DOHA: President of National Cyber Security Agency (NCSA) Eng Abdul Rahman bin Ali Al Farahid Al Maliki stressed that the agency, since its inception, has developed policies, initiatives, and projects that are compatible with the changing cyber challenges and has worked extensively with state institutions to strengthen their cyber defences by responding to incidents and proactively monitoring threats, in addition to developing national policies, frameworks, as well as specialized awareness and training workshops.

In his opening remarks at the opening of the International Symposium on Cybersecurity in Industry, hosted by the University of Doha for Science and Technology (UDST) over two days in partnership with the NCSA, he noted that the world is witnessing rapid transformations in the field of cybersecurity today, as cyberattacks have become more complex and dangerous. He pointed out that these threats are not limited to data seizure or electronic fraud, but rather extend to acts of sabotage and disruption of national infrastructure that can directly affect vital sectors such as energy, health, transportation, and finance, which requires everyone, individuals and institutions, to be highly prepared and alerted.

He indicated that raising the cybersecurity level in industries requires an applicable and measurable strategy and implementation plan. In this context, His Excellency pointed out that the second national strategy for cybersecurity, expected to be launched this year, has paid great attention to unifying efforts with various state institutions, which will contribute to achieving the desired goals comprehensively and nationwide.

The President of NCSA explained that the academic sector has an essential role in preparing and qualifying graduates to understand contemporary challenges and prepare them to engage in the labour market quickly and to work on developing the required programs and initiatives. He pointed out that protecting the vital information infrastructure was one of the most prominent topics addressed by the national strategy for cybersecurity, and relevant initiatives and performance indicators have been developed for it. It is also considered one of the most prominent topics that require the efforts of various state institutions to work jointly to achieve it.

He said that one of the significant strategic initiatives undertaken by the NCSA is cooperation with regulators of vital sectors such as the electricity and water sector, by developing a road map to raise the level of cybersecurity for members of the sector and issuing joint recommendations between the agency and the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) in adopting the ISO standard for industrial control systems as a national standard and implementing training courses on how to adopt this standard for more than 60 members of this sector's specialists.

In a related context, Al Maliki added that the challenge we face is not limited to just protecting against cyber attacks, but also includes maintaining trust and transparency in building a strong and comprehensive cyber system. Therefore, the compliance and assurance programs carried out by the NCSA contribute significantly to bridging this gap through the cybersecurity service providers' accreditation program and Qatari Common Criteria Recognition Arrangement, which examines devices and applications and ensures that they meet local and international security standards, and follows the needs of the various vital sectors in the country.

He called on the institutions of the academic sector to consider these programs and laboratories and work together to develop them and build the national cadre to operate them during the next stage, to ensure continuity and success. He added that the journey toward achieving effective and sustainable cybersecurity is ongoing, and the NCSA is constantly looking forward to innovation and development in this field and works hard to address current and future threats. The NCSA calls on all partners to join them on this journey towards a safer and more prosperous world.

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