Qatar strengthens cyber security to prepare for World Cup

    Qatar is hosting this year’s FIFA World Cup – the first time the event has been held in the Arab world. Cybersecurity experts predict that booking tickets, hotel reservations, and restaurant reservations will be faked by hackers to get personal data of people visiting Qatar. Additionally, phishing and social engineering will be used to steal personal and financial information from anyone using the internet to get information about the tournament.

    Mohammad Al-Kayed, director of cyber defense at Black Mountain Cybersecurity. “Both viewers and attendees are advised to watch out for cyber threats in the form of online scams and malicious emails promoting ticket sales and sporting goods. The biggest threat of all is piracy of football matches taking place through online platforms.”

    On March 25, Interpol brought a group of global cybersecurity experts together in Qatar to analyze threats ahead of the World Cup. The meeting is part of Project Stadiawas founded by Interpol in 2012 and sponsored by Qatar. While with particular focus on the 2022 World Cup, the project aims to contribute to the security arrangements for any major sporting event.

    Qatar has partnered with several countries to provide physical security for the World Cup, including Turkey, France and England. Turkey will send 3,000 riot police, France will send four airborne warning and control systems to monitor airborne threats, including drones and UK will provide support for maritime security and counterterrorism policy.

    But surprisingly, the biggest announcement to date about helping Qatar with cybersecurity comes from Morocco, will send a team of cybersecurity experts to Qatar as part of efforts to expand cooperation in the security sector of the two countries. Could it be that Qatar thinks it has enough domestic expertise in cybersecurity to not call for help from stronger nations?

    Al-Kayed told Computer Weekly: “The Supreme Committee on Delivery and Legacy issued a cybersecurity framework ahead of the World Cup to set a mandatory standard for all parties involved in [tournament] perform. At its core, the framework defines cybersecurity requirements to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure in support of the FIFA World Cup.

    The long history of cybersecurity in Qatar

    Cybersecurity has been a concern in Qatar for at least two decades now. One of the groups that plays an important role in securing the country’s information infrastructure is the Qatar Computer Emergency Response Team (Q-Cert), which was established in 2005 by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Qatar (MOTC) in partnership with Carnegie Mellon. Institute of Software Engineering (Cert Coordination Center).

    Q-Cert has launched several projects recently. One is to develop a fully automated threat monitoring system to collect security-related data and perform preliminary analysis of that information. Data will be collected from sensors and distributed mechanisms, such as spam.

    The group is also building a threat intelligence center to collect and analyze events, alerts, and threats related to government cyber security. The Threat Intelligence Center uses results from the threat monitoring system, along with security-related logs from firewalls, routers, and proxies to detect threats to the network. government.

    Another project of Q-Cert is to build a malware analysis laboratory to analyze malware collected from other projects. The lab will also be used to help investigate cybercrime by uncovering the digital footsteps of suspected criminals.

    The fourth Q-Cert project involves the removal of botnets, in order to reduce the risk of sensitive government, corporate or personal information being stolen. This will be done by identifying compromised systems and preventing future problems and data leaks.

    Qatar has also established government organizations to fight cybercrime. In 2013, it established the National Cyber ​​Security Committee to tackle cybersecurity at the national level – and with the help of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, wrote the Cybersecurity Strategy Country of the country.

    The strategy specifically calls for businesses to share responsibility for information security. It also aims to encourage the growth of a local ecosystem of experts and technology providers.

    In March 2021, Qatar established a National Cyber ​​Security Agency which, as of May 2022, has trained 25,000 employees in various aspects of information security. Mohamed Ahmed Al-Ansari, the agency’s director of public relations and communications, recently expressed interest in the organization in enhancing cybersecurity through partnerships with major global organizations, including Microsoft, Huawei and the German Institute.

    Incentivize private solution providers

    The Qatari government is not only interested in partnering with major global companies, but also in encouraging the growth of local expertise and a self-developed ecosystem of startups, as called for. in the National Cybersecurity Strategy.

    Al-Kayed said: “Qatar has led a number of national initiatives to strengthen local cybersecurity talent. “Today, most Qatari universities offer courses and educational programs in cybersecurity – some are even free. In addition, Qatar University has been collaborating with international companies, such as Thales, to bring hands-on experience to young Qatari professionals. And just last month, held training ARE NOT organized an extensive training program for Qatari cybersecurity professionals. “

    Professional networking events are held regularly in Qatar, including the World Cybersecurity Summit, an annual event targeting CISOs in the industrial sectors from Qatar. The Summit helps security professionals share best practices and includes experts from the outside.

    For local startups and local offices of global companies, perhaps the most encouraging aspect of doing business in Qatar are the market predictions, which show the security services market in Qatar is the fastest growing in the region. Based on Tasmu . Digital Valleythe size of the Qatar cybersecurity market will total over $1 billion by 2022 and is expected to grow 12.7% annually to reach $1.64 billion by 2026.

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