Sunday, November 25, 2018

Qatar has strong infrastructure for information security in the financial sector, say experts

A number of experts have stressed that Qatar has a strong infrastructure for information security in the financial sector and said the country was able to combine modern technology and human element, which has had the greatest impact in the protection from piracy.
In exclusive remarks to the Qatar News Agency (QNA), they stressed that this infrastructure represents a barrier to electronic piracy attempts, which have cost many countries economic losses estimated to exceed $6tn in 2021, up from about $3tn in 2015.
Director of Information Technology Department at the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) Abdulhadi Ahen said that the level of information security in the financial sector in Qatar is high, placing it among countries with high protection systems.
He pointed out that the QCB is constantly monitoring international developments regarding information protection and firewalls in order to provide banks with instructions to modernise their work systems.
The Central Bank also undertakes an annual assessment of the infrastructure of banks in order to close the gaps that they may have in order to provide the maximum possible protection of information systems.
Ahen said that there were attempts to penetrate the financial sector in Qatar.
However, all attempts failed because of the strong information security infrastructure in the financial sector, he said, praising the response of local banks to the instructions of the Central Bank in this regard.
He expressed pride in Qatari banks, both in terms of their technological structure and human resources.
This has enabled the banks to attain advanced ranks in international classifications that measure the performance of banks globally, taking into consideration several points such as facilities, services and technological development, he added.
He inferred the strength of the banking sector and the financial sector as a whole in Qatar in that the sector has not experienced a single hacking attempt that affected the performance, stressing that the modernisation of programmes and the development of protection programmes, although improve continuously, requires the integration of these elements with the human element.
He further explained that the most important feature of the financial sector in Qatar is its human element, pointing out that the lack of updates to banking systems recently caused a theft of 7mn in one of the Asian countries.
Partner at Brown Rudnick Christensen, Guillermo, agreed with Ahen on Qatari financial sector’s capabilities in information security.
In his remarks to QNA, Christensen said that the number of educational institutions in Qatar that dealt with information security and technology plays a major role in providing trained workforce, which enables institutions to address various attempts of electronic piracy.
Christensen explained that the nature of his work made him deal with companies, governmental and non-governmental institutions in which he realised the importance of the human element working in those institutions to be well-trained, adding that whenever he trained companies and their employees or provided advice to any government on information security, he always prioritised the human element.
He pointed out that many of the cyber attacks have been repelled by the alertness of one of the people working in the institutions concerned with the preservation of data.
He added that all government sites in the world are being subjected to cyber attacks.
In the United States, systems have been hacked and data of some 22mn people has been stolen, he added.
He said during his interviews with Qatari financial officials, he understood that they invest heavily in information security technology.
He praised such initiatives, saying that it is important to have strong platforms for cybersecurity.
He warned that Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup will make it the focus of the world’s attention and thus attract hackers, which raises the need for the country to have more focus on cybersecurity in order to protect the information systems operating within the country.
Christensen noted that during his speech at the Information Security Conference held last week, he focused on the nature of co-operation between the government and the private sector in facing hacking attempts, especially since most of the technology for protecting the information systems in various fields comes from the private sector.


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