UAE Ranks 1st Regionally and 4th Internationally in Cyber Security

Abu Dhabi: The International Institute for Management Development (IMD) report indicates that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was ranked 1st regionally and 4th internationally in Cyber Security up to rank 31 from the previous rank of 35 last year, in addition to achieving other high rankings in a number of categories of economic competitiveness.

This achievement in cyber security is a result of the attention extended by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) to establish a cyber security team through the UAE Computer Emergency Response Team (aeCERT) – a TRA initiative – accredited by the UAE Ministerial Council for Services, under Decree Number (89/5) for 2008, as the national CERT of the UAE.

Mohamad Bin Ahmad Al-Qamzi, Chairman of TRA Board of Directors, commented: “The TRA places great emphasis on cyber security making it one of the strategic goals in efforts to prepare a leading globally sustainable, secure and competitive digital environment in the country’s ICT sector. The TRA is committed to raising the efficiency of the aeCERT staff, ensuring aeCERT’s participation in all regional and international events, since such interactions increase the knowledge and expertise of the team members. We are proud that the team is managed by specialists with an Emiritization percentage of 100%.” The aeCERT provides 30 precautionary and interactive services under four sections: monitoring cyber-attacks and response; research and analysis; security awareness; and information security quality services. The members covered by aeCERT services (109 constituents/members currently) are divided as per the sensitivity of their information infrastructure. Governmental entities are given priority due to the nature of their infrastructure.

Ae CERT made significant achievements in activating early alerts notifying members of vournabilities in the infrastructure, attacks, and malwares that might target its members. The team continues to monitor information infrastructure in the UAE providing alerts to members and giving directions of how to mitigate attacks.

The team also participated in the information security Cyber- Security Forum, organized in the USA where countries participated in competitions for peaceful cyber-attacks, in which ae CERT came in 4th place. The team also launched many awareness campaigns including specialized campaigns for members, colleges and universities, in addition to judges, students, and parents. The total number of training hours totaled to 244 hours.

The TRA also focused on educating the UAE society about cyber security through awareness campaigns that targeted all segments of society. The TRA created the “Salem” character that extends advice through all types of media including print, TV, Radio, and social media in addition to making appearances at specialized conferences and exhibitions. A free application for tablets, such as the iPad, was also designed for these awareness campaigns.

The achievements extended to hosting large events and international conferences in cyber security such as Black Hat, which was held in Abu Dhabi for the first time in the region. The team also participated in the consultative committee for the first Cyber Security Forum for Energy ‘&’ Utilities. Ae CERT was elected as a member in the steering committee of the Islamic CERTs Organization in addition to its role in the GCC CERTs. Locally, aeCERT was chosen to be a member of the board of several universities in the country, and the TRA represented by aeCERT signed a number of agreements with public and private entities stating that the team would provide services to them.

“We are proud of this achievement in cyber security as the UAE was ranked first regionally and fourth globally. Considering the wide spectrum of countries covered by the report of the IMD, we shall find that the UAE ranking is a significant accomplishment that was attained by implementing the directives of our wise leadership. We at the TRA, consider this achievement as a reward for the work we do, and a catalyst to continue our endeavor to reach even higher rankings and positions in order to become known and recognized as a developed country by our international peers and other developed nations,” Al-Qamzi added.

The report covers 59 developed countries including USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, and others. The approach of the report, which has been published annually since 1989, is based on more than 300 indicators built on pillars including efficiency of government and business, infrastructure, and economic performance. It is also based on statistics and data derived from surveys performed in these countries.