UAE calls for united front to combat global 'cyber pandemic'

With 2021 shaping up to be the 'worst' on record for cyber security, 69% of organisations expect cyber spending to rise in 2022

Governments, businesses and individuals should form a united front to tackle the “cyber pandemic” as the world goes through an accelerated digital transformation, according to a top cyber security official.

The call came as Dubai prepares to host the second Cybertech Global Conference next year.

The event, to be held on June 13-14, will gather executive-level decision makers and provide a platform for corporate entities, government entities, start-ups and investors to collaborate in dealing with dangerous technological and economic threats.

Cybertech is a very important platform. It is not only for communicating and interacting with businesses, but also for the research and development and academia sectors to come together and meet many internationally experienced people. This is what we are aiming to bring at the event,” Dr Mohamed Al Kuwaiti, the UAE government's head of cyber security, told The National on Monday.

“That's our goal: bringing many of those stimulating [factors] into the economy as well as securing that digital economy we are aiming at.”

Cyber security spending has picked up in recent months amid a rise in cyber attacks across the world. Almost 69 per cent of organisations expect to increase cyber spending in 2022, compared with 55 per cent last year, according to PwC.

The year 2021 is also “shaping up to be one of the worst on record for cyber security”, with organisations aware that risks are increasing, the study found. More than 50 per cent expect a surge in reportable incidents next year above 2021 levels.

Governments are also poised to counter rising cyber threats as they formulate adequate legislation. The percentage of nation states passing legislation to regulate ransomware payments, fines and negotiations could rise to 30 per cent by the end of 2025, compared to less than 1 per cent in 2021, according to Gartner.

Earlier this month, the UAE Central Bank also established a new Networking and Cyber Security Operations Centre to help protect the IT infrastructure of the nation's financial system against cyber attacks.

Quote
Cybertech is a very important platform. It is not only for communicating and interacting with businesses, but also for the research and development and academia sectors to come together and meet many internationally experienced people. This is what we are aiming to bring at the event
Dr Mohamed Al Kuwaiti, head of cyber security at the UAE government

Next year's Cybertech Global will also be an opportunity to create new business avenues, with sessions highlighting the applications of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, Big Data, the cloud and blockchain in key economic sectors such as finance, health, communications and smart mobility.

“We are all aware of the global cyber pandemic and the only way to stand in the face of this is to be together. We are now living in a world without boundaries; we don't know who is the attacker and what is the attack,” said Amir Rapaport, founder and chief editor of Cybertech.

Dubai hosted the region's first Cybertech Global, which was the largest security networking event to be held outside the US, in April. More than 60 countries were represented, with 40 per cent of participants from the UAE and 20 per cent from Israel.

Updated: November 16th 2021, 3:38 AM
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