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Five former Information Network Security Administration (INSA) employees have ventured out to establish their own cybersecurity firm.

Founded six months ago, Minas Cyber Solutions offers a range of services, including penetration testing, denial-of-service (DOS) attack prevention, digital forensics, account takeover remediation, and platform risk analysis.

“Cybersecurity is absolutely essential for any digital company,” Manuhe Melkame, CEO and co-founder of Minas Cyber told Shega. 

The five co-founders, each with a year and a half of experience at INSA, identified market gaps relating to security during their stay at Ethiopia’s intelligence and cybersecurity agency.

“Many startups underestimate the importance of cybersecurity. Nearly 90% of startups in the capital haven’t undergone a security test,” claims Manuhe.

Targeting this gap, Minas Cyber Solutions identifies and solves vulnerabilities in systems as its core business. The company is particularly focusing on platforms that are integrated with online payment options, as the risk is higher.

Manuhe adds that with the recent ratification of the personal data proclamation, cybersecurity has become even more crucial for tech startups. The personal data proclamation, designed to mitigate the risk of personal data breaches in the country, includes several important features, such as mechanisms to ensure the protection of individual and data-subject rights.

Manuhe claims that his team was able to breach some of the popular digital platforms in Ethiopia, gaining access to their users’ personal data, which violates the data privacy law.

In explaining the work Minas Cyber Solutions does, the co-founder stated, “We leverage advanced tools and technologies to detect, prevent, and mitigate cyber threats such as malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, and insider threats. Additionally, we provide real-time alerts, reports, and insights that help our clients make informed security decisions and enhance their overall security posture.”

Manuhe, a native of Ambo, has had a passion for computers since childhood. “I’ve always had a strong interest in technology and how things function.”

He later relocated to Addis Ababa and obtained a degree in Management Information Systems. Manuhe’s career trajectory shifted dramatically following his visit to an INSA exhibition two years ago. “I simply went to explore and network,” Manuhe explains.

“The expo featured a series of hacking challenges: breaching a designated server, locating a restricted file, and recovering a deleted file through digital forensics. Those who reached the third level were offered employment opportunities at INSA. I completed the challenges and was fortunate enough to be offered a position, which is where I met my future business partners,” Manuhe recounts.

He states that his experience at INSA equipped him with the skillset he utilizes today. “I developed my skills in the cybersecurity department, where we addressed cyber breaches.”

In February this year, INSA said it had successfully thwarted 98.56 percent of the 4,623 attempted cyberattacks targeting government and private institutions during the past six months of the Ethiopian Fiscal Year. Cyberattacks have surged by 115 percent when compared to the same period last year.

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Daniel, a writer and radio host, has a keen interest in technology. Additionally, he has supported various organizations by enhancing their digital presence in his role as a social media manager.