Muscat: With the number of cybersecurity attacks increasing, regional and global cooperation is necessary to face the challenge, speakers at the third annual regional Cybersecurity Summit that opened in Muscat on Monday, stressed.
Organised by the Information Technology Authority (ITA), represented by Oman National CERT (OCERT) in cooperation with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), IMPACT and French business information group naseba, the 3rd Annual Regional Cybersecurity Summit opened under the auspices of Yousuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Commenting on the summit, he said, "This regional conference is very important for the Sultanate as it has assumed responsibility for cybersecurity in the region. The cooperation between the regional countries and other countries that have important interests in this region should be real. The Sultanate welcomes such cooperation, which aims to protect the common electronic interests from theft and other bad behaviours that could result in losses for the business community and companies, investments and others."
In his welcome address at the summit, Dr Salim Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of ITA Oman, said, "The issue of cybersecurity in general and protecting institutions' critical infrastructures in particular requires a holistic view. As the number of cybersecurity attacks increase, regional and global cooperation is necessary to face the challenge. The role of regional and national CERTs is to work together to develop plans, share experiences and discuss solutions."
Highlighting some statistics from Symantec from the past two years, Dr Al Ruzaiqi stated that the financial loss resulting from cybercrime is estimated at 110 billion dollars per year, and that 556 million people worldwide have fallen victim to cybercrimes. He further pointed out that the sectors most affected by cybercrime are the critical infrastructure facilities around the world. "Only by intensifying our efforts to develop solutions and strategies for the protection of such institutions can we win the war against cybercrime."
Chairperson for the first day of the event, Eng Badar Ali Al Salehi, Director General of OCERT, explained the importance of such a regional gathering and the impact it can have on the cybersecurity future of the region.
He said, "The conference is being organised to highlight key issues that are affecting most regional countries. It acts as a platform for everyone to come together and address these threats." He concluded his opening remarks by noting the importance of staying ahead. "It is important to learn from mistakes and figure out the motives behind cyber-attacks. But the main key is prevention."
The opening keynote address was followed by the address of Ilia Kolochenko, CEO of the Swiss Company, High Tech Bridge. While the keynote address discussed the importance of eliminating vulnerabilities and maximising efficiency in interconnected and interdependent infrastructures, Kolochenko highlighted how protecting all the classified information has become a top priority for nations and businesses all across the world.