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NYIT hosts first Global Cyber Security Conference in Abu Dhabi

March 29, 2014 11:44 am

The Abu Dhabi’s campus of New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) held its first Global Cyber Security Conference, which was inaugurated by His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development. HE Sheikh Nahayan praised the interconnectivity made possible by the internet and insisted that we should all be concerned in protecting it.

NYIT’s conference welcomed cyber defence professionals, information technologists, banking and finance executives and others across these fields from the United States of America, China, the United Arab Emirates and throughout the MENA region.

It has been estimated that cybercrime costs more than $113 billion annually, with 378 million victims-more than the entire population of the Middle East. In addition, the UAE recently disclosed plans to nearly double its security budget in the coming decade, with most of the increase to be used for cyber security.

The one-day conference was held under the theme of National and Corporate Threats, Protection, and Education. Edward Guiliano, Ph.D., NYIT’s president since 2000, delivered an opening address, asserting that higher education is “a core component in heightening cyber security.”

Approximately 200 attendees, including faculty and students from the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) and other universities and institutes across the country, gathered insights from experts including prestigious keynote speakers, as well as President Guiliano and other NYIT officials, including Nada Marie Anid, Ph.D., dean of the University’s School of Engineering and Computing Sciences. Information technology experts from as far away as Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, a partner of NYIT in China, participated in the meetings.

NYIT has a history of hosting cyber security events at its New York City campus, but today’s event at Abu Dhabi’s InterContinental Hotel, held in conjunction with the HCT, was its first cyber security conference with a truly worldwide reach.

Keynote speaker Daniel R. Ennis, who runs the US National Security Agency/Central Security Service’s Threat Operations Center, advocated cooperation among governments, academia, and industry, in spite of challenges such as privacy issues, business competition, and governments’ traditional secrecy. He pushed for “a fundamental maturing of the public, private, and academic partnership” in order to provide cybersecurity, a mission Ennis compared to counter terrorism.

Another keynote speaker, Mohammed Al Ahbabi, PhD, an Information and Computer Technology (ICT) Advisor to the UAE Armed Forces’ Centre of Excellence, spoke on cyber security strategies at the national level, emphasising the importance of protecting critical infrastructure. He added that making the ICT sector safe from cyber attacks promotes a nation’s economic growth. In this context, Dr. Al Ahbabi highlighted the UAE’s efforts in these areas, such as establishing the National Electronic Security Authority.

The afternoon keynote speaker, Dr Parag Pruthi, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, NIKSUN Inc, described “the dawn of a new era” in which rogue governments seek political control over other countries by launching sophisticated cyber attacks.
Throughout the day, conference delegates also benefited from panel discussions about protecting financial assets and, perhaps even more important, training young cyber professionals.

Dr Tayeb Kamali, Vice Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology, said the cyber security conference will help to prepare UAE nationals for careers in the vital and growing field of security and other security-related sectors.

“The many students who attended the conference will gain valuable insights into cyber security from industry experts around the world. This will result in empowering Emirati students with the knowledge, skills and confidence to contribute effectively to our nation and to reach their full potential,” Dr Kamali said.

“We are pleased to be working with NYIT regarding this conference, which will encourage the development of the next generation of highly skilled security experts for our nation,” Dr Kamali added.

NYIT’s Abu Dhabi campus was established in 2005 as the first licensed and accredited American university in the UAE capital. Nearly 600 NYIT graduates, many of whom also attended today’s conference, now play their part in the UAE’s growing economy, working in private and public organisations across the country.
For more details on the conference visit http://www.nyit.edu/conferences/cyber_security_conference#global

For more information contact:
Paul Lancaster, HCT Corporate Communications
Phone: +971 50 616 0964