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UAE fights off cyberattack with Israeli expertise in cyber security

'Thank God for the Abraham Accords,' UAE cyber chief

Illustrative image (Photo: Shutterstock)

Israel's technology expertise reportedly played a prominent role in preventing a major cyberattack attempt against the United Arab Emirates, UAE Cyber Chief Muhammad al-Kuwaiti said on Tuesday.

“Thank God for the Abraham Accords... Cybersecurity is an important aspect for us all. We in the UAE, for example, are going through a great digital transformation. A transformation across all sectors: aviation, education, healthcare, oil and gas, transportation. And, in fact, we need to do a safe and secure transformation,” al-Kuwaiti said during the global Cyber Week event in Tel Aviv this week.

“Our cyber strategy has five main pillars," he explained. It has a pillar about protecting and defending. And this is where we plug into the great Start-Up Nation [Israel] where we have many of those companies helping us as a matter of fact to build up that cyber dome or to extend that cyber dome to defend against cyberattacks."

Israeli National Cyber Dir.-Gen. Gaby Portnoy warned that “anyone who carries out a cyberattack against Israeli citizens needs to take into account the price he will pay.”

During his speech at the conference, Portnoy specifically mentioned cyberattacks initiated by the group MuddyWater, which he said has ties to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). In February, Israel blamed MuddyWater for a cyberattack against the Technion Institute of Technology in Haifa. As a result of that attack, the tech university was forced to disconnect its systems to prevent security damage and had reported that they had lost data.

“The group doesn’t just work against Israel, but rather also hacks civilian targets in many other countries, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, India, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and others," Portnoy said.

He noted that Israel’s cyber community is well-informed when it comes to Iran’s cyber operations and its affiliation with Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

“The Israeli cyber community knows Iran’s cyber operations inside-out and works to thwart it in many ways. Iran’s intelligence personnel, the IRGC and Hezbollah who are involved in cyber operations against Israel know exactly what I am talking about.” Portnoy said.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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