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Mar 25 2014

NYIT Hosts First Global Cybersecurity Conference in Abu Dhabi

Global Cybersecurity Conference

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (March 25, 2014) - New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) held its first Global Cybersecurity Conference here today, which was inaugurated by His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan (pictured above, center), U.A.E. Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development. HE Sheikh Nahayan praised the interconnectivity made possible by the internet and insisted that we should all be concerned in protecting it.

NYIT’s conference welcomed cyber defense professionals, information technologists, banking and finance executives, and others across these fields from the U.S., China, the United Arab Emirates and throughout the Middle East North Africa region.

It has been estimated that cybercrime costs more than $113 billion annually, with 378 million victims—more than the entire population of the Middle East. In addition, the U.A.E. recently disclosed plans to nearly double its security budget in the coming decade, with most of the increase to be used for cyber security.

The one-day conference was held under the theme of National and Corporate Threats, Protection, and Education. Edward Guiliano, Ph.D., NYIT’s president since 2000 (pictured above, right), delivered opening remarks, asserting that higher education is “a core component in heightening cybersecurity.”

More than 200 attendees, including faculty and students from NYIT, the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) and other universities across the country, gathered insights from experts including prestigious keynote speakers, as well as President Guiliano and other NYIT officials such as Nada Marie Anid, Ph.D. (above, left), dean of NYIT’s  School of Engineering and Computing Sciences. Information technology experts from as far away as Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, a partner of NYIT in China, participated in the meetings.

NYIT has a history of hosting cybersecurity events at its New York City campus. Today’s event at Abu Dhabi’s InterContinental Hotel, held in conjunction with the HCT, was its first cybersecurity conference with a truly worldwide reach.

Keynote speaker Daniel R. Ennis, who runs the U.S. National Security Agency/Central Security Service’s Threat Operations Center, advocated cooperation among governments, academia, and industry, in spite of challenges such as privacy issues, business competition, and governments’ traditional secrecy. He pushed for “a fundamental maturing of the public, private, and academic partnership” in order to provide cybersecurity, a mission Ennis compared to counterterrorism.

Another keynote speaker, Mohamed Al Ahbabi, Ph.D., an information and computer technology (ICT) advisor to the U.A.E. Armed Forces’ Centre of Excellence, spoke on cybersecurity strategies at the national level, emphasising the importance of protecting critical infrastructure. He added that making the ICT sector safe from cyber attacks promotes a nation’s economic growth. Dr. Al Ahbabi highlighted the UAE’s efforts in these areas, such as establishing the National Electronic Security Authority.

The afternoon keynote speaker, Parag Pruthi, Ph.D., founder, chairman, and CEO, NIKSUN Inc., described “the dawn of a new era” in which rogue governments seek political control over other countries by launching sophisticated cyber attacks.

Throughout the day, conference delegates also benefited from panel discussions about protecting financial assets and, perhaps even more important, training young cyber professionals.

Tayeb Kamali, Ph.D., vice chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology, said the cybersecurity conference will help to prepare U.A.E. nationals for careers in the vital and growing field of security and other security-related sectors. “The many students who attended the conference will gain valuable insights into cybersecurity from industry experts around the world.  This will result in empowering Emirati students with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to contribute effectively to our nation and to reach their full potential,” he said.

“We are pleased to be working with NYIT regarding this conference, which will encourage the development of the next generation of highly skilled security experts for our nation,” Dr. Kamali added.

NYIT’s Abu Dhabi campus was established in 2005 as the first licensed and accredited American university in the U.A.E. capital. Nearly 600 NYIT graduates, some of whom also attended today’s conference, now play their part in the U.A.E.’s growing economy, working in private and public organizations across the country.

About NYIT

New York Institute of Technology offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. Because its curriculum is the same across its global campuses, students can start a degree program in Abu Dhabi and transfer to New York or to an NYIT campus in Canada or China.

A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 13,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, New York; online; and at campuses in Abu Dhabi; Nanjing, China; and Vancouver, Canada.

Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, 95,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit nyit.edu.

About the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT)

Founded in 1988 with four colleges, the Higher Colleges of Technology have grown to be the largest of the higher educational institutions in the UAE, gaining a well-respected reputation for innovative learning. Over 20,000 students attend 17 modern, technology-oriented men's and women's campuses in the cities of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, Fujairah and the western region cities of Madinat Zayed and Ruwais.

HCT offers a wide range of English-taught programmes in the Faculties of Business, Education & General Studies, Engineering Technology & Sciences, Foundations, Health Sciences, Arabic & Emirati Studies and Computer Information Sciences & Applied Communications. These programmes are all relevant to the UAE’s fast growing and evolving economic sectors and embody HCT’s Learning by Doing philosophy.  All programmes and courses are designed in consultation with business and industry leaders to ensure that the skills students learn are job-relevant and to high standards. They are constantly monitored to ensure they are at the cutting edge of industry standards and technological change. Visit www.hct.ac.ae.

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