20yr Old Hacker To Represent Zim At An International Hackerthon In Switzerland
21 February 2020
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CUT Hackerthon winners

By A Correspondent- A computer whizzkid at Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) who was arrested for hacking the school’s examination results database has been granted permission to travel to Switzerland to represent Zimbabwe.

20-year-old Tatenda Christopher Chinyamakobvu, a Level 2.2 Information and Technology student will be representing Zimbabwe at an International Hackathon in Switzerland after the courts relaxed his bail conditions.

Chinyamakobvu is part of a three-man team who aced a hackathon competition staged by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) in Kadoma recently.

Chinyamakobvu together with Munyaradzi Muneka and Elvin Kakomo developed an application that can tell when an accident occurs as well as the gravity of the accident and its location.

According to Techzim,

…the application has a panic button that users can hit for minor accidents. In the case of more serious emergencies which incapacitate the driver and passengers, it then uses the sound of the car crash to automatically trigger the panic button.

The application is meant to improve the responsiveness of emergency first responders.

For winning the Potraz Hackathon, Chinyamakobvu and his team won the right to represent Zimbabwe at the #Hack4SmartSustainableCities conference organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The event will run from April 5-6 in Geneva during the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) Forum.

Chinyamakobvu’s legal troubles started after he discovered a weakness in the examination results database at CUT and ruthlessly exploited the loophole to forge passing grades for himself and his colleagues.

He initially changed his won results for the CUPE119 course which he took and failed during the August to December 2018 semester. He changed the result into a passing grade as he did not want to retake the course.

After realising how easy it was, Chinyamakobvu then started charging his colleagues who had failed some courses so that he could alter their grades. For this very valuable service, he charged amounts varying from US$20 to US$80 depending on the number of courses which need to be hacked and altered. At the time of his arrest, he had changed the results of 7 other students.

Chinyamakobvu did his hacking from an Itel P33 cellphone and a Lenovo Thinkpad laptop from his home in New Canaan, Highfield, Harare. The devices have since been confiscated as evidence by the police.

Chinyamakobvu’s luck ran out when CUT Information Communication Technology director discovered that Chinyamakobvu’s results had been altered.  The subsequent investigation led to his arrest.

He was granted  $150 bail on the second attempt after Chinhoyi magistrate Ms Mithel Mabika initially denied him bail saying that he was a flight risk.-statemedia