By Rabab Zehra, Executive Editor, TECHx
The pandemic has taken us through an unprecedented phase of our lives, perhaps the strangest and the weirdest.
For many, the new normal—the shift to social distancing and being forced to confine themselves to their homes—was hard to cope with. But, thankfully, technology was the saviour.
Being always at the forefront, the UAE Government had been among the first to take advantage of the new technologies to ease daily lives for its residents.
Staying at home is no longer considered a necessity, but rather a choice, now that you can have everything delivered to your door, and can work from home for as long as you like since remote working has become normal.
However, it is an irrefutable reality that with the adoption of new technologies, hackers and bad actors have taken advantage of the growing digital usage. The UAE witnessed a 250 percent rise in cybersecurity threats across industries in 2020. This year itself, there was an increase of 29 percent in cyberattacks on organisations in the country, according to Check Point Research released in October 2021.
Interestingly, the weakest link or the most susceptible component in the cybersecurity landscape is not the systems or networks but ‘people’.
Dr. Mohamed Al Kuwaiti, UAE Government’s Head of Cybersecurity, told TECHx Media: “The most significant threat we see at the moment is not ransomware, gaps in configuration, or attacks on IT infrastructure. The weakest link at the moment is people. People who cannot understand technology can be easily tricked.”
Asked who should counter the cyberattacks, he said: “Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility, not just the government, an entity, or a company. It is the responsibility of every single person among us. This is a message we must inculcate to our children and society.”
“With this threat, there are numerous gaps. Those gaps arise from system misconfiguration, from not implementing multi-factor authentication, from not using the correct password combination, and from not using the correct factors of how to click on any link. All of these gaps are caused by the human factor.”
“The only way to protect ourselves against cyberattacks is to create a cybersecurity culture. We need to educate and spread cybersecurity awareness amongst ourselves, and that is what we require.” Kuwaiti added.