BUSINESSES in Bahrain could be offered protection against cyber criminals as part of a special low-cost service, according to a top official.National Cyber Security Centre chief executive Shaikh Salman bin Mohammed Al Khalifa said the centre was planning to negotiate with telecom companies as digital fraudsters are increasingly targeting small businesses which are vulnerable as most of them do not have robust cyber security plans or strategies in place.

“In the past two years, since the centre was established, we have dealt with all major categories of threats, such as denial of service, ransomware, data exfiltration, among others,” Shaikh Salman told the GDN on the sidelines of Leonardo Cyber and Security Solutions Day held at the InterContinental Regency Bahrain yesterday.“The trend today is fewer attacks on government entities due to our improved (cyber) security posture, and more in the private sector.“The online fraudsters are looking for easy targets such as small and medium businesses, and the centre right now is creating a standard to help these businesses elevate their posture.

”Cyber security refers to the complete universe of tools, practices, and rules that protect data assets from ‘malicious actors’ which could be criminals or countries with ill intent.Shaikh Salman said that the centre will work with telecom and service providers to offer low-cost service, namely cyber security solutions, to small businesses in the country.“We will work to offer this service at a low fee rather than burden businesses with extra cost.“Security services will be bundled to get more value, and we want to combine licensing (business) with the new service.”Shaikh Salman did not reveal statistics related to threats foiled by his team, but said basic awareness is essential to deal with the public especially with the growing digitalisation drive.

“There are four traditional dimensions in defence and warfare that include land, sea, air and space, but now the fifth dimension is cyber space,” said Shaikh Salman in his opening remarks at the event.“We have seen (globally) a rapid increase in malware, ransomware attacks and also hacktivism where we have politically-minded people using cyberspace to voice their opinions.”Meanwhile, Italian Ambassador Paola Amadei, in her opening remarks, said that cyber security was a matter of paramount importance and top priority for any country.“Italy and Bahrain share strong ties based on more than 50 years of friendship and co-operation, at institutional and private levels,” she added.Yesterday’s talks, attended by experts, focused on the importance of physical and digital protection of Critical National Infrastructure (CNI).

“With a strong convergence between the physical and digital world, it is key to enhance so-called Global Monitoring, where application of advanced technologies helps decision-makers to enhance awareness and speed up their reaction,” said Leonardo Bahrain branch manager Temesgen Foschi.Leonardo opened its Bahrain branch in 2011 and its key projects include the supply of two primary surveillance radars and three Mode-S secondary surveillance radars for Bahrain’s Civil Aviation organisation and Royal Bahraini Air Force, enhancing the safety and efficiency of national airspace management.

Last year, Leonardo concluded the delivery of the sixth and last naval unit ‘Al Taweelah’, part of the agreement for the upgrade of six Royal Bahrain Naval Force ships.During the conference, held in partnership with the Italian Embassy, the Italian-headquartered aerospace and defence international company showcased different cyber security

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