Lessons for companies in the Middle East from the Colonial Pipeline hack

The recent ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline in the US offers a sharp reminder how critical national infrastructure remains a highly prized and targeted sector for hackers, despite there having been a lull in such attacks in the Middle East in recent years.


While victims are often advised by cyber security experts not to settle ransoms, it is believed Colonial Pipeline did pay Russia-linked DarkSide criminal hacking group up to US$ 5 million to gain back control of its digital network and systems

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Zain hands over management of touch in Lebanon

Zain Group is reported to have handed over the management of touch, the leading mobile operator in Lebanon, to a new management and board, appointed by Lebanon’s telecoms ministry on October 30, 2020. Zain, which has managed touch since June 2004, said it would reapply, if permitted, to manage one of Lebanon’s two state-owned mobile operators. A statement by Zain mentioned that a strategy to re-enter the mobile sector in Lebanon would require a clear business plan within an agreement with the ministry.  

Zain has had to say goodbye to its management of touch in Lebanon

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NZ attacks again highlight that cyber defence benefits surely outweigh costs

A series of recent cyber attacks reported to have targeted and disrupted the usual operation of the stock exchange in New Zealand (NZX) again highlight the case for proactive investment in cyber defences ahead of cyber incidences occurring or being attempted.

Companies trading on the stock exchange ought to be required to undertake similar cyber security assessment testing and vetting as is currently being undertaken by the NZX itself

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Countries in Africa in urgent need of national cyber vetting and code review

I am a huge fan of the popular TV series Border Security: Australia’s Front Line, where visitors to the country’s airports are put through their paces in a bid to prevent the importation of prohibited items.  

In much the same way border security is constantly on the lookout for prohibited imports or items that may pose a threat to the island state’s natural ecosystem, countries in Africa need to start implementing active measures to vet all digital, connected equipment being imported and utilised in-country

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Resurrecting the Decisive Dozen in tumultuous times

The Decisive Dozen list was first compiled by Comm. in 2010, and published in early 2011, with the aim of identifying the top 12 telco service provider leaders across the Middle East and Africa who had exerted the highest impact on the sector measured by their company’s activities. At the time, economies across the world were still reeling from the financial crisis of 2008, with corporate leaders needing to bring all their experience and talent to bear to navigate the challenging period.  

The effective use of innovation will be a key factor in determining the telco service provider leaders included in the Decisive Dozen list 2020

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News

Batelco provides nationwide 5G coverage in Bahrain

Batelco has successfully activated 5G coverage across Bahrain, which is available in all four governorates, covering 95% of the nation’s population. The telco’s launch of the network makes Batelco the first operator to provide national 5G coverage in Bahrain.

Omantel extends managed services deal with Ericsson

Omantel has renewed and expanded its managed services agreement with Ericsson for a further five years, with the renewed agreement being more outcome-based and customer-centric.

MTN Group CEO opts to depart after expiry of fixed contract

South Africa-headquartered MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter will step down from his role at the end of his fixed four-year contract in March 2021, having given no explanation why he would not seek to stay on beyond that date.

Nokia CEO, Rajeev Suri to step down as vendor considers its options

Nokia CEO and president, Rajeev Suri, is set to step down from his position later this year, to be replaced by Pekka Lundmark, currently CEO and president of energy company Fortum. The move comes as Nokia struggles to keep pace with the global shift to 5G.

Batelco introduces 5G roaming with du in the UAE

Following Zain Group’s regional milestone announcement in November 2019 that its operations in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia had successfully launched the first 5G roaming service across the MENA region, Bahrain telco Batelco has announced partnering with the UAE’s du to deliver 5G international roaming services in the UAE.

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