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FBI ex-cyber chief to chair Abu Dhabi summit

Abu Dhabi, March 19, 2014

Don Codling, former cyber security chief and a 23-year veteran of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), will chair the third annual Cyber Security for Energy and Utilities Summit in Abu Dhabi next week.

Taking place from March 23 to 26, the conference and workshops are dedicated to managing numerous and complex cyber security threats across a vulnerable industry.

“ICT systems can work wonders in streamlining large-scale infrastructure, but as they become better-connected to global networks, they become more susceptible to attack,” said Codling. “That’s why it’s important to have an accurate and constantly evolving picture of the cyber threat landscape. It’s the only way to efficiently deploy finite resources,” said Codling. “Compliance to critical controls alone no longer guarantees total security.”

Computer controlled systems, such as the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and Distributed Control System (DCS), are now mainstays in various sectors, monitoring and controlling highly critical infrastructure across oil and gas, power, distribution and aluminum. From checking temperatures and water levels to managing physical infrastructure, these automated systems and communications technologies have helped the industry to run more efficiently. Yet, risk of real-time threats to both physical assets and workers are escalating.

Commenting on the importance of cyber intelligence in the evolving landscape, Codling said: “Accurate, timely and focused cyber intelligence is essential if we’re to have any hope of adapting internal and external defenses rapidly enough to reduce and mitigate cyber and physical threats to ICS. Without these cyber threat insights, we are spending valuable time, manpower and resources inefficiently, and probably leaving gaps for attackers to exploit.”

Codling, whose own talk will feature real world examples of criminal cyber intrusion and the human elements involved, will be joined by international cyber security experts, including one of the inventors of the world’s first firewall Bill Cheswick and VIP keynote speakers Dr Jamal Mohamed Al Hosani of the National Emergency Crisis & Disaster Management Authority, and Lt Col Faisal Mohamed Al Shimmari of Abu Dhabi Police GHQ.

Among the first of the summit’s presenters is senior IT engineer at Kuwait Gulf Oil Company Abdullah Al Akhawand. he will approach IT security management by analyzing case studies, each portraying different systems of IT protection and information backup and retrieval.

Muhammad Sajith, Head of ICT, infrastructure & operations, Emal, will co-chair the second day of the event, addressing the evolution of the cyber security landscape.

A number of dignitaries from major government and private organizations will also attend, alongside industry heads in IT security, SCADA and automation.

His Excellency Khaled Al Mansouri, president of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAWM) and the International Center of Business Resilience (ICBR) is set to engage with specialists for another year, saying: “Last year, I found that the conference proved to be a great opportunity to meet people who are working in emergency management in the Arab World, and I got some insight on how they manage their security. This year, I look forward to gleaning new information from government officials who are attending this conference for the first time. In my opinion, the UAE is one of the first countries in this part of the world that is working hard to secure services against cyber attack.”
 
Mansouri urged non-specialists to attend the event, as well, adding: “The internet is essential in our daily lives, yet not many people on the individual-level know very little about the threats that accompany day-to-day use of the internet. This conference offers perspective on how to better manage those threats.”

As providers of emerging technologies that address IT security challenges, the event sponsors, including ABB, Comguard, Spire Solutions, Phishme, Netcure, Juniper and Global Security Network, anticipate that the summit will serve as a platform for best practices across automatation systems, real-time networks, cloud computing and big data.

The series of workshops, lectures and presentations were researched and planned by conference organiser IQPC. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: abu dhabi | FBI | Summit | Cyber Security |

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