Shortage of security professionals hindering UAE’s cyber crime fight

According to the Cisco Annual Security Report 2016, there is currently a global deficit of one million cyber security workers, a figure that will increase to 1.5 million by 2019.

ABU DHABI // The UAE must invest in training its own security professionals as a priority in the war against cyber crime, as the global pool of skilled workers is shrinking, experts say.

The Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington said cyber attacks in the region cost US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) a year – an amount predicted to grow.

The institute said the Middle East was fertile ground for cyber crime, with its wide use of technology and high-value targets.

Mike Weston, vice president of Cisco Middle East, said that although there were more than a million cyber security positions available worldwide, the shortage of professionals to fill them was likely to grow rapidly.

The Cisco Annual Security Report 2016 said the deficit of cyber security workers would rise to 1.5 million by 2019.

“More and more organisations are looking to digitisation to compete in an increasingly global economy, while inadvertently increasing exposure to cyber attacks,” Mr Weston said.

“Organisations need to invest in the people, processes and technology that will enable them to become more resilient in the face of new attacks.”

David Michaux, of online security company Whispering Bell, said talent was a “big factor” in the UAE’s vulnerability.

“We seem to have a lot of thinkers who advise companies on how to change strategies and reorganise their security,” Mr Michaux said. “We need more people to do hands-on fixing.”

As the UAE forges ahead with its knowledge economy, smart cities and other ambitious strategies, the potential for attacks will grow, he said.

Amir Kolahzadeh, managing director of Itsec, a leading cyber security company in the Middle East, said 85 per cent of UAE residents were online. “The UAE is a major target because of its glamour and vision,” he said.

newsdesk@thenational.ae

Published: September 13, 2016 04:00 AM

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