Cyberthreats in the GCC and Middle East

Cyberattacks present themselves in a multitude of facets, although there is no absolute single definition for cybercrime in existence. From a general perspective, cybercrime can be defined as “illegal activities, internet mediated, that occur in the context of global economic networks”. The main categories of attacks are hacktivism, financial theft, data theft, ransomware, cyberespionage, cyberterrorism

The public sector’s vulnerability to a cyberattack

In Lebanon, the speed at which the government is moving and the speed at which cyberthreats are developing are totally different. Cyberdefense planning, it appears, is not much of a priority for the Lebanese government. The country does not have legislation to protect digital rights, lacks legal penalties to deter criminal cyberattacks and has only

Propaganda goes viral

“I don’t believe what I read in the papers, they’re just out to capture my dime.” – Paul Simon, Have a good time While propaganda is as old as time and political stakeholders have used the internet to spread their messages since the web’s early days, in 2016 propaganda went viral. It was also monetized

Rare opportunity

Lebanon just got a new tool to promote government transparency and accountability, as well as prevent and fight corruption. Entering into force in February 2017, a new access to information law allows anyone to request specific information from virtually all government entities. From doctors needing public health data, researchers looking for economic and social indicators,

The Lebanese cybersecurity landscape

Overall, it is not clear what the local share of the global cybersecurity market – estimated by Gardner at $81 billion in 2016 – is or might be. Estimates and anecdotal evidence suggest, however, that the local market is still small. Salah Rustum, president of local firm Commercial & Industrial Enterprises of Lebanon (CIEL) and

Securing the entrepreneurship ecosystem

It’s 3 a.m. Despite your family’s “no Internet after dinner” rule, your smart, web-connected refrigerator is rebelling, repeatedly attempting to load the same site. The mustard is not trying to catch up on the news, your ice box has become a zombie in a hacker’s army – a botnet, in industry lingo. While the so-called

Cyber(in)securities

At the center of the cybersecurity issue in Lebanon resides, as with many issues in this country, an unfortunate and seemingly unmovable constellation. In one corner towers the banking sector as the primary force and primary concern for all things economic and also all things digital. The banking industry, as all the expert voices in

Protect us from the modern plague

When modernity was sending out its first rays of thought in the Enlightenment Age, thinker Thomas Hobbes wrote speculatively that the natural state of man is “war of all against all.” Overcoming the universal conflict to him was the central historical argument for the formation of states. Captivating and influential as his frightful idea of

The battle between good and evil goes virtual

The serpent’s tale is a powerful narrative that has captured man’s attention over millennia. The contemporary version of the story goes something like this: the digital garden at first was created as a lush world filled with smart gadgets, useful computer programs, fun games, social networks and great business opportunities. People were delighted with these

Interview with a public servant

As part of our quest for highlighting possible future avenues of progress in the Lebanese Republic, Executive discussed the issue and importance of the 2017 budget with Alain Bifani, director general at the Ministry of Finance. In the course of the interview, the general director also commented on the systemic aspects of the public administration’s

Recourse to reform

I can remember hiding from the bullets and bombs in the bathroom with my mom and brother. My father was out trying to earn a living, and the worry that he would not make it home made me sick to my stomach on a daily basis. We lived in hell as militias destroyed this country

Of spirits and whiskies

Whether it’s a vodka cocktail while dancing at a club, a glass of wine over dinner, a single malt paired with a cigar after a long day, or even arak to go with the Sunday mezze spread, alcohol is often a significant aspect of the lives and habits of many Lebanese. And while every individual

The power of a snowflake

Someone must have been smiling down at Lebanon this past December. For the first time in at least five years, it snowed early enough in the year that the Cedars Ski Resort –  home to Lebanon’s highest accessible peak at an altitude of 2,870m – began welcoming skiers on December 4 with the country’s remaining

Yossi Alpher, No End of Conflict

Yossi Alpher, a veteran of Israel’s intelligence services, starts “No End of Conflict” with a personal and emotional account of his role in an attempt to reunite two sisters from the Holy Land, separated since 1947 – first by their choosing different paths in life and later because of the new borders imposed on Palestine

Shedding light on a black market

This past November Lebanese authorities disrupted a smuggling operation that had evaded detection for over a decade. The items trafficked were mobile phones to the tune of 2.5 million devices valued at some $45 million during the network’s lifespan, local media reported. The trafficking network’s alleged mastermind? Kamel Amhaz. The name might sound familiar. Just

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