Zim hacker granted bail to attend Swiss hackathon

Read time 1min 40sec

A Zimbabwean university student who hacked his university’s results database and upgraded his and seven other students’ grades is to represent Zimbabwe at a global technology summit in Switzerland.

Media reports from Zimbabwe say 22 year-old Tatenda Christopher Chinyamakobvu, studying at Chinhoyi University of Technology, is one of three students who aced a hackathon competition staged by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe recently.

Together with Munyaradzi Muneka, and Elvin Kakomo, they developed an application that can be used to detect the occurrence of an accident, its magnitude and location to assist emergency responders.

The team’s win came with a ticket to the #Hack4SmartSustainableCities conference organised by the International Telecommunications Union and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, which runs from 5 to 6 April in Geneva during the World Summit for the Information Society Forum.

This year’s challenge is to identify and support innovative solutions to address cities’ challenges globally.

The reports says Chinyamakobvu’s selection to represent Zimbabwe emerged when his lawyer this week applied for his bail conditions to be relaxed, after the student was arrested and charged with eight counts of hacking.

Lawyer Tungamirai Chamutsa asked the court to alter Chinyamakobvu’s reporting conditions to the police, and to release his passport to enable him to prepare and travel for the summit.

The lawyer argued that Chinyamakobvu was not a flight risk as the state was catering for his travel expenses and stay in Switzerland.

The application was granted.

Prosecutors say Chinyamakobvu, a Level 2.2 Information and Technology student, first hacked into the CUT system after failing a module during the August to December 2018 semester. To avoid a resit, he hacked into the university computer system and gave himself a pass.

He did the same for seven other students, charging anything between $20 and $80.

See also