Abu Dhabi to Host Cyber Security Forum that Examines Best Practices for Critical Energy Infrastructure Protection

The energy sector with its reliance on Industrial Control Systems (ICS) has been quick to take advantage of the internet connected systems to reduce costs and improve efficiency but in doing so it has exposed itself to a host of cyber security risks yet to be properly understood and more importantly properly managed . Last week 2 reports highlighted the dramatic increase in ICS attacks at a time when the cyber threats are becoming more complex and seek to take charge of the ICS in order to inflict damage to business operations.

The first and most fundamental step in combating these threats is understanding the risk and a highlight of this Forum , being held next month, is an in-depth session from a leading international researcher, Eric Knapp of Honeywell , that gives participants new ways at looking at cyber risk assessment from a technical standpoint.

It has often been cited that to be successful in managing cyber attacks , is for cyber risk management should move from the back room to the board room and so the Forum commences with a Keynote Address from Mike McConnell ,former US Director of National Intelligence . There follows presentations on new national cyber security frameworks from which exponents within the GCC can learn and benefit from , particularly at a time when such UAE frameworks are being developed.

Within the energy sector, the Forum will cover extensively the concerns of both Oil & Gas and Utilities Management with panels , presentations and wide ranging debate on such topics as building resilient cyber ICS architectures , cyber response strategies in ICS , recent advances in secure O & G operations , effective business continuity capabilities and protection of data in smart grids . The latter topic is of great interest as trials on smart metering in the UAE are now ongoing.

Also there will be a number of demonstrations of what the outcome of a ICS attack could result in and how to prevent them and a feature of the Exhibition will be a live and effective portrayal of such a situation from Atkins that will run continuously over the 3 days it is open and visitors are invited to attend . Thus with its focused workshops the complete event provides a timely one stop guide in combating these growing ICS threats which have increased by over 100 %.

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