Cooperation is key for a safe and secure digital transformation

H.E. Dr Mohamed Alkuwaiti
Head of Cyber Security, UAE Government

With over 5.4 billion people around the world using the Internet, cyber threats continue to escalate. Broad international cooperation has become increasingly important to maintain a safe and secure online environment.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has positioned itself as a key supporter of cybersecurity development, both in Arab countries and worldwide. This includes sponsoring the largest annual cybersecurity event, which took place in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, between 8 and 12 October.

The recent Regional Cybersecurity Week 2023 focused on the theme ‘Cybersecurity Innovation and Industry Development’.

Participating countries issued the joint Call to Action Abu Dhabi 2023, underlining their commitment to advancing the cause of cybersecurity in the ever-changing digital landscape.

The gathering also prompted broader sharing of experiences, along with discussions about the most effective international strategies in the ever-evolving field of cybersecurity. The UAE Cyber Security Council organized the week in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Arab Regional Cybersecurity Center (ARCC).

Partnerships for a secure Internet

“The Regional Cybersecurity Week is a testimony of the impact that partnerships and collaborative efforts bring to the world, especially in what is now a critical domain with huge implications for the safety and sustainable use of the Internet,” said Dr Cosmas Luckyson Zavazava, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau.

The week brought together over 100 experts and speakers from 70 countries and 10 international organizations.

Discussions delved into the latest trends and developments, as well as the myriad challenges and threats in the cybersecurity landscape. Participants considered strategies and best practices for enhancing cybersecurity, incident response and recovery protocols, and initiatives to boost cybersecurity education and awareness.

This year’s edition also featured a nation-state simulator, with a virtual infrastructure model of the state enabling participants to gain firsthand experience of the real-world impact of cyberattacks.

Other highlights of the week included the 11th Regional Cyber Security Conference, themed ‘Innovation in Cybersecurity’; an ITU Interregional Cyber Drill, a FIRST (Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams) workshop, the 15th Annual Conference of Cybersecurity Centres, and the Arab Meeting of Heads and Representatives of the National Cybersecurity Centres in the Arab Region.

United for online safety

The Regional Cybersecurity Week 2023 is a testament to our dedication to enhancing digital resilience in Arab and Islamic nations.

The UAE Cyber Security Council has established a united front with ITU – the United Nations agency for digital technologies – and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) for coordination on information and communication technology (ICT) and artificial intelligence (AI) policies.

Our united front with ITU, the Cyber Security Council, and OIC members has never been more crucial. Key considerations like the role of Cyber Incident Response Teams (CIRTs), strengthening inter-state relations, and fostering a cybersecurity culture underscore our call to action.

This comprehensive strategy, ranging from fostering ICT confidence to ethical AI adoption, is our roadmap for the digital future.

Header image credit: UAE Government

Our digital transformation journey must be safe, secure, and resilient. We stand ready to champion and support this vision for the entire world, setting the course for a safer online future together.

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