HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti stressed that the ministry’s annual cybersecurity drills contribute to raising the efficiency and readiness of various institutions and companies in Qatar to address cyber attacks.
HE al-Sulaiti made the remarks during a tour of the 6th National Cybersecurity Drill ‘Star 6’, which is being attended by more than 800 participants from 95 governmental and private institutions, including 11 from various economic, financial and institutional fields.
HE al-Sulaiti pointed out that cybersecurity drills aim to achieve the objectives of the national strategy in developing and refining national cybersecurity capabilities by creating and maintaining a professional workforce in this field, enhancing readiness and response to incidents and electronic attacks, solving them and recovering from them through co-operation and information exchange in a timely manner and by taking necessary measures.
He pointed out that Britain, France, US and Kuwait are also taking part in this year’s ‘Star 6’ drill. He said the drill consists of two parts: operational and procedural. They present scenarios expected especially in major events.
The minister added that this year’s ‘Star 6’ drill is the largest since its launch in 2013, as the mechanism of the drills’ implementation has been developed over the past five years.
This year, 95 government and private institutions are representing 11 sectors in various economic, financial and institutional fields: the government, the financial, the energy, the transport, the health, the education, the sports, the telecommunications, the hospitality, the media, and the IT service providers sector.
The minister noted that this year’s edition allowed for the first time the participation of private sector because of its importance in the supply chain of equipment and information technology and its vital role in achieving cybersecurity through enhanced protection and controls.
In addition, the current cybersecurity drill involved not only technology operators, but also technology personnel in departments and supportive sectors, such as human resources, financial management, legal administration, communication department, etc., to implement the exercise on sound institutional rules, realise cybersecurity through co-operation between different actors and sectors, and emphasise that this year’s Star 6 is an institutional drill rather than an information systems drill, he said.
HE al-Sulaiti pointed out that the current cybersecurity drill also comes in the framework of raising the efficiency and readiness of various institutions and companies in Qatar to address cyber attacks, especially during major events, primarily Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup 2022.
He added that it highlights the importance of proactive preventive measures against attacks and the effective response to cybercrime, and also reflects the significance of evaluation and follow-up after recovery to implement the lessons learned, especially that these ministry’s annual exercises seeks to measure maturity in the State’s institutions in how to protect its important electronic assets, in addition to addressing any aspects of weakness in electronic security.
The minister said that the drill dealt with the lessons learned from the last World Cup hosted by Russia, where cyber attacks on Russia during the hosting of the tournament were reviewed and analysed and provided a realistic perception of these attacks, adding that different scenarios were built to address such attacks.
HE al-Sulaiti said the ‘Star 6’ drill addressed topics not only related to identifying cyber attacks and recovering from them, but also the methods of combating the attacks and knowing the amount of losses that resulted from them and the information acquired, which may be used as a tool by the attackers to blackmail institutions, especially financial entities. In addition, the drill touched on treatment mechanisms and training the personnel to combat these attacks and limit them, he said.
HE al-Sulaiti said during the drill, real life practical experiences of cyber attacks were reviewed to benefit the attendees, and scenarios and solutions were created according to each case.
The minister said there are two centres in Qatar to address cyber attacks - Qatar’s National Centre for Information Security (Q-CERT) and the Centre for Combating Electronic Crime, which is part of the General Directorate of Criminal Investigation at the Ministry of Interior.
HE al-Sulaiti said all the entities work hand in hand. Preventive and proactive measures are taken by the Ministry of Transport and Communications followed by recovery measures, then investigation procedures in e-crimes is carried out by the Ministry of Interior. Both centres work in close harmony to achieve the goals, the minister said.
The 6th National Cybersecurity Drill - Star 6 - is titled ‘Defending the Nation, Securing Major Events’. The four-day event kicked off on Sunday with the participation of experts and specialists in the cybersecurity sector and IT from research centres and global companies.
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