Mr. Khalid Al-Hashimi, Executive Director, Qatar Computer Emergency Response Team, at the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR), revealed laws to be issued soon for the protection of individuals and institutions from cyber threats and to create a regulatory environment within a legal and legislative framework during the current year. These laws are concerned with regulating the relationship between ictQATAR and government institutions in order to support the Council’s efforts in the field of information security.
Mr. Al-Hashimi said that Qatar will be one of the leading countries to issue such laws in the region. His statements came on the sidelines of Information Security Conference, gov.INFOSEC, which was organized by Qatar Computer Emergency Response Team (Q-CERT) this past week.
Mr. Al-Hashimi said that the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology issued laws, policies and standards in the field of information security, pointing to the fact that some laws are still in the process of final review by the Supreme Legislative Committee of the Cabinet.
He also added that ictQATAR issued many policies, most important of which is “The Government Guide to Information Security”, which covers over 25 themes, indicating that the guide includes clear articles that help various government institutions to implement these policies.
Mr. Al-Hashimi pointed out that all of these laws and policies are designed to protect the electronic assets of companies and institutions, and that based on the importance of these assets, the means to protect them are selected in reference to the guide for “Classifying Electronic Information”, which was issued by ictQATAR. This will ensure that investment in information security is conducted in a systematic and methodic manner.
He added that there is an overwhelming response from various sectors, which own critical Informatics assets, to ictQATAR’s policies on information security, explaining that the main aim of the latter is the proactive monitoring and containment of risks, in addition to conducting business as usual, stressing that this is the best method to address all cyber problems.
He said he was forming virtual teams, consisting of managers of information systems from critical state sectors such as energy and finance, in order to accelerate response to all risks that could affect those sectors and address them as soon as possible, in addition to compiling teams that work with government entities, public and private sector agencies, and citizens in order to spread awareness on containing the risks and threats facing them on the Internet. Qatar Computer Emergency Response Team (Q-CERT) also works toprotect the passage of sensitive information on the Internet and ensure its security.
The conference discussed the latest developments and latest trends in the field of information security and electronic risks faced by the public sector and quasi-government in the State of Qatar, where a group of prominent information security experts participated in the event.
ictQATAR had organized, in March of last year, a conference on information security entitled “Challenges to Information Security in The Financial Sector”, which discussed the main challenges and the latest developments and trends in the field of information security and electronic risks faced by the financial sector.
On the sidelines of the conference, Al-Hashemi said that by the end of 2009 unwanted e-mail traffic from computers and servers located in the state increased due to the spread of malware and the lack of addressing the problem, which put these servers and Internet users in the country on the black list of global e-mail servers.
As a result, ictQATAR launched a joint campaign with the main provider of Internet services in the country as well as all institutions and companies concerned, to cleanse computers in Qatar from “boot net”, which is a huge collection of malware that affected devices without the knowledge of their owners, in the beginning of the year 2010.
He said: “The joint campaign succeeded in cleansing the equipment in Qatar from malicious programs, where the desired outcome was achieved within only 24 hours, as a result of concerted joint efforts of all parties concerned, returning those devices to the white list of global E-mail servers. He stressed that the campaign did not stop and it continues to protect all the equipment in Qatar from malware and spam mail.
Al Hashemi emphasized that over time the campaign transformed into a project in partnership with all stakeholders to deal with any dangers that might cause damage to computers in Qatar, and that this project acquired a budget funded by ictQATAR, to stay abreast of current malicious programs.
He added that the Qatari experience has been appreciated by many around the world, because it has been shared with all Computer Emergency Response centers in the Global Forum «First», and that some countries have benefited from the Qatari experience and applied it in their respective countries.
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