UAE’s cyber defences need to be improved, experts say

Expansion of cyber security and cyber forensics needs to be at a rate that relates to how quickly sensitive information becomes available online.

ABU DHABI // The UAE’s cyber security and cyber forensics capabilities need to expand to cover the rate at which sensitive information becomes available online.

“The current state of cyber security in the UAE has been largely defined by two major factors – an evolving threat landscape, and the various regulations that have been put in place to combat those threats,” said Col Ralph Thiele, chairman of the Cyber Defence and Network Security summit and a former director of special projects for the German air force.

“The UAE is a highly connected society, and the internet has become an important tool for connecting the Government to the people and businesses.”

Matthew Cochran, chairman of the Defence Services Marketing Council in Abu Dhabi, said cyber forensics groups were very active in the GCC .

“The marketplace is saturated with offers of cyber forensics and each country is searching for unique solutions that can be tailored to their requirements,” he said.

“We have seen remarkable telecom technologies homegrown in the UAE, at universities like Khalifa University, that address this important cyber forensics sector.”

He said it was vital to have this capacity to investigate and prosecute criminal offenders.

“Think of cyber forensics as 21st-century fingerprints left by the criminals,” he said. “Having the right tools and experts trained in knowing what to look for to protect your critical cyber infrastructure and government is of paramount importance.”

Col Thiele said attacks on government websites in the UAE in July last year demonstrated how vulnerable they were. “The UAE’s computer emergency response team was able to address and minimise the impact of the attacks,” he said.

“Its forensics capability came to fruition, which means its capability to extract information and data from computers to serve as digital evidence. So the UAE has given cyber security a high priority to protect its critical national infrastructure.”

He said that technology evolved rapidly and cyber forensics professionals needed to continually keep pace and educate themselves.

“Government, businesses and citizens will depend on this expertise to collect digital evidence in order to prove and legally prosecute cyber crime and attacks,” he said.

cmalek@thenational.ae

Published: December 4, 2014 04:00 AM

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