(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Ayeni Olusegun |
Cybersecurity awareness and skill enhancement should be a more prominent focus of policymakers in the region, Dr. Abdullatif Shikfa, Assistant Professor at the University of Doha for Science and Technology (UDST), has stressed.
In an interview with The Peninsula, Dr. Shikfa stated that despite the ongoing drive and adoption of cybersecurity measures in Qatar and the region, more still needs to be done as people catch up with the internet.
“Qatar is taking cybersecurity very seriously and has put cybersecurity and privacy at the top of the FIFA World Cup 2022 event agenda by developing a cybersecurity framework.
Regarding awareness, we should always do more. Still, I am optimistic as the younger generation that we see at UDST and those who visit seem to have heard of cybersecurity and cyberattacks and have started using social media more carefully,” Dr. Shikfa said.
“That being said, the region still faces a cybersecurity skill shortage estimated to be 2.7 million positions worldwide. This is why Qatar still has room for improvement on the technical side,” he added.
By 2030, 500 billion devices are expected to be connected to the internet. As the Internet of Things (IoT) gains traction, the inadequate security standards in IoT devices will exacerbate the security skills gap. Besides, a study by Global Market Insights disclosed that the cybersecurity industry is expected to grow by more than double to hit $300bn by 2024.
In the Middle East and Africa, cybersecurity is expected to reach $2.89 bn by 2026 and register a compound annual growth rate of 7.9 percent between 2021 and 2026.
As the region rapidly diversifies its economies and explores the transformative qualities of digital technologies, it becomes more susceptible to growing cyber threats. Last year, Trend Micro's Annual Cybersecurity Report for 2021 detailed that over 4 million email threats and more than 6 million URL victim attacks were detected and blocked across Qatar.
“People might not know that Gulf countries and Qatar, in particular, have high cyber security maturity levels,” Dr. Abdullatif Shikfa said.
He cited the Global Cybersecurity Index, published by ITU, which puts Qatar 27th worldwide in 2020.
“Qatar excels in legal measures, capacity development and cooperative measures but has room for improvement in organisational and technical measures. Qatar was amongst pioneering countries worldwide in adopting Cybercrime law (2014) and privacy law (2016).”
He added that Qatar developed a National Cyber Security Strategy in 2013 and established the Qatar Computer Emergency Response Team as early as 2006.
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