that many were falling victim to various online scams due to a lack of digital literacy," they explained. The team decided to address this challenge head-on, targeting phishing scams, one of the most prevalent online fraud techniques.
Alex Dodd with the Team Chaperone, Mrs Dodd during the all night Hackathon
The "AlgoAtWork Mafia" developed a solution that monitors links sent via WhatsApp and classifies them as spam or legitimate, effectively warding off potential phishing threats. Their vision for future development includes leveraging AI and website crawlers to enhance their security solution's efficiency and effectiveness.
On their remarkable achievement, Alex Dodd, the team's lead developer, shared: "Winning the Summit Choice Award is an absolutely incredible feeling. As the lead developer of the 'AlgoAtWork Mafia', I'm immensely proud of what we've achieved, and I feel honoured to have worked alongside such a dedicated team. This award is not just our win; it's a win for every young person out there who dares to dream, innovate and make a difference in their community."
The AlgoAtWork Mafia captured during the presentation of their solution
Hailing from Richards Bay and Empangeni, the "AlgoAtWork Mafia" has been part of the AlgoAtWork Robotics Academy since 2020 and 2021. The academy is where they honed their skills under the research and development programme, actively working on hardware engineering and developing intelligent machines for various social and industrial problems.
Their success at the ITWeb Security Summit Hackathon stands as a testament to the Academy's belief that success in such initiatives is a combination of resource investment, strategic approach, and focused education and training. Furthermore, it sends a powerful message that age is no barrier to innovation and success, inspiring other young individuals to explore the fields of robotics and technology.
As the "AlgoAtWork Mafia" celebrates this milestone, their journey is far from over. We eagerly anticipate their future accomplishments and the innovative solutions they will bring to the world of robotics and cybersecurity.