UAE to strengthen security and efficiency of the financial sector

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Officials during the cybersecurity workshop.

Under the supervision of the Central Bank of the UAE, the UAE Banks Federation organised the largest simulated cyberattack in the Middle East, in order to support the Central Bank’s efforts in enhancing cybersecurity through best practices and advanced systems while ensuring the stability and flexibility of the financial system in the country.

The workshop aims to enhance the financial sector’s readiness against cyberattacks, by presenting realistic scenarios that allow participants to know the fraud techniques and methods used by the entities that carry out these attacks and the factors that represent a source of threats.

A number of senior officials and cybersecurity experts from banks and Licensed Financial Institutions (LFIs) participated in the workshop, in addition to representatives from central banks across Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, Abu Dhabi Police, Dubai Police, and Dubai centre for Electronic Security, who participated as observers.

Dr Mohammed Hamad Al-Kuwaiti, Chairman of the UAE Government’s Cyber Security Council, said: “Cybersecurity is witnessing great progress in the UAE, making it one of the leading countries in this field; as the National Cybersecurity Strategy aims to strengthen and create an integrated system by implementing numerous initiatives, evaluating the results, and developing them in line with the global changes.”

He added, “We are keen to provide a secure and robust cyber environment that enables institutions and businesses to develop and grow in a secure and prosperous environment. To this end, it is important to develop the necessary infrastructure and frameworks to protect institutions and individuals from cyberattacks, as well as to establish the principles of governance related to cyber security. Organising a simulated cyberattack workshop is one of the important initiatives that are appreciated as it provides professionals in the banking and financial sector with the necessary capabilities to discover areas of strength and areas that need to be further developed in order to enhance the digital transformation of the sector, which has witnessed many achievements to consolidate the leading position of the UAE “.

For his part, Jamal Saleh, Director General of the UAE Banks Federation, said: “The organisation of this event confirms the keenness of the UAE Banks Federation, the representative and unified voice of UAE banks, to place the highest priority on the safety of the banking system and information security, under the direct supervision of the Central Bank of the UAE, which is characterized by its proactive approach and future vision in setting appropriate frameworks to deal with technological developments in order to provide the best services to customers in a reliable banking environment.”

He added, “We are all proud to launch this event, the largest of its kind in the region. The wide participation of reputable institutions and cybersecurity experts in the UAE and the region, and its success motivates us to strive for further developments in the future.”

The Director General of the UAE Banks Federation also indicated that they are working in collaboration with all member banks and other concerned authorities to enhance the digital transformation drive in a secure environment, which is reflected in the establishment of three technical committees under the Federation on information technology, information security and digital banking services.

He added, “We also organise numerous events and campaigns such as the workshop to simulate cyberattacks and the National Fraud Awareness Campaign, which help to raise awareness of fraud risks. We believe that sharing experiences among member banks will help strengthen their capabilities to deal with cyber threats.”

Thabet Bakheet Khamis, Director of Information Security at the Central Bank of the UAE, said: “The organisation of the workshop to simulate cyberattacks confirms the Central Bank’s keenness in raising the cyber defence capabilities to protect Licensed Financial Institutions (LFIs) and their clients from the risks of cyber-attacks, which are witnessing an increase and are evolving with the accelerating pace of digital transformation, especially in financial processes.”

He added, “The participation of many banks operating in the country symbolizes the consolidation at the sectoral level in order to build a comprehensive system for maintaining cybersecurity and to provide a secure cyber environment.”

Established in 1982, UAE Banks Federation (UBF) is a professional representative body comprising 56 members of banks and organizations operating in the UAE. UBF advocates the interests of all its members and enhances cooperation and coordination between them in order to elevate the UAE’s banking ecosystem for the benefit of members, customers, and the overall UAE economy.

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