By Shane McGinley
US tech giant says in discussions with companies and governments on cybersecurity
US technology giant Dell is in talks with a number of Gulf companies and governments in a bid to help them boost their defences against the rising threat from cyber terrorism, senior executives said in an interview with Arabian Business.
Several high-profile Arab government agencies and companies have been targeted by online hackers in recent months, including the Qatar-based Al Jazeera satellite news network, Saudi Aramco, Bahrain state-backed Gulf Air’s official Facebook page and the UAE central bank website.
“There are many different ways that cyber terrorism activity can happen… People think if I just buy an anti-virus tool I am safe, but that is just the tip of the iceberg,” Steve Felice, president and chief commercial officer at Dell, said in an interview in Dubai.
“I think most of the world is still learning about how big a threat cyberterrorism is,” he added.
A recent report by consultants Frost & Sullivan stated that Middle East spending on information technology (IT) is expected to cross US$20bn this year as the region recognises a growing need for "added protection for consumers from an ever-increasing number of threats".
“We are in a number of engagements and discussions with various entities across the region on security,” Dave Brooke, general manager for Dell Middle East, confirmed when asked if the US firm was in talks with any Gulf state bodies.
“With the nature of security it is difficult to say who… It is a huge subject and lots of companies and governments are looking for help,” he added.
The scale of the issue was revealed this week in a study by Norton by Symantec, which reported that more than 1.5 million people fell victim to cyber crime in the UAE in the last year. Its annual Norton Cybercrime Report said the average UAE victim suffered direct financial losses of $283.
“We offer a number of services,” said Felice. “We have a managed security service which actually assesses someone’s environment and points out the potential intrusions and vulnerabilities that exist.
“We also have products like firewalls and a company called Sonic Wall that does the actual threat prevention.
“Even in our notebook products we lead in things like encryption to protect data and have system management tools that also have security featured built into them… So there is a vast array of things,” he added.
For this first we need to make our Cyber laws as well as awareness is most essential.