Mike McConnell, former U.S. Director of National Intelligence and current Vice Chairman of Booz Allen Hamilton, delivered a keynote speech at the event, warning of the growing cyber threat facing the Middle East financial services sector and offered insights into addressing cyber threats to make information systems more robust. In tandem with the phenomenal growth in Internet connectivity and online transactions, the Middle East has seen a significant increase in cybercriminal activities, from both outside and inside the Kingdom, targeting critical infrastructure within the country.
McConnell urged the attendees to treat the recent cyber-attacks as a call to action to strengthen information infrastructure, educate users in security awareness and develop a framework for information sharing to be able to better confront cybercrime and cyber-attacks.
In addition to the SAMA workshops, HRH Prince Abdullah bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz, Chairman of Al-bilad Consulting, a strategic partner of Booz Allen Hamilton in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, hosted a private event at his palace where many of the Kingdom’s most distinguished industry leaders and government officials were in attendance. During this event, Booz Allen Hamilton leadership shared their insights on global cyber security practices and the importance of a cross-border cooperative approach to protecting critical infrastructure in the Gulf.
Commenting at the event, McConnell said, “The GCC states have become global hubs in finance. However, this growth introduces increased cyber security risks by threat actors who target this region for monetary or political gain. GCC states have already experienced significant cybercrime in the recent past, it is now more important than ever to ensure that these are not repeated.”
He also added, “Financial institutions are a prime target for cyber criminals, and as a result, they need to focus on staying ahead of cyber threats by developing the right human capital, developing appropriate training programmes and retaining the right skills and technology to properly access and protect corporate data.”
Booz Allen Hamilton was recently registered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Commerce and Industry to pursue business opportunities in the Kingdom in support of domestic economic diversification. The firm will provide services to government and commercial clients on critical issues related to the Kingdom’s development, most notably in the areas of cyber security, information technology, financial services and other selected infrastructure.
Tuesday, March 19- 2013 @ 9:47 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.