New cyber security alert for businesses

Bahrain-based cyber security firm CTM360 highlighted the importance of cyber security readiness within the government, large industries and businesses


Key industries in the region have been urged to develop security strategies to combat growing cyber threats.

Bahrain-based cyber security firm CTM360 founder Mirza Baig highlighted the importance of cyber security readiness within the government, large industries and businesses.

He was speaking at a talk on cyber warfare at the Arcapita auditorium, where he identified four major areas: distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), website defacement, disruption of systems through encrypting data that effectively locks people out of their data, and wiping out drives that completely erases the data.

DDoS is an attempt to disrupt normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of Internet traffic, while defacing is where hackers take over a website and replace it with their own.

Mr Baig also said it was important for the community and organisations to fully understand the cyber threat landscape, including the best strategic response to a potential attack.

“The problem we have today is that because of all the technology companies and vendors coming to the customers they end up looking at every problem like a technical problem and they miss out on the strategic side, there are actions you can take that can minimise these attacks from affecting you,” he told the GDN on the sidelines of the event.

“When you get down to it it’s not really the threats you should be looking at, you should be looking at the techniques and procedures that people can use against you, at the early stage you have to look at what is the probability of being selected as a target and minimise that first.

“Look at your organisation from the hacker’s perspective, not just your technology or Internet facing infrastructure but all across your Internet presence.

“If you are on social media you have to see how hackers can gain confidential information about you from what people are saying about your technology outside the organisation.”

Mr Baig explained that Bahrain was in a better position to use its strength in cyber security strategies to promote its sustainability goals.

He added that if organisations changed their perspective on cyber security from being an obstacle to an enabler then it could help the country take more risks in business.

“Bahrain is on par with the rest of the world, I don’t look at it as one country being more ready or less ready, everybody is struggling with it, it’s a global issue that everyone is struggling to keep up with,” he said.

“We are in a better position in Bahrain because we can move fast and implement things much faster, if we leverage that we can be leading, not just in the region but the world.

“Security is an essential pillar of sustainability, so all your sustainability goals should be enabled by security.

“Your digital transformation should be enabled by cyber security, so use that as leverage rather than looking at it as a hurdle that can block or slow down business, the better we are at security the more risks you can take, the more business initiatives you can take.”

The GDN reported last week on the deployment of a new malware that targeted the systems at Bapco.

Between February 2018 and July last year over five million viruses and 2.7m spam e-mails along with over 50m data breach attempts targeting government networks were foiled by the Information and eGovernment Authority (iGA).

Bahrain has long been a target for hackers, with Internet security firm Symantec issuing a notice in 2014 naming Bapco among a list of possible targets of a cyber attack.

Bahraini authorities also launched an investigation in 2017 after militant groups with links to Tehran hacked the Twitter account of Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.

The following year the Interior Ministry announced that more than 40,000 text messages originating from Iran were circulated to disrupt Bahrain’s national elections.

Under Bahrain’s laws, hackers face up to one year in jail and up to BD30,000 fine which can reach up to BD50,000 if private information is leaked.

Bahrain also has a hotline, 992, to report electronic related crimes.

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