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Israeli minds feature at UAE cybersecurity conference

The Emirates seeks to double the digital economy's contribution to its non-oil GDP.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

The UAE Cybersecurity Council, in collaboration with Microsoft, launched the Middle East Cybersecurity Conference at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

The two-day conference will bring together CIOs (chief innovation officers), CSOs (chief security officers) and other key subject matter experts from across government and private sectors to share their knowledge and insights into the latest innovations and developments in cybersecurity and data protection.

Notable speakers at the event include Mohammed Hamad Al Kuwaiti, head of Cyber Security for the Government of the UAE; Michal Braverman-Blumenstyk, corporate vice president at Microsoft Corporation, general manager of Israel R&D Center and CTO of Microsoft Security; Dr. Tomer Simon, chief scientist at Microsoft Israel R&D Center; and Paula Januszkiewicz, founder and CEO of the CQURE IT and cybersecurity consulting company.

“The world is on the exciting cusp of a fourth industrial revolution driven by connectivity and digital technologies. With so much at stake, robust and effective cybersecurity has never been more important. In an increasingly complex world, technology alone is not enough to combat increasing threats,” said Naim Yazbeck, general manager of Microsoft UAE.

“It also requires partnerships, both with governments and industries as well as between governments,” Yazbeck added.

The conference will feature discussions and keynote speeches on topics such as the business of cybercrime as well as the future of artificial intelligence in cybersecurity.

The event aligns with the UAE Digital Economy Strategy, which seeks to double the contribution of the digital economy to the UAE’s non-oil GDP from 11.7% to over 20% within the next 10 years. The strategy aims to embed digital aspects into overall government strategies, ensuring that the UAE government is digital by design and that all capacities, structures and opportunities are integrated on a national level and aligned with the UAE’s strategic digital government vision.

The accelerating pace of digital transformation across the region has meant that organizations are facing a growing volume of more sophisticated cyberattacks.

“Today’s defenders are overwhelmed by the number of cyberattacks and sophistication of attackers. From simple phishing attempts to sophisticated cyber-espionage operations that compromise sensitive data and critical infrastructure, the threat landscape has grown in scale and sophistication over the last few years alone,” said Braverman-Blumenstyk.

“Defenders need new tools to help them move at machine speed. The rapid pace of innovation including digitization of infrastructure and AI will help shift the balance of power to defenders by empowering them with greater visibility and speed,” she added.

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