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| 18 October, 2017

UAE foils 561 cyber-attacks in first half of 2017

Image used for illustrative purposes,John Bumgarner, a cyber warfare expert who is chief technology officer of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, a non-profit group that studies the impact of cyber threats, works on his laptop computer during a portrait session in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Image used for illustrative purposes,John Bumgarner, a cyber warfare expert who is chief technology officer of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, a non-profit group that studies the impact of cyber threats, works on his laptop computer during a portrait session in Charlotte, North Carolina.

REUTERS/John Adkisson

The hacking attempts included 284 attacks on government and semi-government websites

The frequency of hacking attempts on public and private websites in the UAE grew in the first half of 2017, according to data that shows the country foiled 561 cyber-attacks during the period.

The hacking attempts included 284 attacks on government and semi-government websites, and 277 attacks on private-sector websites, Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), revealed on Wednesday.

In his inaugural address at the third Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) conference on Wednesday, Al Tayer said the computer emergency readiness team at the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) foiled the attacks in the first half that accounted for 53 per cent of the total attacks in 2016. "This reflects the high frequency of hacking attempts on public and private websites," he said.

The ERM conference was attended by Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani, CEO of Dubai Electronic Security Centre; Ahmad bin Shafar, CEO of Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower); and over 500 experts and specialists in cyber security and risk management from the public and private sectors.

Speakers at the conference included Jamie Woodruff, one of the world's leading authorities on cyber security and a prominent 'ethical' hacker in Europe; Christopher Gardner, one of the world's leading speakers of leadership and motivation in risk management; and Dr. Tommy Weir, a bestselling author and inspiring speaker about strategic leadership for the future.

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This year's conference's theme is 'Risk and Cyber Security 2017,' which is especially important considering the increasing challenges and threats resulting from rapid technological advances and the accelerated developments in smart transformation, Al Tayer said.

Cyber security has become a key requirement for smart cities. And organising this conference in Dubai emphasises the UAE's leadership in consolidating cyber security, to keep up with the widespread use of smart technologies and their accompanying risks, said Al Tayer.

He pointed out that in May, thousands of organisations worldwide were infected with ransom malware, which encrypted data and demanded a ransom to unlock it.

"Hypothetical cloud-service attack scenarios by Lloyd's, a global insurance market leader, and Cyence, a cyber-risk analytics platform, estimate that the average losses caused by such a disruption could range from $4.6 billion to $53 billion, but actual losses could be as high as $121 billion," added Al Tayer.

Dewa launched its security strategy 2021 in line with the Dubai Cyber Security Strategy, which was launched last May. The strategy provides integrated protection against the dangers of cyberspace and supports innovation in cyberspace.

He said Dewa has made significant advances in the development of its enterprise risk management strategy. Dewa is the first organisation in the Middle East to apply SAP Risk Management 10.1.

- issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com


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