Bahrain thwarts 167,000 hacking attempts in 2016

(20-01-2017) iGA organizes the 2nd Cyber Hawks Meeting (1)

Manama: The Kingdom of Bahrain has thwarted 167,000 hacking attempts and tackled 107 million malicious emails in 2016, it was revealed by iGA.

As a part of its responsibility to enhance the maturity of the information security in governmental entities, Information and eGovernment Authority (iGA) in cooperation with KPMG Fakhroo, organized the Second Cyber Hawks Meeting for information security. The meeting chaired by General Director of Information Technology Shaikh Salman bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, attended by 56 governmental and semi-governmental entities represented by specialists in Information Security field.

During the meeting, the hacking attempts on Bahrain’s government systems were highlighted. In 2016, iGA was able to detect more than 167,000 hacking attempts, a threefold increase in comparison with 2015. The Information Security Specialists in the governmental entities were successfully able to deal with more than 107 million malicious emails in 2016.

Shaikh Salman bin Mohammed Al Khalifa stated that organizing this meeting for the second time reflects iGA’s keenness in supporting information security projects, along with experiences exchange, highlighting the challenges and opportunities.

During the meeting, a number of statistics were presented, such as the increase of protected data by 12.4% in 2016 compared to 2015, reaching to 1,046.6TB. In addition, statistics related to government employees showed that 20% of them share their passwords with others, 44% open the emails received without knowing the source of sender, while 17% of them do not take the initiative to inform the IT department about the attacks they receive while surfing the internet during working hours. Also 13% of the government employees transfer work files to home using external data memory (USB).

Shaikh Salman spoke about the Information Security 2017 projects, which includes implementation of Protection of State Information and Documents Law, enhancement of the Computer Emergency Response Center’s role (CERT.bh). Moreover, the authority will be working on implementing Cyber Trust program (Thiqaa), and increase the government security awareness programs by organizing workshops for government employees.

Sony Anthony, Cyber Security Partner at KPMG in Bahrain, presented global case studies highlighting key challenges that facing the corporate sector today and the latest technologies in this emerging field. “Cyber security is a serious threat facing organizations and businesses which can lead to significant losses and damages. It is no longer the sole responsibility of the IT department, but rather a combined responsibility of boards, managements, and departments that use digital assets in their business processes. Therefore, it is imperative that organizations invest in the detect, respond, and recover related activities, unlike the traditional identify and protect approach,” Anthony, added.

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