CYBERSECURITY has become the mainstay of national security and is as important as other branches of security such as economic and food security.
The first cybersecurity conference and exhibition recently hosted by Bahrain came at the right time. This vital topic is of growing importance, especially considering the high-level participation of distinguished companies, speakers, and experts from around the world.
I don’t claim to be familiar with all aspects of cybersecurity but this term, which has started to circulate a lot over the past few years, has made me pay attention to it, read about it, and discover that every one of us is concerned with it.
Anyone who connects to the Internet through a mobile phone or computer is vulnerable to hacking, tracking, theft of data, information and money or extortion, at the level of individuals, institutions, companies, and organisations.
Cyberspace has developed into a furious theatre of conflict between nations. Indeed, what we observe in the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine may not be as heated as the two nations’ cyber war.
This new war between the two countries aim to sabotage defence systems, follow the movements of military units, and sabotage electricity, water, sewage, and anything connected to the Internet.
The Cold War has not stopped. Its shape has changed. Witness the relationship between China and the US, each one accuses the other of hacking their systems and spying on military, political, technical, industrial, and other plans. And let’s not forget the accusations of Russia interfering in the US elections by hacking and tampering with Internet content.
Cyber warfare does not stop especially between the various intelligence services. Spies no longer need to be recruited and trained for years before they can be sent to hunt for information here and there. The trend has become to train cyberhackers who can penetrate computers, networks, and information systems, without exposing themselves to the slightest danger.
Earlier on, Israel became aware of the importance of cybersecurity and invested a lot in it. It also became the first in the Middle East in this field, and benefited from it commercially, as its companies sell cybersecurity services worth billions to many countries of the world.
New technologies bring with them new challenges. When we started using the Internet, we didn’t know that our privacy would be compromised, and when we used the mobile phone, we didn’t know that the chip inside it made our location precisely specific to other parties. Some well-known applications from Google even follow our movements and send us at the end of each month the routes we walked and how long we stayed everywhere at any place.
This in no way means abandoning new technologies, because they have become essential to our daily lives and our work. But there is no harm in having a good level of awareness of how to maintain our privacy and cybersecurity. I know people who put their phones in the fridge when they want to talk about something or do something secretive or sensitive, for fear of being spied on.
We hope that Bahrain’s hosting of the first cybersecurity conference and exhibition will open the door to broader international co-operation to counter cyber threats and facilitate exchanges on cyber laws and regulations. The event underscores Bahrain’s commitment to protecting its interests in cyberspace and developing a national cybersecurity strategy to address current and escalating cyber threats.
One more point on this subject: Spreading knowledge among us is possibly the most crucial thing we can do to safeguard both ourselves and our companies against hackers. The most important thing is that good morals and values are promoted throughout society. And, as the Golden Rule suggests, “Do not do to your friend what you would not want him to do to you.”