The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) launched the UAE National Cybersecurity Strategy at a press conference held at TRA offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, in the presence of H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, TRA Director General, and a number of cybersecurity officials and directors in TRA, as well as journalists and media representatives. The new strategy aims to create safe and community members cyber infrastructure in the UAE that enables citizens and residents to fulfil their aspirations and empowers businesses to thrive.
H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, TRA Director General, presented the opening speech, followed by a presentation on the main pillars of the strategy presented by Eng. 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.
In his opening speech, H.E. 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. Al Mansoori said: “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.”
He added: “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.”
The development of the UAE National Cybersecurity Strategy is in line with the current phase requirements, which is witnessing an increased number of cybersecurity incidents globally, causing significant losses in global economy. Last year has witnessed an increase in the number of reported data security breaches by 42 per cent, while the annual cost of cybercrime reached 608 billion USD globally between 2014 and 2017.
The UAE National Cybersecurity Strategy has been developed based on the analysis of more than 50 sources of indicators and international publications, in addition to working with a team of international experts and benchmarking with 10 leading countries in cybersecurity systems.
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 5 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 AED 1.8bn UAE cybersecurity market as well as effectively contributing to the AED 18bn MENA cybersecurity market. The strategy will also work on developing capabilities of 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 6 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.
TRA launched the UAE National Cybersecurity Strategy as the country is entering the fifth generation era. TRA is developing the UAE's fifth generation strategy 2020-2025, making the UAE the first in the region to launch such strategy.