Middle East was targeted by unprecedented instances of cyber crime in recent months
- United Arab Emirates: Thursday, November 08 - 2012 at 17:12
- PRESS RELEASE
In the recent months, the Middle East has been the target of unprecedented instances of cyber crime. From the crippling cyber attacks on Saudi Aramco by the Shamoon virus to the widely publicised and feared Flame virus, it is no coincidence the region has been at the centre of some of the worst cyber crime IT experts have yet detected.
Some experts said, "It is important to appreciate times have changed and so too has the motivation of such cyber attacks."
"We have to accept that today information technology is at the heart of our society and the range of possible motivation is much broader than crime focused on earning money or espionage," said Robert Schischka, Managing Director of Austrian CERT and also a steering committee member of FIRST - the international Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams.
"Attacks on industrial facilities have been 'out of scope' for a long time - and even today we can still hear some experts talking about 'security by network separation," he added.
And while staying up to date is absolutely pivotal, if the Middle East is serious about preventing such large scale high profile incidents as they have experienced in the recent past, putting up a united front has to be top of the agenda.
"In order to face emerging cyber threats and cyber crime, we need to strengthen regional cooperation based on confidence and trust. The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology can play a central role in the readiness and preparedness for cyber threats," explained Dr Sherif Hashem, Senior Cyber Security Adviser to the Egyptian Minister of Communications and Information Technology.
To this end, he recommends the setting up of a national cyber security strategy that covers the protection of critical information infrastructure.
And while the rhetoric of 'united we stand, divided we fall' maybe casually thrown about when talking strategy, companies understandably feel a sense of discomfort sharing information about highly confidential data.
"A key factor for incident response is to insure the right people get the right information on time. To establish the level of trust within the community to get sensitive information passed on in a timely manner in high quality takes a lot of time and effort. Trust can only be established by meeting people face to face and share experiences first hand," confirmed Schischka.
Such an opportunity for establishing trust by face-to-face meeting comes in the form of the Digital Security Summit on December 1st and 2nd in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Organised by leading French business information group naseba, it is connecting the most prominent information technology officials in the Kingdom with leading international product and service providers.
The summit also features keynote addresses by high profile experts in the field including Dr Sherif Hashem and Robert Schischka. The duo will also be joined by the General Secretary of Finnish Ministry of Defence Colonel Aapo Cederberg, who is sharing Finland's yet to be completed cyber security strategy: "Finland has utilised a unique comprehensive security approach concept including cyber security, which is very cost effective and can also be of use to other countries," he explained.
Such cross-country collaboration is at the heart of the goals of the summit as Nicholas Watson, Managing Director at naseba stressed, "Having international experts from Austria, Finland, Italy, USA and Egypt highlight the fact that the problem of digital security is global. Collaboration will be a key aspect as international and local stakeholders come together to secure the digital future of the Kingdom."
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