ACN Summit: Regional cyber war heats up

Saudi Interior Ministry cybersec guru warns against 'dark cloud' on horizon

Tags: Cyber crimeMinistry of Interior - Saudi ArabiaSaudi ArabiaStarwood Hotels & Resorts WorldwideUnited Arab Emirates
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ACN Summit: Regional cyber war heats up Dr Abdulrahman A. Al-Shenaifi, senior advisor of IT and security, CCD and SOC, Office of the Assistant for Security Affairs, KSA Ministry of Interior, said that in the coming war, it will not be missiles fired but viruses and worms.
By  Helen Gaskell Published  June 3, 2014

The senior advisor of IT and security, CCD and SOC, Office of the Assistant for Security Affairs, KSA Ministry of Interior, today presented on what he called "the dark cloud", which he described as "a very dangerous cancer", at the ACN Enterprise Computing Summit 2014.

Presenting a section titled "The emerging cyber security risk - the importance of staying ahead of cybercrime", Dr Abdulrahman A. Al-Shenaifi warned that a cyberwar is coming.

"In the coming war, they will not fire missiles, they will fire viruses and worms," said Al-Shenaifi. "Technology can spot missiles but cybercrime is the most dangerous weapon as you can't see it coming."

He also compared the prevalence of cybercrime to driving a car, as today it is just as much a part of everyday life, and he claimed there are one million victims of cybercrime per day, although he did not specify whether this figure was regional or global.

Also discussing cyber security in one of the conference's panel discussions, Nigel Hattersley, Middle East regional director of IT, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, said that, year on year, the requirements to be able to protect customer data and to meet standards have become more stringent.

"Every day we capture people's identity completely: their name, their address, their passport security details along with their credit card and payment type. So we have an obligation to secure that data."

Hattersley also noted that people are getting more and more intelligent with ways to access data in every field.

Al-Shenaifi demonstrated that there are 183m Google results returned for a search on  the term "hacker" and that they include advice on how to become a hacker as well as details on communities to join.

He believes that hackers want money and cybercrime is mainly financial, but cyberwar is political and with the advancement of technology, traditional security and firewalls are now insufficient.

Al-Shenaifi said that GCC countries say they're in control of cyber security, but he is not convinced. He said that cybercrime is on the rise and will cause mass disruption; cyberwar is coming and will cause mass destruction.

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