The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced the launch of the ‘UAE National Cybersecurity Strategy’ during a press conference held at TRA offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
The new strategy aims to create safe and resilient cyber infrastructure in the UAE that enables citizens to fulfill their aspirations and empowers businesses to thrive.
Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, TRA Director-General, delivered an opening speech during the press conference which was attended by TRA cybersecurity officials and directors, as well as journalists and media representatives, Emirates News Agency WAM reported.
Al Mansoori noted that the UAE is rapidly advancing its artificial intelligence, big data, and fourth industrial revolution tracks, driven by the strong momentum generated by a history of leadership and major achievements. He emphasized on the need for a national cybersecurity strategy as a main element in risk prevention and preparedness for security challenges in cyber space.
“If we want to draw a future perception of the UAE, years from now, we would see the features of the smart city where millions of devices and platforms are connected, producing massive amounts of data, many of which will be at risk of piracy or privacy violation,” the TRA Director-General noted.
“The cybersecurity strategy is based on a well-known reality, that cyberspace provides vast horizons and endless opportunities for well-being, happiness and sustainable development. However, it also provides a gateway for hackers and phishers. It is obvious that the battle between the two sides is a battle of knowledge and technology, a battle of intelligence, perseverance and patience. Yet, in essence, it is a manifestation of the eternal conflict between good and evil,” Al Mansoori added.
The development of the UAE National Cybersecurity Strategy is in line with current developments in the field, which are witnessing an increased number of cybersecurity incidents globally, causing significant losses in global economy. Last year, the number of reported data security breaches increased by 42%, while the annual cost of cybercrime reached US$608 billion globally between 2014 and 2017.
A presentation on the main pillars of the strategy was delivered by Mohammad Al Zarooni, Director of Policies and Programs Department. The participants then watched a short film summarizing the components of the strategy and its main initiatives.
The new strategy will have a positive impact on all segments of society by enhancing citizens’ confidence to securely participate in the digital world, encouraging innovation in cybersecurity, fostering a culture of entrepreneurship in cybersecurity, enabling SMEs to safeguard themselves against most common cyber attacks, protecting critical information infrastructure assets of the country and building a world-class cybersecurity workforce in the UAE.
To achieve these aspirations, the UAE National Cybersecurity Strategy will mobilize the whole ecosystem to deliver 60 initiatives across five pillars. Among these pillars is enhancing cybersecurity laws and regulations to address all types of cybercrimes, secure existing and emerging technologies and support protection of SMEs by developing essential cybersecurity standard for SMEs, mandating cybersecurity implementation certification for government suppliers, and building one-stop portal for SMEs to enable SMEs to implement the standard.
Moreover, the strategy will enable the ecosystem to capture the huge cybersecurity opportunity and tap into the AED1.8 billion (US$ 490 million) UAE cybersecurity market as well as effectively contributing to the AED18 billion (US$ 4.9 billion) MENA cybersecurity market. It will also work on developing capabilities of over 40,000 cybersecurity professionals, by encouraging professionals and students to pursue a career in cybersecurity, developing necessary cybersecurity capabilities to meet aspirations of the country, and fostering a vibrant ecosystem of cybersecurity training providers.
The strategy will also reward excellence in cybersecurity through a national awards program, by allocating six awards for entities and same for individuals. These rewards aim to encourage organizations to drive cybersecurity programs, inspire entrepreneurs to innovate in cybersecurity, support cutting-edge research undertaken by academic institutions and motivate students to pursue cybersecurity careers.
The TRA launched the UAE National Cybersecurity Strategy as the country is entering the fifth generation era. The Authority is developing the UAE’s fifth generation strategy 2020-2025, making the UAE the first in the region to embark on this initiative.