UAE cybersecurity chief reveals most common mistake that leaves residents open to attacks

He points out that there is a shortage of talent and there is a need to build skills in the country

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File photo

Waheed Abbas

Published: Tue 17 Jan 2023, 2:23 PM

Last updated: Wed 18 Jan 2023, 7:16 AM

Are you using the same passwords in your office computer, your mobile phone, and on your home WiFi? This leaves you more vulnerable to cyberattacks, according to the head of UAE's cybersecurity department.

Speaking at the conferences hosted on the sidelines of the Intersec 2023 exhibition, Dr Mohamed Hamad Al Kuwaiti, head of the Cyber Security Council of the UAE Government, said artificial intelligence could also expose people to cyber threats.

“Our lifestyle is more and more dependent on technology. People use personal devices to check their emails and messages. The passwords used in those personal devices are used in work devices as well, which can make them vulnerable to attacks. This really needs to change,” Al Kuwaiti said during the opening speech.

Intersec exhibition opened at Dubai World Trade Centre on Tuesday with more than 800 companies taking part in the three-day show. The exhibition is divided into five main categories – cybersecurity, commercial and perimeter security, safety and health, fire and rescue, and homeland security.

“Be it home or things we do at work, there is a thin line between our personal and work lifestyle. We need ... collaborative efforts. We need to leverage AI on our side. This is where we need to win the race against such attacks,” he said, adding that there is a need to leverage innovation and create ideas to detect attacks.

He added that there were ransomware, supply chain attacks and phishing emails in 2022, and many of these trends are repeating and continuing this year.

Need talent

The head of the Cyber Security Council of the UAE Government pointed out that there is a shortage of cybersecurity talent and stressed that it is important to build skills in the country.

“Cybersecurity is an integral part of security aspects for which we are trying to elevate and upscale the resources. Cybersecurity lacks talent that we need, not only to know minimum aspects of cybersecurity, but also for cyber strategy goals, including laws, policies, procedures as well as build capabilities,” he said.

“We need the support of all partners to bring minds to inspire and aspire to what we do.”

He also emphasized on resiliency which has always been the focus of cyberculture. "We need to build up cyberculture and minimum hygiene for our resilience, safety and security,” said Al Kuwaiti.


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