Bahrain urged to set up national plan to fight cyber crime
Manama, March 11, 2014
Bahrain has been urged to set up a national security strategy to combat cyber threats.
Authorities have an opportunity to "get ahead of the curve" in the region in tackling online crime, said International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) transnational threats and political risk director Nigel Inkster in a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
He spoke to the GDN on the sidelines of an IISS private focus meeting yesterday, which was held to discuss data collection and privacy considerations in the GCC.
"The approach that we are taking at IISS is essentially encouraging policymakers in this region to take advantage of what we think is an opportunity to get ahead," he said.
"And obviously this is a region that houses significant US military capabilities - not just Bahrain but other parts of the Gulf - so you could argue that fact puts these states in the firing line somewhat."
Inkster, who was previously on the board of the British Secret Intelligence Service (also known as MI6), said countries were improving and refining their approach to cyber security all the time.
"Bahrain is well aware of the importance of this and I think a lot of countries have come to recognise its importance," he said.
"My sense is that the Bahraini authorities have got 'it' in terms of understanding the need for cyber security and working towards something that they can implement.
"And smaller countries like Bahrain actually have an advantage when it comes to developing a national response plan, simply because the co-ordination mechanism between government bodies is far less complex."
Bahrain's current inter-agency approach to cyber security is probably the best way forward as it mirrors what other countries around the world are doing, added IISS cyber security senior fellow Eneken Tikk-Ringas.
"And it's not just the government," she said.
"It's also about including the private sector in the response, which works here nicely because Bahrain is a small country and there seems to be a very natural collaboration between the private and public sectors.
"It's not so much that this region, or Bahrain in particular, are lacking anything.
"There is not yet a national cyber security strategy in Bahrain or the other GCC countries, but it does not necessarily mean that there is no plan.
"And in a way it's good, because where some countries have already had to introduce a second generation of cyber security strategies, Bahrain can cut that corner."
Yesterday's meeting at the IISS's Manama headquarters forms part of a larger programme being run by the institute to promote strategic policy thinking on cyber security issues.
It will result in a strategic dossier, which will be launched on the topic later this year. - TradeArabia News Service