Farnam Jahanian speaks about cyber attacks at the ISFS Conference

Businesses need to adopt technology trend: Dr Farnam

In The Peninsula, November 6, 2017

By Satish Kanady

Hackers are pilfering a staggering volume of data and money from companies across the world. One of the major targets of the cyber attackers are the financial sector.

The damage from hacks costs global businesses an estimated $400bn each year, though the exact loss is not known, Dr Farnam Jahanian, President, Carnegie Mellon University, USA, has said.

Addressing the 4th annual information security conference for the financial sector here yesterday, Dr Farnam said with the internet becoming more connected, the cyber attack on global businesses has grown significantly over the past decade.

As the world moves on, information technology and internet are becoming more digitally connected and the impact of cyber attacks are growing at an exponential rate….Private entities, government sectors and almost every sectors of global economy are facing growing threat, he said.

Cyber security is a top driver for cyber physical system across the board. The number of intrusions on financial institutions has grown exponentially and the vulnerability threat is expected to grow as systems become larger and more complex.

Dr Farnam said the ‘data explosion’ has led to a number of significant security challenges. We, as a society live at a remarkable time of human history. The humanity has never connected as a society as we are now.

Hackers are going after smartphones as an entry point. The sale of smartphones is surging. All these smartphone owners are using various kinds of technology devices that pose security challenges. “In fact, with that and rise of Internet of Things (IoT), we see a large number of devices are going to be connected across the internet. Each one of these is used in various places by hackers to launch various kinds of attacks on internet.”

To check the future threats effectively, the companies and businesses need to adopt the technology trend.

QNB Group CEO Ali Ahmed Al Kuwari, UK Cuber Security Ambassador Conrad Prince; and Doha Bank Group CEO Dr R Seetharaman were among others who addressed the opening session of the two-day event.

“The digital eco system expansion has resulted from developments such as artificial intelligence, block chain, internet of things, Open Banking APIs and even robotics. However there are Vulnerabilities due to exponential growth in digital ecosystem which highlights the importance of cybersecurity. The WannaCry and Petya attack were the major cyber-attacks this year,” Dr Seetharaman said.

Qatar Central Bank has brought IT security strategy and technology risk circulars, which will provide directions for the banks to build their strategy while adopting advanced technologies.

It also took the initiative for formation of Banking CIRT (Critical incident response team), which will act as a platform for sharing of security Incidents and enable quick response for its members. Qatar has brought cyber-crime prevention laws, data privacy law, monitoring bank websites and alert on probable cyber-attacks in the country, he said.