DIFC's regulator rolls out platform to help reduce cyber-security risks

System developed by DFSA alongside Help AG goes live in January

With the Emirates Towers in background, people arrive at the Gate, located at the Dubai International Financial Center, DIFC,  in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, July 12, 2006. More than three dozen international financial firms have set up offices in this Gulf city's futuristic new financial district, which is governed by its own rules, has its own courts and does business in U.S. dollars. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
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The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is planning to roll out a platform to help companies in the Dubai International Financial Centre implement appropriate safeguards to mitigate cyber risks.

The new system is the first regulator-led cyber threat intelligence platform in the region and will be operated and managed in co-ordination with cyber-security firm, Help AG — a company whose UAE and Saudi units were recently acquired by telecom company Etisalat. It goes live in January.

“The DFSA takes cyber security seriously and is increasing its focus on cyber risk. This initiative is part of a broader DFSA strategy to increase cyber threat awareness and improve cyber resilience in the DIFC,” Waleed Al Awadhi, the DFSA's chief operating officer said in a statement on Sunday.

The development comes as cyber security becomes an important issue in the region with attackers employing sophisticated technology to steal data.

According to Z Services, a cyber-security company, criminals on the internet were responsible for stealing more than $1 trillion (Dh3.67tn) globally last year. Of this, the Mena region's share was almost 20 per cent, which is equivalent to Dh734 billion.

Dubai Electronic Security Centre, the National Computer Emergency Response Team and the Computer Incident Response Centre Luxembourg are also helping DFSA with the initiative.

Other companies involved include Kaspersky, Palo Alto Networks, Cofense, and Recorded Future.

“The platform is designed to strengthen the cyber security environment in the DIFC, with an overarching aim of facilitating businesses in their cyber defences, in a more efficient and coherent manner,” said Bryan Stirewalt, chief executive of DFSA.

“It is reflective of the importance of public-private partnerships in combating non-traditional and non-financial risks like cyber security.”