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130 participants put their IT skills to test at first Qatar Int’l Cybersecurity Contest

130 participants put their IT skills to test at first Qatar Int’l Cybersecurity Contest

Ailyn Agonia
DOHA
HAMAD Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) Interim Provost Emad El-Din Shahin has underlined the commitment of the institution to solving cybersecurity challenges facing Qatar and the world at large during the opening of the first Qatar International Cybersecurity Contest (QICC) held at the Minaretein in Education City on Tuesday.
More than 130 participants representing 30 countries are taking part in the three-day event being held in partnership with the competition’s official airline sponsor Qatar Airways.
The gathering aims to increase awareness among participants of complex cybersecurity threats and provide invaluable solutions to protect critical information and networks.
“In this ever-evolving and rapidly advancing technological world no one can afford to ignore the effects of cybercrime. We have to be vigilant. We have to be active. We cannot go about hoping that we won’t be affected by cyber threats,” said Dean Shahin.
Shahin welcomed the delegates, including over 85 participants who have travelled to Qatar especially for the event, and called for creating strong international networks with academic and industry partners who are working in the field of cybersecurity.
Activities at the global event include interactive sessions, expert discussions and public workshops to identify existing and emerging cyber vulnerabilities and find out innovative and effective solutions.
Among the featured activities are Fake News Detection Contest, Qatar International Hacking Contest, Cybersecurity Moot Competition and Genomics Cybersecurity Contest.
Talking to Qatar Tribune on the sidelines of the event, Dr Russel Buchan from the University of Sheffield in UK, one of the competition judges and experts, stressed the many ways institutions and individuals can protect system and data from cyber interference, including having an effective legal framework.
“Cybersecurity is the hot topic of the day. Whether it is families with smart devices in their homes, companies with sensitive data, or state and international organisations; they rely heavily on their cyber infrastructure, particularly their networks in their system and the data that the system hold. They are looking for different ways in which they can protect those systems and data. There are many ways to do that also such as technical defences, encryption and firewalls. However, an international legal framework is also required to provide protection to actors from cyber interference since there are no borders in cyberspace and it a heavily interconnected domain. International law can provide protections when technological and other strategies fail,” he said.
International participant Erik Naresh Uhlmannn, a Computer Science student from the Northeastern University in the US, also stressed the importance of cybersecurity in the wake of the increasing reliance of people on technology.
Qatar University student Hoda Ahmadi underscored the role of cybersecurity in the medical field, particularly in securing genomic data. She said, “Nowadays it’s very important to secure genomics data. Today many diseases require genomic data analysis in order to be cured and these data must be secured for the individuals to protect their privacy. What we will do as a participant is to try to decrypt those encrypted data to simulate what attackers can do for us to understand how safe the system is.”

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