GCC prepares to tackle future cyber-challenges
Caline Malek Abu Dhabi
As the race between cybercriminals and security providers continues, experts convened at the Interpol World Conference this summer to tackle the ever-evolving cyber-security landscape.
With an aim to produce a global innovation agenda outlining ways in which police and private industry can combine their respective talents to develop future security initiatives, Interpol president Ki Jong Yang called for a need to consider how prepared we are for a future which will see more connected objects; more critical infrastructure becoming networked; unmanned technology entering the mainstream; and more systems being managed by ever-evolving artificial intelligence.
“Risks will continue to increase and evolve primarily because, as we are getting more and more connected, our exposure to risk increases,” said Walter Lee, Evangelist and Government Relations Leader at NEC Corporation. “The risk increases because we are progressively doing more commerce on technology – more and more transactions are done online, which is good but also means there is more money out there on the online system.”
Topics tackled during the conference included drones, big data, Artificial Intelligence, counterfeiting, border security, 5G networks as well as virtual and augmented reality. Smart Cities, environmental crime, the Darknet, biotechnology, predictive technologies, Blockchain, and privacy were also discussed.
Interpol Secretary General Jurgen Stock said that, since the last meeting in 2017, technology had evolved at such a rapid pace that yearly trend predictions were largely failing to anticipate what will hit us next. “Increasingly, the fiscal world is connected to the cyber world, therefore we are seeing more risk because there are more transactions done,” Lee explained. “Fundamentally, 5G is coming in 2020, which is good news but it is happening faster than its original plan, so there will be even more automation. It’s not just speed, it’s also real-time connectivity – cars are getting online and the advantage is that when we talk about data analytics, we’re talking about real-time data, which is quite scary, as everything is happening in a city at this point in time right now, but if we don’t do it properly, it can be a security nightmare.”
Interpol World also saw 32 interactive ‘co-creation labs’, where participants played an active role to discuss the different challenges of the future and brainstorm solutions, guided by experts from law enforcement, the private sector and academia.
“It is an issue and that issue could become a disaster if security agencies don’t take it into consideration and prioritize,” said Colonel Mubarak Al Khaili, GCCPOL Director in Abu Dhabi. “Crimes are becoming more sophisticated in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, so readiness becomes a major task for all police and security agencies.”
He spoke of drones and the Darknet as the most important topics that should prioritized for the police and security sectors. “We need our police officers to be experts in these areas,” he explained. “We also need them to be aware of technical details and practical usage of such technology. This helps to identify criminal patterns and behavior.”
In order to confront future crimes that relate to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Col Al Khaili called for a need to ensure that police officers are well-skilled, knowledgeable and capable to deal with such crimes. “Police colleges and training institutes should rehabilitate and graduate police officers in line with the challenges of the technologies of such a revolution,” he added. “[The amount of knowledge police officers have on these new technologies is very small] so they must get proper training, containing real and different scenarios covering such topics.”
But the Middle East is still on the right track, leading the way with its smart cities in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. “When you build a new city, you use the latest technology,” Lee said. “So the Middle East has two advantages – wealth and the ability to consider automation, which is accelerated in many cities.”
GCCPOL believes that organizing a common security operation at the regional and international levels will create an effective hub. The organization is currently working on such an initiative that covers current and future crimes in the Darknet, gathering specialists from its member countries, regional and international organizations, and the private sector. “Personal privacy is a current issue and it is evolving rapidly,” said Lt Colonel Dr Ahmed Alkaabi, GCCPOL Advisor. “Internet users post so many things about their life and privacy on social media, which poses high risks to their belongings and sometimes, to their life.”
He said such posts mean a great deal to cybercriminals as they use it against internet users. This issue, however, can be tackled through a solid educational initiative designed by the police force and delivered to the public on a regular basis. “But this solution must be continuous and permanently updated,” Lt Col Alkaabi noted. “The content of education should include criminal methods and that should clearly reflect the educational material in order to have an impact on members of the community.”
He spoke of security agencies currently working on reducing the risks resulting from privacy breaches against users through awareness and warnings. As for technological measurements, some constraints remain facing the police and security sectors, as Lt Col Alkaabi explains the main evidence of such crimes are found in social media servers and database. This forms a huge slowdown for authorities to acquire electronic evidence and prosecute criminals. “I’m currently working on information security and cybercrime awareness and education,” he said. “There are three important measures that should be taken into consideration – legislative, technological and awareness – while designing a solution to combat a particular crime. It is very important to raise the community awareness in order to combat cybercrime.”
GCCPOL is also working to produce a report, titled “Security Challenges in Fourth Industrial Revolution Technologies”, as the outcome of a conference it plans on organizing. “Based on local and international statistics, cybercrimes such as extortion, fraud, theft of information, sales of database and plagiarism were created because of the non-preservation and exchange of personal information with unknown people via social media,” he concluded. “Modern technologies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution are entirely information-based, so it is possible to use that information to carry out attacks and crimes against people.”
The International Exhibition for National Security and Resilience (ISNR) Abu Dhabi is set to take place in Abu Dhabi from March 17 to 19, 2020, with AI as its main theme.
Co-organized with the UAE Ministry of Interior, ISNR Abu Dhabi will bring the national and cyber security community together to accelerate public-private collaboration for a safer connected world.
Four dedicated communities on National Security, Cyber Security, Policing and Law Enforcement and Critical Infrastructure Protection will deep-dive into challenges and explore new technologies and best practices to avert the ever-growing threats they are facing.