Under the supervision of Central Bank of the UAE and the UAE Government’s Cyber Security Council, UAE Banks Federation (UBF), the sole representative and unified voice of UAE banks, organised the third edition of the “Cyber Wargaming 2024” as part of its efforts and initiatives to develop the banking sector further. The event aims to protect the sector’s digital infrastructure and provide a smooth and secure banking experience for all customers in the face of rapid technological development.
The largest of its kind in the Middle East, Cyber Wargaming 2024, follows the success of the second edition in 2022, and was attended by a number of representatives from GCC central banks, leading UAE banks, financial and technology institutions, cybersecurity experts from the banking and financial sector, and strategic partners of the Federation.
The event is characterised by the specially designed simulated cyberattacks to learn about the capabilities of UBF member banks’ cybersecurity teams in dealing with such risks and to identify strengths and gaps through cybersecurity exercises to improve knowledge of the techniques, methods and procedures used by the attackers and the factors that are the source of the threats.
Jamal Saleh, Director General of UBF, said: “At UBF, we continue our efforts to ensure safe and smooth banking operations in the face of rapid developments in the use of advanced technologies in the banking and financial sector. The organisation of these cyber security workshops confirms our commitment to prioritise the security of the banking system and information security. We do this under the direct supervision of Central Bank of the UAE, which is keen to develop the necessary regulatory frameworks and technologies to keep up with the latest developments and provide customers with the best services in a reliable banking environment.”
The Director General added: “Following the great success of the exercises we organised in October 2022; many entities and institutions have recognised the importance of this event in identifying and preparing banking cadres for potential cyberattacks and threats and to be prepared in the face of the acceleration of digital transformation in the financial sector by development of digital security systems. The large turnout at this event also reflects the commitment of member banks and financial institutions to create a secure environment through events and training programmes conducted by our member banks, which provide banking and financial sector employees with the opportunity to learn about the aspects that require further development to enhance cyber security, which is a key pillar in consolidating the UAE’s position as a leading banking and financial centre in the region.”
Abdulla Matar Al Muhairi, Head of the Banking Supervision Department at Central Bank of the UAE, emphasised the importance of the UAE Central Bank’s role in strengthening the resilience of the financial infrastructure and the banking sector’s preparedness to defend against cyber-attacks.
Abdulla Matar Al Muhairi added: “With the continuous development of technology and artificial intelligence systems, cyber-attacks have become more complex and diverse. Therefore, it is necessary to work together and converge all efforts and capabilities to defend against cyber-attacks and protect the financial system and its stability. The effectiveness of Cyber Wargaming 2024 reflects the cooperation of the banking sector to raise the efficiency of cyber security teams in dealing with attacks and thus create a safer banking environment.”
UBF’s focus on developing all capabilities to protect the digital infrastructure of the banking sector comes against the backdrop of the increasing use of e-commerce, digital banking services and applications, which has led to the emergence of new technologies and various types of cyberattacks, financial crimes and fraud methods that have become more complex and targeted.
As part of its initiatives to promote digital transformation in a secure environment, UBF organises a series of events and campaigns, such as Cyber Wargaming and the National Fraud Awareness Campaign, all of which help to spread awareness of the risks of fraud and cyber-risks. The Information Security Management Committee and the Information Security Advisory Committee, which are part of the Federation, recently organised another Threatcasting event in collaboration with MasterCard to identify potential future threats from advanced technologies such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence and how to deal with them.
The Director General of the Federation also emphasised the importance of these events in developing appropriate fraud prevention solutions and keeping pace with the expected changes in the legislative and regulatory environment to maintain customer confidence and improve the operational flexibility of the banking sector to deal with developments, rapid evolutions and crises so that banks and financial institutions that are members of the Federation can better protect their systems, data and the interests of their customers.
The banks and financial institutions that participated in the third edition of Cyber Wargaming 2024 included First Abu Dhabi Bank, Emirates NBD, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Mashreq Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, RAK Bank, HSBC, National Bank of Fujairah, United Arab Bank, Network International, as well as a number of other Federation members who attended the event as observers.