Kuwait has fallen behind in preparing an electronic defense force
KUWAIT CITY, Nov 29: At a time when about 30 countries entered cyberspace – which is the fourth war field after the three traditional land, sea and air war fields – Kuwait is trying to knock on its doors and take a share in it in order to ward off the horrors of hostile attacks that target its information security, and strike the nerve of modern life based on distance services in killing, reports Al-Qabas daily.
In view of the requirements of modern life, “electronic armies” are no longer a luxury or an option, but an urgent need imposed by the necessities of the current era. The US Department of Defense, in its 2020 budget, highlighted a series of priorities that focus on electronic warfare and projects related to cyberspace.
Britain recently announced a new national electronic army to be an offensive unit targeting hostile countries and terrorist groups. This type of armies is present in more than 29 countries around the world, according to a report issued by the Wall Street Journal in 2016.
Despite the constant warnings by information security experts and consultants in this field to officials and leaders that there is no rule to defend Kuwait and government agencies in light of the development witnessed by the services provided online and the possibility of exposing personal and financial information as well as government data to danger, movements in this area continue to be shy, and have not seen the light in a way that achieves competition, at least for the surrounding countries.
According to information security experts, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Arab countries have groups that work as an electronic army and are interested in defending these countries from any external dangers, analyzing the various types of attacks and the dangers resulting from them, figuring out ways to confront them, and addressing the loopholes and attacks.
The Blue Fence
Information security consultant Raed Al-Roumi declared, “Kuwait has fallen behind in preparing an electronic defense force even though more than one proposal was submitted to government agencies, including the Communications Commission and the Central Agency for Information Technology, to equip the so-called Blue Wall, which is a Kuwaiti team to confront intrusions and any possible electronic attack. However, it has not yet looked at those proposals even after more than four years have passed”.
Al-Roumi stressed that there are more than 50 Kuwaiti hackers who can work side by side as a specialized volunteer team to build a virtual protective fence to preserve government agencies and the vast internet space, work on the gaps, strengthen the protection levels for the government system, analyze attacks and loopholes that are constantly exposed, study the extent of viruses, and preserve information against encryption.
A specialized body
President of the Kuwait Information Security Association and a faculty member at Kuwait University Dr. Safaa Zaman warned of the attacks that Kuwait, government agencies and individuals are constantly exposed to, which lead to fraud and losses.
She highlighted the need for the state to establish a specialized body for cybersecurity, so that there are subsidiary bodies in all institutions that monitor electronic transactions under their umbrella. She also stressed the need for the establishment of a complaints center that interacts seriously with institutions and individuals affiliated with this body.
Dr. Zaman insisted on the need to amend the cybercrime laws in a way that keeps pace with rapid changes.
She explained that international agreements and treaties that preserve the state’s entity in the field of cybersecurity must be made with major technical companies, such as Facebook and Twitter. A specialized center must be established for data analysis based on technologies, artificial intelligence, and other technologies that benefit the country’s leaders in the field of cybersecurity.
Urgent solutions must be developed along with coordination between the security services and communications networks in order to protect government agencies and individuals from constant attack and fraud. This is especially as such operations negatively and directly affect the economic conditions in the country, as well as the safety of the financial system with the available financial tools. There is a need to create a tight and fierce system to curb the spread of any hacking operations of governmental or individual agencies.
Abu Al-Khair: Experience is a factor of success
Information security specialist Ihab Abu Al-Khair affirmed Kuwait’s need for an electronic army to confront any potential cyber risk in light of the rapid development of Internet services and the widespread use of the network.
He indicated that such a step in developing an electronic defense system requires sufficient experience, in addition to the need for implementation to be through an entity with the ability to transform the matter on the ground in a fast and strong manner that achieves the desired goals through it.
Al-Khair highlighted that the expansion of piracy operations by individuals, companies or external bodies must be matched by an expansion in the studies and operations even if the operations are outside Kuwait, in addition to their importance in defending information and data from potential operations.
“We are living in a new era that requires the presence of unconventional armies capable of facing the new challenges facing the country”, said Abu Al-Khair, adding that, “The delay in implementing this important file puts everyone in front of the risk of advanced attacks that may affect important institutions.”
Al-Suwaidan: An Internet Monitoring Center
Information security specialist Basel Al-Suwaidan affirmed that there should be a “specialized center, such as an emergency center, that monitors the Internet that passes through the country, as the Ministry of Defense should have an electronic army like other countries in the world and countries in the region.”
He pointed out the importance of the existence of such a center being preceded by legislation paving its way, in addition to a serious spread in aspects of information security, especially since electronic warfare and the repeated targeting of Kuwait exist and broadly target the oil sector companies, and financial and security bodies.
Meanwhile, among the 30 countries that have entered the world of electronic warfare, the most prominent are America (cyber command), Russia (electronic military unit), Iran (Cyber Army) and China (Unit 61398)
Furthermore, experts define the working patterns of electronic armies, affirming that they cover many aspects of life such as:
1 – Against terrorism and organized crime
2- Anti-state activities
3 – Data encryption
4 – Filling gaps in government agencies
5- Data analysis to counter a possible attack.
Also, there are a variety of fields that can be used as a field for electronic warfare. They include military, political, intelligence and economic.
The objectives of cyber-attacks are countless but the most important among them are creating chaos, disrupting the infrastructure, espionage and destruction of information.
Meanwhile, Raed Al-Roumi highlighted the importance of working to attract young Kuwaiti amateurs in this field to be part of such teams and electronic armies along with specialists instead of trying them and holding them accountable, indicating that this is what is done in Western countries, as benefiting from such minds and directing them properly saves the millions spent in other fields.
Al-Roumi insisted on the importance of Kuwait having an electronic army in light of the increase in electronic government services and its smart applications with the amount of personal and financial information that are circulated in the electronic space without guarantees to preserve rights from diversion.