3rd GISEC drives agenda on protecting emerging smart cities

April 19, 2015 7:58 am

During GISEC.

As smart city developments – which include critical and complex ICT implementations – rapidly expand across the globe, vulnerability to malicious attacks and unintentional incidents are cause for great concern.

A cyberattack on a smart city’s mainframe and network can compromise vital private and public sector services such as utilities, transportation and banking.

It is therefore essential that core processes, utility systems, and data applications are custom-fit with defence solutions that protect them from any and all kinds of cyberattacks. A MarketsandMarkets 2015 report forecasts that the cumulative value of the global smart cities will reach $30 trillion to $40 trillion over the next 20 years.

Highlighting these concerns in securing smart and connected cities, the 3rd Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference (GISEC), the region’s leading I.T. security platform, will bring together global senior public sector officials to the all-new ‘Safe Cities Briefing Day’. Scheduled on 26 April, the first day of GISEC, the briefing day will highlight and discuss the world’s best practices for safe cities and review the latest policies, plans and procurements designed to make cities safe.

The Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition based in the U.S.A. aimed at advancing Smart City development and innovation, defines a Smart City as one that has digital technology embedded across all city functions. As technology enables a host of new services over common platforms, cities must be cautious about what to bring online, to maintain privacy for its citizens and to protect them from cyberattacks.

According to Colonel Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi, General Director of Smart Services at Dubai Police and a keynote speaker at the ‘Safe Cities Briefing Day,’ Dubai needs to factor in how deeply the city infrastructure and service lifecycles will be impacted by the Internet of Things (IoT). “The fact that all systems connected to the internet appear vulnerable to cyberattacks is quite alarming, especially within the context of smart cities. As systems grow more complex and become more interconnected when handling more information, their exposure to vulnerabilities increases, whether due to malicious intent or human error,” said Alrazooqi, who will speak at GISEC about how to provide a safe and secure environment for future cities through smart technologies.

“Dubai Police Smart Services Department is working tirelessly on developing solutions with robust, embedded cybersecurity and mitigation strategies in case of an attack or the loss of data. We specialise in building services, architectures and applications that leverage smart city information platforms. This is practiced with the highest security standards such as the Information Security Management Systems or the ISO-27000 series and other certified policies, in order to guarantee service availability, security and continuity,” he added.

Building a safe city entails several measurements to ensure that a smart city is equipped with advanced and critical national infrastructures. Dr. Amirudin Abdul Wahab, Chief Executive Officer, Cybersecurity Malaysia, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, explained that being a smart city does not necessarily increase incidents of attacks, however, he emphasised that it has to be well-equipped to combat future cyberattacks and cybercrimes.

“The Safe Cities Index released by The Economist Intelligence Unit measures the relative level of safety of a diverse mix of the world’s leading cities using four main categories of safety: digital security, health security, infrastructure safety and personal safety. The Digital Security component measures the extent of resources dedicated to ensure that citizens can use the internet and other digital technologies without fear of privacy violations or identity theft,” said Wahab who will tackle how to stay ahead of emerging information security threats at the Safe Cities Briefing Day.

Furthermore, Tareque Choudhury, Head of Security, BT Middle East and Africa, said that “Dubai has the potential to be one of the most advanced digital cities in the world and it has people with required skills who are capable of building and maintaining a world-class Cybersecurity Centre of Excellence.” He also added that the UAE has a sophisticated and reliable Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) that deals with threats coming into the country. “The government is committed to integrating extra measures to provide advanced capabilities to already existing threat monitoring,” Choudhury said.

Currently, the Dubai Police serves as an integral part of the Dubai government’s strategy to achieve its Smart City Goal. The Dubai Police I.T. leadership takes complete ownership of cyber-risk management by developing policy frameworks, defining responsibilities and reporting mechanisms.

“Industry standards and best practices are followed when investigating any cybercrime incidents in conjunction with Cyberforensics Services and Dubai Police CERT teams. We understand the organisation’s vulnerabilities, controls and interdependencies with third parties and the I.T. department at Dubai Police is continuously testing incident response capabilities and processes,” Alrazooqi said.

Other speakers at GISEC’s Safe City Briefing Day include key speakers such as Bassam AlMaharmeh, MSEE, Chief Information Security Office, Ministry of Defence in Jordan, who will discuss the journey from a smart city to safe city by employing strategic plan, projects and technologies; and Donna Dodson, Chief Cybersecurity Advisor, National Institute of Standards and Training, US Department of Commerce, who will talk about developing a framework for improving critical infrastructure in cybersecurity. Meanwhile, Joan Manel Gomez, Headh of I.T. Security, Barcelona City Council will address cybersecurity and network challenges in creating a safe city, and Shadi Khoja, Director of Strategy, Dubai Smart City will highlight the new technologies and innovative tools that can be embraced for securing cities.

As the region’s largest and only I.T. security knowledge event, GISEC will be taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from 26-28 April 2015. Showcasing over 150 exhibitors, it is set to attract over 5,000 trade visitors from 50 countries, including Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and Chief Information Officers (CIOs), who will learn how to develop cybersecurity strategies.

A two-day conference will also take place at GISEC from 27-28 April 2015, where global visionaries will offer I.T. solutions to help counteract the increasing incidence of cyberattacks in the region using world’s best practices.

Co-located with GISEC this year is the First Gulf Enterprise Mobility Exhibition and Conference (GEMEC), which will address the need of enterprises to embrace mobility. At the event, senior executives will discuss ways to identify, evaluate and source technology and mobility solutions to meet their current and future mobile requirements. GEMEC’s world-leading conference programme caters to the region’s enterprise and government decision makers who are envisioning new and creative ways to extend their competitive advantage.

The key sponsors of GISEC 2015 include BT Global as the Lead Sponsor; GBM as Diamond Sponsor; CISCO and Spire Solutions as Platinum Sponsors; Etisalat, Paladion Networks, Palo Alto Networks as Gold Sponsors; and Fortinet, Guidance Software, Paramount and Qualys as Silver Sponsors. Key exhibitors also include Airwatch, Airbus Defence & Space, Bit 9, Cyberroam, F5, Lancope, Mindware, Neustar, Rapid7, Splunk, WhiteHat Security and many more.

Powered by GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK, the region’s leading technology event, GISEC and GEMEC are strictly trade-only events and are open to business and trade visitors from within the industry only. GISEC and GEMEC are open 10am-6pm from 26-28 April 2015 at Sheikh Rashid Hall at Dubai World Trade Centre. Visitor attendance is free of charge.


AMEinfo Staff
By AMEinfo Staff
AMEinfo staff members report business news and views from across the Middle East and North Africa region, and analyse global events impacting the region today.