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Addressing the session ‘Cyber war: The New Front’ at GISEC 2021,  HE Dr. Mohamed Al-Kuwaiti, head of cyber security, United Arab Emirates Government, thanked the first responders and health professionals who contributed immensely to society during the COVID-19 pandemic to help people get through their daily lives. In the same vein, he said that digital-first responders made sure that children were able to study online, people work remotely, governments serve their citizens, and researchers collaborate across the whole board to provide vaccinations. All that thanks to digital transformation and digital communication infrastructure at hand.

However, he stated that with the reliance on technologies, new vulnerabilities and new threats were introduced and the attack surface for cybercriminals has expanded. So, securing a robust cyber-secured environment “has become more crucial for sustaining digital trust.”

He stressed that cybersecurity issues were a cause for concern in the country and in order to face them, private and public sectors should bring creativity and innovation to help with the transition into a global smart nation.

“We must recognize that as much as we try to secure our infrastructure sufficiently, sophisticated threats actors will still find creative ways to breach our systems and we want to be able to detect those malicious cyber activities,” he stressed.

“Technology is only one part of this whole solution as cyber threats become increasingly sophisticated with the advent of new technologies. There is a need to sustain an international collaboration to be aware of such behavior in the cyberspace and provide the essential security and trust to maintain the effective functioning of the global digital economy,” he said.

“UAE and many countries around the world are redoubling our commitment to a multilateral collaboration for the establishment of a global digital trusted platform across the digital race,” he stressed.

He urged people from all over the world to join the important conference and work together. “Gather our energy, brainstorm ideas, and make use of this knowledge platform to work our way with insights and information needed to secure our future.”

Building an entrepreneurial ecosystem

In his keynote speech, H.E. Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi, director general, Abu Dhabi Investment Office, said that the government of UAE handled well the COVID-19 crisis, not only by keeping in view the safety of people, but also by supporting the economy to aid entrepreneurship which brought amazing global economic and entrepreneurship ranking results, particularly in the Global Entrepreneurship Index in 2020, where the UAE was ranked first.

He stressed that an entrepreneurial ecosystem was not only about the entrepreneurs but about the talents, resources, investors, incubators, accelerators, capital markets, regulators, and policymakers that help them to thrive. “It's also about cybersecurity and safeguarding existing data, the use of that data and the creation of new ones that will help drive our economy and reach its next stage,” he stressed.

He stressed the importance of technology to drive the economy forward, but also pointed out the criticality of being cautious and aware of safeguarding information is secure. “Information is prosperity, it is what allows us to make better decisions to govern better, set the right policies, and ultimately create the right opportunity,” he said.

Last but not least, he assured entrepreneurs that Abu Dhabi Investment Office is always ready to provide help with risk-taking, support them, and help them create the change needed to drive innovation.

“Our wealth was generated from the natural resources found underground, but our prosperity and resiliency is in the hands and minds of the people in the UAE,” he concluded.

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