UAE Central Bank's new cyber security centre to combat financial crime

The operations centre will be situated at the CBUAE's headquarters in Abu Dhabi and serve as a hub to develop counter-measures against cyber threats

The UAE Central Bank has established a new Networking and Cyber Security Operations Centre to help defend the financial system's IT infrastructure against cyber attacks.

The centre will be situated at the CBUAE's headquarters in Abu Dhabi and will be the leading security operations centre for the country's financial sector, the regulator said in a statement on Tuesday.

It will serve as a hub in developing counter-measures against evolving cyber threats, which will prevent, detect and mitigate risks to ensure financial and monetary stability in the system.

“In line with the CBUAE's overarching vision, the CBUAE Networking and Cyber Security Operations Centre will strengthen the UAE's monetary and financial systems,” said Sabri Al Azazi, assistant governor for support services and operations of the central bank.

“As cyber security threats become increasingly sophisticated, it is critical that we have the necessary framework to protect our financial institutions, their infrastructure, processes and people from these challenges.”

The financial system has undergone a rapid digital transformation which has made it vulnerable to cyber attacks. The Covid-19 pandemic has heightened the risk of money laundering and terrorist financing, fraud, cyber attacks, bribery and corruption across the financial system, the central bank said in September.

Corporate users were the prime target of financial malware attacks in the UAE during the first half of 2021, accounting for 38 per cent of the 25,811 recorded incidents, as hackers exploited remote working vulnerabilities, according to a study by Kaspersky.

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As cyber security threats become increasingly sophisticated, it is critical that we have the necessary framework to protect our financial institutions, their infrastructure, processes and people from these challenges
Sabri Hamed Al Azazi, assistant governor for support services and operations, and chief operating officer of the UAE Central Bank

Victims of cyber attacks in the UAE lose $746 million a year to cyber crime, while users across the world lose $318 billion annually, according to research by UK data provider Comparitech.

The UAE has been relentless in its efforts to prevent such attacks.

Mr Al Azazi said the development of a cyber security information-sharing mechanism will be done in collaboration with the financial sector and international institutions.

This, in turn, will allow the new centre to “build greater resilience and preparedness of the sector and contribute to cyber security and sustainable economic growth".

The centre will also support all CBUAE-managed and operating systems, applications and services. It will establish best practice and guidelines on managing security threats and vulnerabilities to protect the information infrastructure of the nation's licensed financial institutions, and promote resilience and efficiency in the UAE's financial system.

Updated: November 5th 2021, 6:03 AM
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