Cyber authority moves relations with Abraham Accords countries to new highs

This was the first time that cyber chief officials from the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Israel appeared together live in public.

 Cyber attack (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Cyber attack
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

The Israel National Cyber Directorate has moved relations with the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco to new highs, announcing that the cyber chiefs of all four countries appeared in public at a conference in Bahrain.

Although the four countries have been holding various meetings behind closed doors since the Abraham Accords were signed in late 2020, a statement by the government said that this was the first time that senior officials from all four countries appeared together live in public.

Part of the statement also noted that cyber chiefs from Oman and Kuwait, two countries often mentioned on the short list of potential new additions to the accords, also attended the same conference.

What was said at the conference?

Announced on Wednesday, the conference took place on December 7 and during a question and answer session with the cyber chiefs, UAE cyber chief Dr. Muhammad al-Kuwaiti emphasized the enormous importance of the new cyber alliance.

 ARMIS: BRINGING hackers out of the shadows. (credit: PXFUEL) ARMIS: BRINGING hackers out of the shadows. (credit: PXFUEL)

According to the statement, he said, “There is life-saving value to the cyber defense dialogue, and in any case, the key is always to communicate, and to open different channels for joint research and reciprocal assistance.”

INCD chief Gabi Portnoy also spoke at the conference, noting the importance of broadcasting the cyber cooperation between the countries in a public fashion as well as that the cooperation could lead to a kind of cyber-style “iron dome” to protect the new allies from common enemies.

The key common enemy which has been one of the strong motivations for the countries to come together has been a mix of the physical world and cyber attacks from Iran.

The group meeting came shortly after a speech at a conference in Israel on November 27 by Portnoy in which he discussed a new joint UAE-Israel cyber intelligence sharing collaboration regarding ransomware tools, techniques and attackers as part of a broader 37-country US-led initiative.

Portnoy also talked at that conference about the cyber-style “Iron Dome” which Israel could employ using a mix of physical sensors with digital capabilities to “bring an awareness of the big picture to deal with our enemies and our attackers, using all of our assets and figuring out how to protect them.”

This latest conference in Bahrain appears to be taking the joint cyber initiatives forward, though it is unclear if and when countries like Oman and Kuwait will join up more actively.