At the Dubai World Trade Centre, the Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference kicked off on Monday 31st May 2021. The three-day event, which saw international specialists work on building regional cyber-security agendas, was the largest and most prominent of its kind in the Middle East. GISEC 2021 served as a critical forum for international discussion of increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks on governments, critical infrastructure and sensitive corporate data.
Huawei and Microsoft were among the companies that spoke at the event. The theme of this year’s conference was “Enabling Resilience in Digital Economies,” and it featured over 180 international speakers. Delegates heard about how international law enforcement agencies are collaborating to combat cybercrime.
GISEC was organised in collaboration with the UAE Cyber Security Council, the Dubai Electronic Security Centre, the Dubai Police, the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority, Smart Dubai, and the Investment Corporation of Dubai.
What we picked up
Society’s Increasing Reliance on Digital Technologies
During the coronavirus epidemic, society’s reliance on digital technologies has expanded dramatically, and with that increased reliance has come a heightened potential for cyber attacks. During a main stage event, Jiawei Liu, chief executive of Huawei UAE said; “More devices are being connected, and services are moving online as we go towards a more digitally centred society as a result of the pandemic. So in today’s world cybersecurity is more important than ever before.”
According to IT security specialists at GISEC 2021, the new work-from-home culture has made life easier for hackers due to typical mistakes made by everyone from large organisations to individuals.
On day two, Paula Januszkiewicz, CEO of CQURE, a cybersecurity organisation that collaborates with Microsoft, gave a keynote talk titled “Hacker’s Paradise – Top 10 Biggest Threats When Working from Home,” in which she explained how the transition to remote working has benefited hackers. Disabling firewalls and reusing passwords, as well as using overly simple passwords, are the most common mistakes committed when working from home, according to Januszkiewicz, resulting in systems being easy targets for cybercriminals.
In the remote working era, the IT security expert pointed out how a lack of server message block signing, trusting solutions without knowing how to breach them, misusing service or privileged accounts, and falling for “hipster technologies” allow hackers to make quick money.
The Importance of Vigilance of Governments, Businesses and Citizens
“Governments, corporations, and citizens must be more vigilant than ever as cyber thieves become more sophisticated and aggressive. Since cyber crime has no borders, organisations and individuals can be attacked from anywhere, it’s critical that we work together to develop ways to help us negotiate these challenges. Gisec is the ideal place to start that conversation.” said Craig Jones, Cyber Crime Director of Interpol during a keynote discussion around embracing the digital future.
Through regulations like CMMC (Cyber Maturity Model Certification), we’ve already seen some government effort to address the growing demand for formalised guidelines for cybersecurity standards and best practises. This policy will push the enforcement of contractual standards that have been in place for some time, such as requiring a verification component in contracts and allowing third-party organisations to audit enterprises to evaluate cyber-threat concerns. It’s likely that in 2021, corporations won’t be able to compete for government contracts because they can’t or won’t demonstrate a level of maturity in dealing with cybersecurity threats.
Cyber threats, scams, and government and industry attempts to keep ahead of these risks are likely to continue in 2021, as they have in previous years. In 2021, the issue will not be “will there be a cybersecurity threat?” but rather “how prepared are we to respond to an attack when it occurs?” The solution will be determined by the foundation laid by enterprises, governments, and individuals.
The Need to Protect OT & IOT Security Networks
During a live demo at the event Bachir Moussa, Regional Director MEAR, Nozomi Networks said “Traditional company OT systems are being redefined by digitalisation and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Unusual devices are plugged in and capable of communication, and OT and IT networks are becoming increasingly integrated. These growing attack surfaces have resulted in a significant increase in cybersecurity threats.”
The proliferation of attack surfaces has resulted in a significant increase in cybersecurity threats. Ransomware activities, supply chain threats, and vulnerabilities will continue to dominate the threat landscape. To secure their increasingly convergent systems, businesses must invest in modern cybersecurity solutions. It was highlighted during this interview that the water we drink, the electricity that lights our homes, and the transportation that transports freight around the world by sea, land, and air are all examples of critical infrastructure. It is responsible for dispatching our emergency services and ensuring that our traffic flows efficiently. It automates the production of everyday items and fuels the oil, gas, and renewable energy industries. It even manages hospital, data centre, and office building building management systems. Emphasising how a cyber-attack can have such a major effect on essential infrastructure.
At SaltDNA we have walked away from this event confident that by working together as a tech society we can continue to defend, teach and train people to protect their environments and be the defenders of Governments and enterprises.
You can start by protecting your most important business conversations and prevent your device from being compromised by using SaltDNA, to secure your messages and calls with your business contacts. Sign up for a free trial of SaltDNA or to talk to a member of the team by contacting us on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at saltdna.com.
SaltDNA is a multi-award winning cyber security company providing a fully enterprise-managed software solution giving absolute privacy in mobile communications. It is easy to deploy and uses multi-layered encryption techniques to meet the highest of security standards. SaltDNA offers ‘Peace of Mind’ for Organisations who value their privacy, by giving them complete control and secure communications, to protect their trusted relationships and stay safe. SaltDNA is headquartered in Belfast, N. Ireland, for more information visit SaltDNA.