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SPECIAL REPORT

Experts agree that the human factor remains a key
obstacle for cyber security

Human error main challenge for cybersecurity: Gisec

DUBAI, April 3, 2019

Human error remains one of the largest obstacles to cyber security, pointed out the world’s foremost cyber security experts at Gisec, the largest cyber security event in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, concluding today (April 3) in Dubai, UAE.

As Gisec draws to a close, experts have warned that human error continues to play a significant role in cyber security and online crime, requiring a strategic approach to educate users and employees to prevent companies and individuals from falling victim to cyber-crime.

Jamie Woodruff live hacks a nuclear power-plant, credit cards and car keys

Jamie Woodruff, the Ethical Hacker who famously hacked Kim Kardashian, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter – and who headlined Gisec’s first-ever Dark Stage –not only shone a light on the many hidden ways businesses may be susceptible to hackers, but re-emphasised how humans are so often at the heart of both on and offline crime.

“People are much more susceptible through social engineering to attacks than they are in person”, he said. “Vulnerabilities of businesses exist a lot of the time through their employees, and social engineering allows us to observe and learn their patterns, allowing entry into the company.”

Providing an apt example, one of Woodruffs anecdotes included one of his ethical hacking projects in which he gained access to the server rooms of a London-based banking institution. To do so, the expert hacker had to intercept phone conversations and CCTV cameras.

Observing the bank and its employees for a whole month, he gained entry by dressing up as a pizza delivery driver. With unrestricted access to the IT infrastructure, said Woodruff, the consequences for the bank and its customers could have been disastrous.

At the climax to his seminar, Woodruff left his audience in disbelief as he live-hacked the CCTV camera of a nuclear plant. He also obtained the two-year payment history of ten volunteers that took to the stage with their contactless credit cards– data he compromised within seconds – and showed how children toys, car keys and smart watches are all open to attack.

Re-emphasising Woodruff’s point on human error, Ankush Johar, investor at HumanFirewall and a cyber-security authority, used his appearance at Gisec to highlight how many types of attacks occur in the world.

He said: “There are over 20,000 types of attacks. Given those large numbers, training employees to successfully identify those remains a huge challenge and leaves us prone to human error. One of the keys is to alter the psychology of employees and make them suspicious by nature.”

Earlier in the week, US-hacker Kevin Mitnick –who landed himself on the FBI’s Most Wanted list after hacking more than 40 major corporations and now is a trusted security consultant to Fortune 500 companies and governments worldwide –warned on the same topic that “when teaching staff about security, companies need something relevant, entertaining and informative – not a boring book that they won’t read.”

He added: “You need to educate, train and inoculate your users. The hacker is always going to go after the weakest link, and social engineering is the easiest way in and easiest attack your enemies will use today.”

Emile Abou Saleh, regional director, Middle East & Africa at Proofpoint – who showcased their latest cyber security software, DMARC, at Gisec – said: “As cyber-criminals take advantage of the human factor to execute their campaigns, companies need to ensure they deploy effective security awareness training to educate employees for best-practices, as well as establish a people-centric strategy to defend against threat actors’ unwavering focus on compromising end-users.”

A cyber security marketplace with business deals being struck, networks being built

Inaugurated on Monday by Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, director general of Smart Dubai and opened by Dr Marwan Alzarouni, director of Information Services Department at Dubai Electronic Security Center, the annual cybersecurity event attracted visitors from close to 100 countries, displaying a diverse range of cyber security solutions and global networks being built.

“The latest edition of Gisec has once more laid bare some of the vulnerabilities of our current infrastructure and provided true insights – as well as wake-up calls – for businesses, government and individuals to be more vigilant in both their on- and offline interactions,” said Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president, Events & Exhibitions Management, Dubai World Trade Centre.

“Having facilitated this important dialogue by gathering the world’s leading cyber security experts, we hope that 2019’sGisec will allow all who took part to look forward to a safer online presence going forward.”

Gisec ran from April 1-3 at Dubai World Trade Centre and was a co-located event to IoTX and Future Blockchain Summit.  – TradeArabia News Service




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