A 12-year-old girl who misspelled a word on a social media post, was bullied and harassed incessantly, causing her to drop out of school. It took six months of rehabilitation and counselling before she could go back to school. Meanwhile, she lost one academic year.

This incident was shared by Dr. Mohammed Hamad Al Kuwaiti, head of cybersecurity in the government of UAE, at the ‘Remote’ conference held in Dubai on Thursday. He recounted the story during a discussion about the importance of cybersecurity and safe online practices while working remotely.

“Crimes such as bullying, blackmailing, extortion, hacking and even ransomware have increased manifolds during the digital transformation,” he said. “In this particular case we are talking about children. Imagine what is the state of institutions that have a vast amount of data to protect.”

Educating children

He also stressed the importance of teaching safe online practices to children. “Education is one of the most important sectors where remote transformation has made huge advances,” he said. “So, it is important for parents and families to spread awareness about cyber security. Parents should sit with kids and remind them to be careful. Children play games, study, use AI and explore the metaverse. So, cybersecurity education is vital”

Dr. Al Kuwaiti also reminded parents to teach children the important of being kind. “There are all kinds of groups on Snapchat and all other social media that kids are on,” he said. “These are platforms that you share information on. The behavior on it must be ethical. Parents must teach children to have a sense of caring and sharing.”

He also called on companies to pay close attention to their cybersecurity policies by giving the example of a company. “Within 12 hours of a gap being detected in the company’s security, the gap was breached, and confidential information was leaked,” he said. “With a single click on a link, immense amount of data leakage can happen. So, conform to cyber security for a safe transformation.”

UAE’s strengthening cybersecurity policy

Dr. Al Kuwaiti added that the UAE’s cybersecurity system has been at the frontline, working tirelessly to protect the online community.

“UAE is going through a great digital transformation,” he said. “It is important to have a cybersecurity culture. With all of the digital transformation, there are vulnerabilities always open and the importance of having the right setting, applying the right standards and complying with the right policies is very important to us all.”

According to him, more than eight policies that have been announced by the prime minister's office this month in this regard. “[The policies] focus on cloud security, Internet of Things, , cyber operation centers, standard of incident response and information sharing policies across all entities.”

He also added that the cybersecurity department worked closely with every other department in the country including education and healthcare to ensure their safety. “We collaborate and coordinate to ensure those policies we mentioned are embedded in every service that they do,” he said.

Copyright © 2022 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).