government

UAE upgrades cyber security across 35 federal bodies

Sweeping update comes months after two major global cyberattacks this year

Staff Report
18:28 August 12, 2017

Dubai: An advanced cyber security network was rolled out across 35 federal bodies on Saturday with the aim to protect the UAE government against “advanced persistent threats”.

Called the Federal Network, or FEDNet for short, the sweeping upgrade was launched by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

“Cyber risks and threats are persistently finding ways to reach their goals,” TRA director-general Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri was quoted as saying by state news agency WAM.

“Therefore, the provision of electronic security and protection needs to keep pace with these risks by using the latest cyber protection technologies,” he added.

FEDNet is to serve as a common infrastructure for federal entities. The network allows interconnection and data exchange between all local and federal government entities.

So how does it work? The system now verifies the pattern of any e-content, whether an email or a website. It then assesses any suspicious patterns in how the data is dealt with.

This method is effective in protecting against ‘zero day attacks’ — which is when hackers exploit a security hole in software before the owner knows what’s happening.

A new generation of advanced cyberattacks have arisen in recent years, said Al Mansouri.

“The TRA monitors these risks, and protect against them through advanced procedures, including the provision of protection to the federal government entities involved in the FEDNet, without loading them any additional financial or administrative burdens.”

In late May, the emirate of Dubai launched a cyber security strategy to strengthen the city’s position as a world leader in innovation, safety and security and manage cyber security risks.

The strategy was launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Shaikh Mohammad said that cyber security has become an essential requirement in the digital era as the world has become more connected with the spread of smart technologies.

Year of the virus

The launch of the FEDNet comes after two major cyberattacks that hit government bodies across the world this year.

Three months ago, the WannaCry computer virus spread across 150 countries.

The malware, which demanded money to unlock a user’s computer files, infected parts of the UK’s health service and Russia’s interior ministry, according to reports.

Then in late June, a virus known as Petya spread across computers in Ukrainian banks, ministries, media outlets and electricity firms.

 

With inputs from WAM