From left: Mohammad Al Zarouni, Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri and Nasser Al Rayhi address a press conference held to launch the National Cyber Security Strategy. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

DUBAI: Cybersecurity laws and regulations in the UAE will soon be enhanced to combat the ever growing threat of cybercrimes. The move is part of a comprehensive UAE National Cybersecurity Strategy launched by the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) on Monday.

As many as 60 initiatives will be rolled out over the next three years to establish a safe and resilient cyber infrastructure in the country, said TRA director general Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri.

The telecom regulator said the strategy was developed after consultation with over 50 global publications and examining the cybersecurity systems of 10 leading countries. Nine sectors including telecom, health and utilities, energy, finance for cybersecurity have been identified for cybersecurity preparedness

Five key pillars

The UAE National Cybersecurity Strategy will be focused on five key pillars: protecting critical infrastructure by strengthening the security of assets and mitigating risks; building a vibrant ecosystem that encourages research and innovation and develops awareness about cybercrimes; developing a resilient environment to detect and tackle cyberattacks; framing cybersecurity laws and regulations; and leveraging partnerships by collaborating with cyber security experts locally and globally.

$ 6 trillion

estimated global cost of cybercrimes by 2021

“Who does not worry about the dangers of the internet? The cyberspace provides vast horizons and endless opportunities but at the same time it also provides a gateway for hackers and phishers. It’s therefore imperative for us to have a national strategy that takes into account emerging technologies and the risks that come with them,” said Al Mansoori.

Eng. Mohammad Al Zarouni, Director of Policies and Programmes Department at TRA, said a regulatory framework will soon be developed for emerging technologies like digital signature, cloud computing and block chain technology. “We will need new laws to address new cyber crimes. The TRA is also examining existing provisions of data protection and privacy laws,” he said.

Safeguarding SMEs

Al Zarouni said the National Cybersecurity Strategy will enable small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to safeguard themselves against cyber attacks.

“SMEs are the cornerstone of the digital economy in the UAE but they are also the most vulnerable. At TRA we will develop an essential cybersecurity standard for them and mandate cybersecurity implementation certification for all government suppliers.”


professionals will be trained under strategy

Hinting at a unified cybersecurity platform where all related crimes could be reported and dealt with, Al Zarouni said they will also launch an intensive cybersecurity awareness programme targeting youngsters, adults, senior citizens and people of determination. “The idea is to develop a cybersecurity culture in the country. We don’t want to leave anyone behind,” he said.

Rewarding excellence

Excellence in cybersecurity will be rewarded. TRA said 12 national awards will be given annually to individuals and organisations to encourage entities to drive cybersecurity programme, inspire entrepreneurs to innovate in cybersecurity, support and motivate students to pursue cybersecurity careers.

TRA said to ensure the successful implementation of the strategy, the programme will be monitored by two strategic and 17 key performance indicators. The strategy will also work on developing capabilities of over 40,000 cybersecurity professionals, by encouraging professionals and students to pursue a career in cybersecurity, developing necessary cybersecurity capabilities to meet aspirations of the country, and fostering a vibrant ecosystem of cybersecurity training providers.

initiatives will be rolled out under the UAE National Cybersecurity Strategy

5 key pillars of National Cybersecurity Strategy

1. Protecting critical infrastructure by boosting security of government assets and mitigating risks

2. Building a vibrant ecosystem that encourages research and innovation in cybersecurity

3. Developing cyber resilient environment by creating awareness and equipping people and organisations to thwart cyberattacks

4. Enhancing cyberlaws and regulations

5. Leveraging partnerships with local and international cyber experts