Companies urged to make additional investment in cyber security

AN alarming rise in cyber threats has prompted a top official to advise companies to make additional investment in online security.

The message was delivered yesterday by Electricity and Water Affairs Minister Dr Abdulhussain Mirza, who is also a member of the government’s Supreme Committee for Information and Communications Technology.

He pinpointed a surge in attacks in July and highlighted the need for serious steps to confront the threat.

“In the past months, the cyber threat landscape has changed dramatically,” he told journalists at a cyber security conference in Bahrain.

“July was one of the worst months ever from a cyber security perspective around the world, with a report saying that US companies lost $654 billion through cyber attacks.

“The challenge for companies is to eliminate opportunities for economic crime, which can be achieved in part by staying vigilant about new threats and finding new means of prevention.”

He was speaking on the final day of the SmartSec Cyber Security and BlockChain Conference, which concluded yesterday at the Gulf Hotel Bahrain.

Topics discussed during the event, jointly organised by Bahrain Technology Companies Association (BTECH) and WorkSmart For Event Management, included cyber attack prevention, cyber security ecosystems, cloud security, cryptocurrency challenges and cyber warfare.

It was reported last month that Bahrain’s government had itself been targeted in an alleged Iranian cyber attack.

The Wall Street Journal said Iranian hackers infiltrated “critical infrastructure and government computers” on two separate occasions on July 25 and August 5.

It said on the first occasion Bahraini authorities identified intrusions into its systems at the Electricity and Water Authority, where hackers shut down several systems.

Sources claimed the July 25 attack was believed to be a test run of the Iranian regime’s capability to disrupt infrastructure in the country.

The sources also claimed that hackers had taken “command and control of some of the systems”.

Two former US officials confirmed the cyber breaches, saying at least three entities in Bahrain had suffered intrusions.

BTECH chairman Ubaydli Ubaydli told the GDN that it was no coincidence that the incidents reportedly happened at a time of heightened tension in the region.

“Iran has had their eyes on the Gulf region for a while and now, as tensions are rising, they are increasing their attacks,” he said.

“But it has always been there.

“When things are calm there’s some stability, but when something happens – like the attacks on the ships – that changes.”



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