Dubai Cyber Security Strategy: Is Dubai Doing Enough to Fight Cybercrime?

Cybercrime and hacker attacks have recently become a daily occurrence, as individuals and organizations across the globe are increasingly targeted by cybercriminals eager to take advantages of electronic systems vulnerabilities. In an increasingly digital world, opportunities for hackers will keep coming up, which means that governments and enterprises need to reinforce their defenses. With its new Cyber Security Strategy, Dubai aims to achieve precisely that – but is that enough to protect businesses?

The Five Domains of Focus for the Dubai Cyber Security Strategy

Dubai leaders have recently taken steps to establish Dubai as a leading cybersecurity hub that focuses on innovation and cutting-edge security tech, with the Ruler of Dubai and Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in charge of the new initiative. The project iscalled Dubai Cyber Security Strategy and aims to consolidate Dubai’s place as the most secure electronic city across the globe. The strategy will unpack in five separate domains. The first one has been dubbed Cyber-Smart Nation and revolves around raising public awareness on cybersecurity issues, the importance of staying safe online, and the dangers of cybercrime.

The second domain focuses on innovation and gearing research and scientific developments towards enhancing security and building a safe cyberspace that is free and characterized by fairness. Cybersecurity is the third domain, which focuses on data protection and privacy by implementing relevant safeguards, while the fourth domain is devoted to cyber resilience.

It will set cyberspace flexibility as its objective in order to ensure business continuity, and make sure that IT systems will be able to keep operating and properly fend off hacker attacks. Finally, the fifth domain is reserved for strategic local and international partnerships and enhancing cooperation in the fight against cybercrime.

Are Dubai Companies and Citizens Safe from Hackers?

The Dubai Cyber Security Strategy is a commendable effort and Dubai businesses and citizens stand to gain a lot form its implementation. Yet enterprises also need to take more specialized measures of their own in order to protect themselves from cybercriminals. These range from training employees to recognize and respond to threats, which is widely considered one of the most important aspects of an internal web security strategy, to technical measures. Companies need to install defenses such as antivirus software that protects against common threats and a WAFthat can filter malicious requests out of incoming traffic and protect on-premises and cloud-based web application from OWASP top 10 threats such as SQL injections.

Companies also need to improve the security of the data they hold by introducing technical measures such as data encryption and data masking, which add defense layers against hackers. Finally, they need to come up with risk assessment and response plans, so that they know how to respond to potential data breaches. Cybercrime is rising, and it is not only targeting government institutions and businesses: According to research reported on arabianbusiness.com on January 23, 2018, cybercrime affected more than 3.7 million consumers in UAE in 2017 – and cost roughly AED 3.86 billion (or $1.05 billion) in financial losses. This means that 52% of UAE online users have fallen victim to hackers and spent almost 48 hours on average dealing with the impact of the attacks.

The new Dubai Cyber Security Strategy is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. However, companies and consumers need to also pay attention to hacker threats and take measures of their own.

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