(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Public and private sector entities need to think of cyber security as a strategic option to protect themselves from cyber threats rather than considering e-security a technical issue, experts said on Sunday.
Limited awareness on the necessity of taking cyber threats "seriously" among enterprises, whether in Jordan or the Middle East, contributes to a rise in the negative impact of cyber attacks, experts said during the Middle East and North Africa Information Security Conference (MENA ISC 2011) held by VirtuPort.
Some 500 IT experts, CEOs of IT companies and representatives of IT departments from different sectors such as banking, government, insurance and hospitals are attending the two-day conference, according to organisers. Around 60 per cent of the participants are from Jordan and the rest from the region, the US and EU countries.
"The issue of cyber security is very crucial People do not take security breaches seriously," Radi Fassed, enterprise solutions director at Zain Jordan, told The Jordan Times on the sidelines of the conference.
"The timing and the topic of the conference is very vital at this stage as cyber threats are on the rise," he said.
Wasim Khan, IT advisory leader at Ernst and Young for system and programming in the MENA region, agreed.
"Business is borderless and so is the cyber world. There is not enough awareness in the region on the necessity of cyber security. Enterprise in the Middle East as a whole still thinks of security as a technical issue not as a strategy," he said.
Commenting on the issue, National Information Technology Centre (NITC) General Manager Nabeel Fayoumi said the centre will soon start a series of campaigns to raise awareness on cyber threats and attacks.
In a speech he delivered on behalf of Minister of Information and Communications Technology Atef Al Tal, the NITC general manager stressed the importance of the conference, saying it will help better understand and effectively deal with security challenges.
"The volume and increasing complexity of applications and systems along with growing threats against information systems pose enormous security challenges for all governments, organisations and individuals," Fayoumi said.
He also underlined the need for adopting effective policies and strategies to deal with cyber threats.
In the last quarter of 2010, about 55,000 cyber threats were detected per day worldwide, while the figure grew to more than 60,000 in the first quarter of 2011; such threats are focused and on the rise, Hamed Diab, regional director of MENA at McAfee told reporters yesterday.
"In the Middle East, entities do not admit that they have problems when it comes to cyber threats," he said, adding that the total cost of stolen data stands at 40 billion annually across the world.
"Governments in the region have a huge role to play in highlighting the necessity of focusing on cyber threats and ways to deal with them," he noted.