Christian Karam’s eye-opening talk about cybersecurity

The talk raised questions to whether Lebanon is even ready to step into the digital world.
by Maria Sakr

14 September 2018 | 13:05

Source: by Annahar

  • by Maria Sakr
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 14 September 2018 | 13:05

This photo shows Christian Karam during his presentation. (Annahar Photo/Maria Sakr)

BEIRUT: For the sake of spreading knowledge about cybersecurity, Café Scientifique Beirut held an informative talk regarding this subject Thursday night, at Aaliyah’s Bookstore in Gemmayze — one of their many monthly talks that aim at spreading relevant, and key information that revolve around science and technology, for the audience to get a better understanding of how the world is changing.

Last night’s talk was given by Christian Karam, a Lebanese who is currently residing in Singapore and working as the Director and Head of Cyber Threat Intelligence at UBS, but was formerly Head of Cyber Research Lab & Threat intelligence at Interpol. He came prepared with a presentation showing chilling facts and numbers about the level of cybercrime and warfare that is very much overlooked by a large chunk of the world, and underrated by the media.

Karam shed light on not only its technological dangers, but also geopolitical, and financial — giving mind-blowing facts about how much a cybercrime attack has and can cost the economy—think billions and trillions of dollars.

He gave an interesting peek into how organized groups and hackers think, and what type of models they normally use to conduct attacks, and how companies and defenders use their own models to shun these attacks; there was also an enlightening segment about the cryptocurrency hot topic and how cybercrime occurs in that area, and the unbelievable amount of money being made, with facts about cyber espionage and the losses it has cost major companies.

A small discussion took place afterwards, where ideas about how competent cybersecurity in Lebanon is, and what the government is doing to keep the people protected, especially after reports of hacking have surfaced earlier this year.

The talk raised questions to whether Lebanon is even ready to step into the digital world, and digitize all governmental and medical entities, keeping in mind that once the country gets on that boat (which it eventually has to), it would be in need of incredible cybersecurity protection, that needs constant maintenance, improvement, and work.

Further, Karam mentioned the flourishing startup scene in Lebanon, but noted a mistake made by many. "There's so much startup potential in Lebanon, and the startup scene is rather great, but everyone in that field is jumping too fast into marketing and they're forgetting about cybersecurity, which is of great importance."

Not only that, to be able to attack cybercriminals and avoid cyberwarfare, constant funds are needed, talent, as well as transparency with the people about attacks, and a stop to corruption, as Karam noted.

The talk was attended by mostly tech-savvy people, and some with a genuine thirst for more knowledge about this subject, it was also attended by MP Nadim Gemayel, who showed enthusiasm and engagement all throughout Karam’s presentation.

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