Fighting cyber crime in the GCC region

Mobile applications, web applications, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are all vulnerable, and attacks are more likely when using open, unsecured networks. Cities promoting increased connectivity need to make sure they warn of the dangers that come with this convenience.

With national governments on board, we can make our digital worlds more secure and work together to combat cyber crime. Together we can get smarter and protect ourselves from cyber attacks.

How GCC governments and organisations fight cyber crime

In Saudi Arabia, King Salman announced that he would set up the National Cyber Security Authority. He’s keen to increase the region’s cyber security efforts, build on the work done and protect national security. The Saudi Arabian government responded to the decree by creating the cyber security authority in October 2017 to better protect the country’s data, systems and information technology networks, as well as improving online security for companies and individuals.

Read our blog: Saudi Arabia creates a commission to battle cyber crime

In November 2017, many cyber security providers in Saudi Arabia hosted cyber security workshops. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation – headquartered in Jeddah – launched its own cyber security centre, paving the way for the Information Security in the Middle East and North Africa 2017 conference, held in Riyadh.

In the UAE, Emirates and Etihad Airways have increased the security of their electronic systems; in November 2017, Kaspersky Lab conducted several interactive cyber security sessions for Dubai school students; RSA Conference held its third annual event in Abu Dhabi, bringing industry experts from around the world; and New York University Abu Dhabi hosted the world’s largest student cyber security event.

In May 2018, Dubai hosted the Gulf Information Security Expo & Conference, the foremost cyber security conference in the Middle East and Africa, which is officially supported by some of the most important stakeholders in information security and technology in the UAE, including Dubai Police and Smart Dubai.

Read our blog: UAE sets world record as thousands meet to discuss cyber security

Qatar is investing heavily in cyber security in the public and private sectors. In 2016, the Ministry of Interior opened a cyber security centre to tackle the growing number of incidents in the country. This was followed by ‘Middle East Cyber Security Market by Solution’, a study by MarketsandMarkets, which found that Qatar “offers potential growth opportunities […] as there is a wide presence of SMEs that are turning towards cyber security solutions”.

Oman is the world’s fourth most cyber secure country, according to the Global Cybersecurity Index 2017. The index measures the commitment of 193 member states of the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union.

The study highlights the Oman eGovernance Framework: a set of standards, best practices and process management systems designed to enhance the delivery of government services.

Read our blog: Oman among the world’s most cyber secure countries

The GCC cyber security market is booming

Many GCC companies are taking a strategic approach to cyber security and taking steps to protect their networks and educate their staff and customers.

The GCC spent US$7.2 billion (about 27 billion SAR) on cyber security in 2016, and spending is expected to reach $11.4 billion (about 34 billion SAR) by 2024, according to a study by Goldstein Research.

The GCC cyber security market is expected to grow to more than $10.41 billion (about 39 billion SAR) by the end of 2022, according to a 2016 report by BIS Research.

Before 2020, the global market, including the GCC, will need more cyber security professionals, according to a study by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association.  This is a major skills gap that the Gulf nations must address. Businesses in Dubai, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain should be on the lookout for partners that can help them provide this expertise urgently.

How can my company join the fight against cyber crime?

Information security should be a key concern for you and your business. Keep cyber security at the top of your agenda and always be on the lookout for new risks.

You need to raise public and employee awareness of the threat of phishing and ransomware, be more innovative in your security efforts, make sure your backup systems are sound, and work hard to share knowledge and solutions.

Our Information Security & ISO27001 Staff Awareness e-learning Course helps your employees gain a better understanding of information security risks and how they can prevent data breaches. The course information is in line with the compliance requirements of ISO 27001, the international standard that describes best practice for an ISMS (information security management system).