Earlier this month, the confidential personal records of over 34 million residents in the Indian state of Kerala were compromised in one of the largest data breaches in the world. The stolen data contained personal information such as names, addresses, birth dates, gender, monthly incomes, electoral card details, consumer numbers of power and gas connections. This massive cyber-attack has sparked fear and concern about cyber-security in the UAE and the Middle East.
Cyber-security Conferences in the Middle East
Staying ahead of online threats and how to combat these threats have been the focus of the recent cyber security conferences in the UAE. These recent conferences have set their sites on defining new security road maps and assessing the current state of electronic security, advanced threat detection and risk management. Additionally, the Dubai Electronic Security Centre (DESC) has organised an introductory session under the title of “Dubai Cyber Security Strategic Plan” to address the requirements and suggestions of various government bodies. These talks are aimed at developing the necessary strategic plans to address any risks, threats or attacks on government information in coordination with the concerned departments.
Primary Concerns in the UAE
The predominant concern for the UAE is the transition to smart cities. Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, DESC Executive Director, stressed that Dubai’s transition to smart services in the last few years is considered an international benchmark, which requires us to develop a strategic plan for cyber-security in Dubai. This will contribute to more secure e-services and will enhance the emirate’s ability to address any potential cyber threats.
“The strategic objectives of placing Dubai among the most secure cities electronically in the world will be only achieved through the participation and cooperation of all sectors and authorities in the emirate as one team, as per the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai,” Al Shaibani said.
Cyber-security a Growing Field in the UAE
According to a recent survey commissioned by the Raytheon Company and the US National Cyber Security Alliance, most young UAE adults have received career guidance in cyber-security. The report surveyed approximately 3,800 young adults between the ages of 18 to 26 worldwide. The survey, conducted by Zogby Analytics, involved individuals from the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and eight other countries outside the Middle East region. Among the youth of 12 countries surveyed across four continents, more millennials in the UAE are educated about the potential for cyber careers from teachers and know what cyber professionals do than their peers abroad.
“The UAE has long invested in creating diverse career opportunities for Emirati youth to excel across a multitude of fields, and the survey results are a testament to these national efforts,” said Chris Davis, president of Raytheon International Inc. in the UAE. “The need for properly trained cyber-security professionals to help protect against cyber threats is on the rise in the Emirates and globally.”
Earlier this year, Raytheon launched an international Cyber Academy. The first of its kind, the Cyber Academy offers workshops at Khalifa University aimed at developing talent in the cyber-security field. This initiative is part of the company’s various partnerships with leading educational institutions aimed at supporting the development of knowledge economies worldwide. Raytheon also recently partnered with the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington to sponsor the UAE Security Forum in Abu Dhabi, which focused on bridging the cybersecurity talent gap in global and national security.
These conferences and educational initiatives are paving the way for efforts to protect civilians from threatening cyber-attacks. While the internet has provided the ability to connect to people and information instantly, it has also left our personal information vulnerable to cyber attackers. Together, these initiatives provide the UAE with a platform to share knowledge, technological advances, and educational resources to combat this growing threat.
For further information about Cyber-security, you can get in touch with Alex Jenkins at https://www.alexjenkins.tech/