IT teams at risk of being caught unawares by new OT threat, according to Microsoft’s latest threat intelligence

IT teams at risk of being caught unawares by new OT threat, according to Microsoft’s latest threat intelligence

New research from Microsoft reveals that attackers are increasingly making use of operational technology to gain new entryways into company networks.

Microsoft’s latest Cyber Signals report highlights how cybercriminals are using Operational Technology (OT) as gateways into an organization’s network. This comes at a time when IoT connections in the region are growing with the GSMA predicting that 1.1 billion IoT connections are expected by 2025 in MENA. It’s this growth in OT and IoT that has given cybercriminals more opportunities to breach an organization’s network.

Microsoft’s Cyber Signals report is a regular cyberthreat intelligence brief spotlighting security trends and insights gathered from Microsoft’s 65 trillion daily security signals and 8,500 security experts. The latest edition has found that converging IT, Internet of Things (IoT) and OT systems pose a wider risk to critical infrastructure.

For CIOs in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), the impact of a possible security breach is top of mind in an increasingly complex threat environment. This can be seen in the 11.2 percent rise in cybersecurity spending in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for 2022.

The growing rate of digital transformation within the African region is facilitating the emergence of new attack vectors and opportunities for cybercriminals. The Kenyan government has identified cybersecurity as a key enabler for digital economy. Kenya faces increased cybersecurity challenges and risks that threaten national security and the country’s digital transformation agenda. Cybersecurity statistics indicate that the number of cyber threats detected in Kenya has significantly increased in the last three years. The Communications Authority of Kenya reported 278,030,354 threats detected in the period from July to September 2022, an increase of 99.478% from threats detected between April to June of the same year.

The increase in digital transformation across the region has enabled organizations to manage their buildings, emergency systems and access control with smart devices connected to a network. In addition, we have seen an increase in IoT devices in the workplace to better enable hybrid work such as smart conference rooms with microphones and cameras. 

As the threat landscape continues to expand and become more complex, organizations need to rethink their cyber risk approach to stay one step ahead of would-be attackers. Cyber Signals found that there are currently over 1 million connected devices publicly visible on the Internet running Boa, an outdated and unsupported software still widely used in IoT devices and software development kits.

“Organizations are more connected than ever before. From the humble Wi-Fi router to the everyday office printer, IT teams need to view their IoT devices differently and secure them as they would any company laptop to prevent security breaches,” says Phyllis Migwi, Country Manager for Microsoft Kenya. “Gaining complete visibility of an organization’s OT systems and protecting its IoT solutions will go a long way in preventing cyberattacks.”

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New AI solutions and improvements to Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit

New AI solutions and improvements to Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit

Microsoft has announced a suite of new AI solutions and improvements to Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit. These solutions are designed to transform the nonprofit industry by helping fundraisers engage with donors, manage campaigns, and optimize operations. The company also announced a limited private preview for nonprofits to experience a new AI-powered fundraising propensity model. This model will allow participating nonprofits to test new AI tools that can predict fundraising goals and identify donors most likely to donate to a campaign or cause.

According to Justin Spelhaug, Vice President and Global Head of Tech for Social Impact at Microsoft, “AI can and will be a game-changer for nonprofits and fundraisers.” With these new AI solutions, Microsoft aims to empower nonprofits and fundraisers to achieve more and create a more positive and rewarding experience for donors.

Nonprofits often struggle to make budgets go further and do more with fewer resources. Since 2020, many fundraisers have seen a decline in the number of donors giving to causes. Data can help nonprofits identify promising prospects, predict donor behavior, and measure fundraising outcomes. However, access to data and the ability to form actionable insights based on fundraising analytics is a major roadblock for many organizations.

volunteers helping sort out donation items into a box, new Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit AI features announced

Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit new AI solutions

Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit now includes new tools such as a Fundraising dashboard built on Power BI’s data visualization platform, Dynamics 365 Marketing integration, and AI capabilities in the Fundraising and Engagement tools. These tools will help nonprofits leverage data in a powerful way to attract, retain, and grow their donor base.

In addition to these new capabilities in Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit, Microsoft is developing an AI-based donor propensity model. This model will help nonprofits identify constituents most likely to donate or engage with a campaign or cause based on predictive donor behavior. Interested nonprofits can sign up to participate in this private preview.

These new AI solutions are built on Microsoft’s trusted cloud platform, Azure, which offers enhanced security, scalability, and reliability. They are also integrated with Microsoft’s existing solutions for nonprofits such as Microsoft 365, Power Platform, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and LinkedIn.

In 2017, Microsoft launched Microsoft Cloud for Good to help mission-driven organizations get access to technology to do more. Click to visit to learn more about these new AI solutions for nonprofits. Here is how nonprofits in Africa can benefit from the offer.

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Young African Leaders Initiative and Microsoft Africa Development Centre partner to improve youth digital skills

Young African Leaders Initiative and Microsoft Africa Development Centre partner to improve youth digital skills

The Microsoft Africa Development Centre (ADC) and the Young African Leaders Initiative Regional Leadership Centre East Africa (YALI) have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate to provide digital skills programs and solutions to young leaders in the region.

According to the MoU, the ADC will provide YALI participants with capacity-building opportunities in digital skills such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, access to its innovation hub at the Microsoft Garage and avail mentorship and training opportunities. YALI, for its part, will collaborate with Microsoft ADC to develop the digital skills programs and will avail training participants and its alumni for training and idea competitions. The YALI alumni will also seek to spread Microsoft’s digital literacy training to other youth.

Kenyatta University VC and Microsoft ADC MD shaking hands on MOU to bring digital skills to the Young African Leaders Initiative

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Catherine Muraga, the ADC Managing Director, noted that the partnership is another step in the organisation’s mission to improve digital skilling for African youth.

“Partnerships are a vital part of our mission as Microsoft to empower everyone to do more. YALI provides essential skills to build a better future, and we are excited to contribute to improving digital skills among their participants. Preparing young leaders with the knowledge to excel within an increasingly digital-first landscape is a great way to set the continent up for success within the global economy,” said Muraga.

Housed at the Kenyatta University for the East Africa region, YALI participants will benefit from skills-building programs co-created by ADC with the intention of improving their digital capabilities as part of their training to add more excellent value to society through sustainably impacting both public and private sector.

Prof. Paul Wainaina, the Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor, said: “The engagement between the Young African Leaders Initiative and the ADC is an opportunity to grow the digital skills of our trainees while augmenting the vision and goals of both YALI and the ADC. It is also a great opportunity to engage in designing training modules for our program’s current and future participants.”

The Africa Development Centre, Microsoft’s premier engineering arm in Africa, is already implementing various projects to improve digital skills, including the recently concluded Game of Learners university coding competition and several other initiatives from the elementary school level into the workplace.

“Our digital skilling efforts align with YALI’s vision of providing access to all emerging leaders regardless of socio-economic status. We are actively investing in creating and fulfilling opportunities for all Africans in the drive towards continental digital transformation,” added Muraga.

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Microsoft to host maiden Xbox Game Studios Game Camp in Africa

Microsoft to host maiden Xbox Game Studios Game Camp in Africa

Microsoft’s Africa Transformation Office (ATO) is announcing a two-day Xbox Game Studios Game Camp in Africa. To empower African creators to realize their potential in the gaming industry through unique learning experiences from industry leaders. The conference will run from July 15th – 16th, 2023.

The two full days events are themed “The Journey of a Game” and will offer multiple perspectives on the complex craft of game development. In addition, there will be online learning components to the camp, which will allow participants to engage with focused training modules on topics that align closely with their skills and interests, before and after the event.

While the camp is available online for all registered campers, Game Camp will also host in-person viewing events for 100 selected campers at the Microsoft campuses in Cairo, Johannesburg, Lagos, and Nairobi. These sites will offer viewing parties on-site panel sessions and opportunities to meet with Microsoft and Xbox personnel. Furthermore, teams or individuals with games to pitch are encouraged to do so.

Game Camp Africa on xbox controller logo as Microsoft hosts Xbox Game Camp in Africa

To participate, individuals must be of legal age, reside in any country on the African continent, and be studying or working part or full-time in the field of software development, visual arts, 3D, music and audio, web design, narrative design, or professional project management. See the complete list of participation requirements at

At Xbox, we’re on a mission to bring the joy and community of gaming to the world’s 3 billion gamers and we recognize that Africa is home to the largest population of youth in the world, many who love to play. In 2019 I attended the opening of our Africa Development Centre and met with tech leaders, educators, and developers from across the region to understand their vision for the future of game creation. Through the inaugural Xbox Game Studios Camp Africa, in collaboration with Microsoft’s Africa Transformation Office, we have an opportunity to continue to deepen our relationships with talented developers in region and help African games studios realize their vision and role in the global gaming industry,” said Phil Spencer, CEO, Gaming at Microsoft.

The Xbox Game Studios Game Camp program is an initiative that unifies various Xbox initiatives under one umbrella where talent is celebrated and game developers are empowered to pursue their dreams.

At Microsoft, we are excited to enable African game developers and creators to build faster through access to tools and resources, and to help their games be discovered by players in Africa and around the world. We want to grow strong roots in this significant market for gaming and game development. The ATO and Xbox personnel will also combine efforts to identify game studios to invest in through our Startups acceleration program and venture capital investment partners. I’m looking forward to seeing what innovative concepts this Game Camp produces,” says Wael Elkabbany, Strategic Initiatives Lead for Microsoft CEMA.

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The top 10 biggest events in AI in the month of March

The top 10 biggest events in AI in the month of March

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most exciting and rapidly evolving fields of technology today. Every month, there are new developments, breakthroughs and events that showcase the potential and impact of AI on various domains and industries. In this blog post, we will highlight some of the top 10 biggest AI events in March 2023.

AI UK 2023: This is a two-day event hosted by The Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data science and AI, on 21-22 March 2023 in London. The event will feature keynote speakers, panel discussions, workshops and demonstrations on how data science and AI can be used to solve real-world challenges in health, education, security, environment and more.

Big Data & AI World 2023: This is a large-scale exhibition and conference that will take place on 8-9 March 2023 at ExCeL London. The event will bring together thousands of technologists, data specialists and AI pioneers to explore the latest trends, innovations and solutions in big data and AI.

ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction: This is a premier interdisciplinary conference that covers all aspects of human-robot interaction (HRI), such as social robotics, collaborative robotics, assistive robotics, ethical issues and more. The conference will take place on 13-16 March 2023 in Stockholm, Sweden.

Intelligent Automation Middle East 2023: This is a regional event that focuses on how intelligent automation technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP) and computer vision (CV) can transform businesses and industries in the Middle East region. The event will take place on 8-9 March 2023 in Muscat, Oman.

The European Chatbot & Conversational AI Summit: This is a dedicated event that showcases how chatbots and conversational AI can enhance customer experience, engagement and loyalty across various sectors such as retail, banking, travel and more. The event will take place on 15-16 March 2023 in Edinburgh, UK.

3rd Annual Conversational AI Summit 2023: This is another event that focuses on chatbots and conversational AI but with a global perspective. The event will feature speakers from leading companies such as Google Assistant, Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, IBM Watson and more. The event will take place on 14-15 March 2023 in Dubai, UAE.

AI for Good Global Summit 2023: This is an annual event organized by ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies, in collaboration with other UN agencies and partners. The event aims to leverage AI to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and address global challenges such as poverty, health, education, environment and peace. The event will take place on 28-31 March 2023 in Geneva, Switzerland.

AI Expo Africa 2023: This is Africa’s largest business-focused AI trade show and conference that connects buyers, suppliers, innovators and investors across the continent. The event showcases how AI can be applied to various sectors such as agriculture, finance, healthcare, manufacturing, mining and more. The event will take place on 6-8 March 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa.

ReWork Deep Learning Summit Boston 2023: This is an influential summit that brings together experts from academia and industry to share their insights and research on deep learning applications such as computer vision (NLP), generative models (reinforcement learning). The summit also features workshops (networking sessions) to foster collaboration (innovation). The summit will take place on 23-24 March (Boston), USA.

Women In Data Science Conference (WiDS) 2023: This is a global initiative that aims to inspire (educate) women (girls) about careers (opportunities) in data science (AI). The initiative hosts an annual conference at Stanford University (live-streamed worldwide), as well as regional events (podcasts)throughout the year. The conference features speakers from diverse backgrounds (industries),

Here are the AI events in March 2023 you can check out.

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