These are the top three cybersecurity threats in the UAE

Attacks increasingly getting sophisticated due to the rise of AI, expert says


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Tue 21 May 2024, 8:42 PM

Last updated: Tue 21 May 2024, 11:14 PM

The current cyber threat landscape in the UAE can divided into three factors — ransomware, data theft and phishing, an expert said.

“The main trends in the region and in the UAE follow the global trend. That the new emerging trend which we’re seeing is a sophistication of the attack of phishing using AI and we’re seeing it over here a lot,” Bilal Baig, Regional Director, Technical, MMEA at Trend Micro, said on the sidelines of the company’s Risk to Resilience World Tour in Dubai.

The Risk to Resilience World Tour, organized by Trend Micro at the Museum of the Future in Dubai, commenced with a keynote by Dr. Mohamed Al Kuwaiti, Head of Cyber Security for the UAE government. Dr. Al Kuwaiti discussed the shared vision between the UAE and Trend Micro in advancing cybersecurity resilience. He highlighted the introduction of Trend Vision One, a unified AI-powered cybersecurity platform designed to enhance the UAE’s critical cybersecurity infrastructure, aligning with the nation’s goals to improve digital safety and strengthen cyber defenses.

Baig delivered a keynote titled “Race Against Threats: Resilience in the Era of Modern Threats.” This session offered a forward-looking analysis of the latest threat research, highlighting AI-driven attacks and ransomware evolutions. Baig’s insights aimed to equip cybersecurity professionals with the knowledge to anticipate and counter these advanced threats.

The CISO session featured panelists Jordan Savvides, Global CISO, and Hadi Anwar, Head of CPX, along with demo speaker Oscar Castro, Regional Senior Sales Engineer, MMEA, Trend Micro and Bilal Issa, Manager Technical UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Levant, Trend Micro. This discussion explored the strategic advantages of minimizing tool sprawl and consolidating security controls. The session emphasized how centralized strategies can enhance risk communication and streamline reporting, demonstrating the benefits of a unified platform for senior security leaders.

Bilal Baig, Regional Director, Technical, MMEA at Trend Micro
Bilal Baig, Regional Director, Technical, MMEA at Trend Micro

In the SOC session, moderated by Dany Khalifa, Major Account Manager, UAE, Trend Micro, panelists Aus Al Zubaidi, CISO, MBC Group, and Eng. Meshal Abdulla BinHussain, Information Technology Director, Ministry of Finance, along with demo speaker Felipe Castro, Sales Engineer, UAE, Trend Micro and Bhavin Gandhi, Architect, Managed Service, MMEA, Trend Micro, delved into innovative threat detection and response strategies. This session showcased the impact of generative AI on SOC performance and the importance of integrated telemetry in accelerating threat identification and response.

The Cloud session, moderated by Mohamed Ibrahim, Director, Sales, Strategic Products & Alliances, Trend Micro, with contributions from Bashar Yaiessh, Senior Partner Sales Leader, AWS, Mohamed Khaled, Field Sales Engineer, Cloud Business, UAE, Trend Micro, and Felipe Costa, Sales Engineer, UAE, Trend Micro, focused on mitigating risks in multi-cloud environments. Key topics included cloud exposure management, container security, and workload security, all critical for building a robust defense-in-depth strategy.

In the Ops session, moderated by Sudqi AlAbweh, Regional Account Manager, UAE, Trend Micro, with insights from Kamran Manzoor, IT Security Manager, Al Ghurair, Amish Dabhi, Sales Engineer, UAE, Trend Micro, and Nour Kadry, Sales Engineer, UAE, Trend Micro, attendees explored real-time attack surface risk management. The session provided actionable strategies for optimizing operational defenses and reducing breach likelihood through exposure management and next-gen endpoint protection.

Wael Mirkhan, Sales Engineer, UAE, Trend Micro, discussed the long-term existential risks posed by quantum computing, supply chain vulnerabilities, and AI. This session emphasized the need for new security approaches to address these complex challenges, stressing that current methods are insufficient.

Eslam Saeed, Sales Engineer, UAE, Trend Micro, explored the dual nature of generative AI, highlighting its potential as both a cybersecurity risk and a valuable tool. The session covered malicious uses like deepfakes and automated phishing, as well as positive applications such as advanced threat hunting and custom guidance.

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