The event raises effectiveness and security level of financial and banking sector’s digital infrastructure
Focuses on enabling experience and knowledge sharing to strengthen capabilities of banking sector in tackling cyber threats
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 19 October 2022:
The UAE Banks Federation, the unified representative and voice of UAE banks, organised the region's largest Cyber Wargame event on 6th October 2022, as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance cyber security and follow best practices in fortifying the level of security and digital infrastructure protection in the banking and financial sector while ensuring a secure environment for customers.
The event was held under the direct supervision of the Central Bank of the UAE and was attended by cybersecurity experts in the banking and financial sector. It was based on a simulation experiment to learn about the responsiveness of cybersecurity teams in dealing with attacks and discovering strengths and gaps through tackling virtual attacks developed by experts in the field.
UAE Banks Federation and the Central Bank of the UAE have developed all experiments in close collaboration with several strategic partners for this event. The participating organisations included the Cyber Security Council of the UAE Government, Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, as well as Abu Dhabi Police and Dubai Police, in addition to the Dubai Center for electronic security and Gartner. Representatives from various GCC central banks also participated in the event as observers.
Cyber Wargame is developed to help improve the process of identifying, detecting and responding to cyberattacks by providing knowledge on techniques utilised by attackers, as well as on methods and procedures and the factors that constitute a source of threat.
The heads and members of information and cyber security teams and CEOs from member banks (FAB, ENBD, Mashreq, HSBC ME, NBF & ADIB) and financial institutions participated in the exercise that contributes to exchanging experiences and knowledge to improve the readiness of the UAE banking sector against cyberattacks.
The UAE Banks Federation focuses on developing capabilities to protect the banking sector's digital infrastructure in light of the increasing adoption of e-commerce, digital banking services and mobile applications, which have led to the emergence of new, more complex and targeted cyberattacks.
In addition to the cybersecurity exercise for the security teams of member banks and financial organisations, a dedicated tabletop exercise was organized for members of senior management in banking on tackling cyberattacks to improve capabilities in dealing with crises and risk management.
Mr. Jamal Saleh, Director General of UAE Banks Federation, said: "This event reflects that protecting the banking systems and information security is a top priority for us under the direct supervision of The Central Bank of the UAE, which is characterised by its proactive approach, aims to set appropriate frameworks to deal with advancements in digital space to provide customers with the best services in a secure and reliable banking environment."
He added, "We are proud to launch this event, the largest of its kind in the region. The wide participation of reputable institutions and cybersecurity experts in the UAE and the region, and its success motivates us to strive for further developments in the future."
The Director General of the UAE Banks Federation also indicated that they are working in collaboration with all member banks and other concerned authorities to drive the digital transformation process in a secure environment, which is reflected in the establishment of three technical committees under the Federation on information technology, information security and digital banking services. He added, "We also organise numerous events and campaigns such as the Cyber Wargame and the National Fraud Awareness Campaign, which help to raise awareness of fraud risks. We believe that sharing experiences among member banks will help strengthen their capabilities to deal with cyber threats."
Dr Mohammed Hamad Al Kuwaiti, Head of Cyber Security in the UAE Government, said: "Cybersecurity is witnessing great progress in the UAE, making it one of the leading countries in this field. Thanks to the National Cybersecurity Strategy, which aims to strengthen and create an integrated system by implementing numerous initiatives, evaluating the results, and developing them in line with the global changes.”
He added: "We are committed to creating a secure and robust cyber environment that enables institutions and businesses to develop and grow in a safe and prosperous digital environment. To this end, it is important to establish the necessary infrastructure and frameworks to protect institutions and individuals from attacks and establish the principles of governance related to cybersecurity. Organising events such as the Cyber Wargame is an important initiative, as well as appreciated as it equips professionals in the banking and financial sector with the necessary capabilities and areas that need to be further developed to enhance the digital transformation of the sector.”
Mr. Thabet Khamis, Director of Digital Security at the Central Bank of the UAE, said: “The organisation of the Cyber Wargame event confirms the keenness of the banking sector in raising defence capabilities to protect the banking and financial institutions from the risks of cyber-attacks, which are witnessing an increase and evolving with the accelerating pace of digital transformation, especially in the financial transactions.”
He added, "The participation of central banks from across the GCC countries as observers also symbolizes the consolidation of efforts and regional cooperation in developing the banking and financial sector. We are working to further strengthen these relations and organise more events in partnership with UAE Banks Federation, to provide a safe banking environment.”
Cybersecurity expert Chris Knisley, who is the General Manager of MITRE ATT&CK Defender - an organisation specialised in developing and designing cybersecurity solutions - presented an interactive workshop on key trends in the field and ways to deal with various types of attacks to strengthen information security systems.