Life increasingly lived in the cyber domain faces a new quality and quantity of threats, said security experts at the first International Cyber Security Forum for Energy and Utilities, which concluded here on Thursday.
As both individuals and nations come to rely on the electronic exchange of data and communications, the resulting interconnectedness creates more opportunities for disruption.
“The threat is sustainable, extremely high level and sophisticated, and has few economic limits, because it’s not very expensive to develop malware,” said Herve Guillou, CEO of Cassidian CyberSecurity, a provider of global security solutions.
“There is complete ubiquity, because you can attack from everywhere, and complete impunity, because there are no laws on the web. There is a need to very quickly grow the awareness of the governments and also all critical infrastructure and industry management to really do something about it.”
The cyber security forum brought together leaders in the industry, utility and energy sectors to discuss the necessity and best methods of protection against cyber attacks. The safeguarding of oil and gas infrastructure forms one of the cyber security priorities of the GCC region, said Andrew Beckett, head of consulting services at Cassidian CyberSecurity, which debuted an integrated solution targeting the issue at the forum.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work with local oil and gas companies on how to secure pipelines, how to secure the exploration and development of oil and gas, because if you can disrupt the pipelines or the supply, you can shut down the plant very quickly,” he said.
The UAE is also investing in cyber protection for communications and utilities, including water desalination and distribution infrastructure, the disruption of which would be critical to the local population. Khalifa University has partnered with Cassidian in the creation of the Cyber Operations Centre of Excellence, launched at the university in 2011, where students will be educated to develop solutions to particular threats faced in the region. — firstname.lastname@example.org