As the main regulator and facilitator of cybersecurity in the city of Dubai, Dubai Electronic Security Centre (DESC) partners with Thales Group, an international leader in cybersecurity, to build a facility that is dedicated to cybersecurity training, testing and experimentation. Through this partnership, a new innovation center for cyber learning has been established regionally – introducing the Cyber Node.

Through this collaboration of experts, a brand-new facility located in Business Bay provides support in the advancement of Dubai’s mission to be the safest city in cyberspace. The DCIPark, provides access to bespoke cyber security courses, tailored to different industry needs. In parallel, the Cyber Node laboratory is available for training practice and experimentation activities.

More about Dubai Electronic Security Center

The Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC) is the official government department entrusted to make Dubai the safest city in cyber space. The center was established under decree number 11 of 2014 by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of UAE and the Ruler of Dubai.

The center’s objectives include safeguarding information, communications network and governmental information systems in the Emirate of Dubai in addition to enhancing, adjusting and implementing the necessary methods in the realm of cyber security and raising efficiency by which information is maintained and circulated among the governmental entities in the Emirate. Additionally, the center is also responsible to develop the strategic plans to confront any risks or threats to the government information in coordination with all concerned government authorities.

Committee members from DESC:

H.E Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani

Chief Executive - Dubai Electronic Security Center, Digital Dubai

His Excellency Yousuf Hamad Al Shaibani is currently the Chief Executive of the Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC), an organization part of Digital Dubai. H.E. is also the Director General of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center.

With over 18 years of experience serving in the government sector, Al Shaibani has been associated with DESC since its establishment. He has held several senior positions there including being a member of the organization’s Board of Directors. Recognized as one of the founding members of DESC, Al Shaibani has made valuable contributions towards the growth and development of the Center.

Al Shaibani graduated from the Etisalat University College (now known as Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research – KUSTAR), Sharjah in 1995, then he went to receive his Master’s Degree in Microelectronics Systems Design from Central England University (now known as Birmingham City University) in the UK in 1997. 

Dr. Bushra Alblooshi

Head of Research and Innovation

The first Arab member of the World Economic Forum’s network of Global Future Councils, and the Chair of the Digital Skills Committee in Dubai digital authority.

Bushra leads many strategic initiatives in the city of Dubai such as Dubai Cybersecurity Strategy, Dubai Cybersecurity R&D Agenda, and Dubai Cybersecurity Policies. Bushra has more than 17 years of experience in digital transformation, cybersecurity, and strategy management. She held different positions in different industries and organizations. AlBelooshi published and participated in many national and international conferences. Dr. Bushra is currently a member of several advisory boards and committees nationally and internationally.

AlBelooshi has a master’s in Information Security from KUSTAR and another master’s in Public Administration from Mohammed Bin Rashed College in collaboration with Harvard University. Dr.Bushra’s research interests include cloud computing, cyber security, forensics, and cryptography.

Dr. Bushra is the inventor of two patents in memory management and cloud security. She was recently awarded the Best Executive in Cybersecurity in the Middle East by the Women in Cybersecurity Middle East Organization. She was also the lead author of a report published recently by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with international experts around the world.

Hassan Abdulla

Director of Security Systems Department

Hassan Abdulla is the Director of Security Systems at Dubai Electronic Security Center, holding a degree in Avionics Engineering, over 18 years’ experience in law enforcements, information security and special security systems.

His passion on development to all scales was his specialty and he was honoured to be one of the steering committee members selected to establish and operate DCIP.

H.E Amer Sharaf Alhashmi

CEO of Cyber Security Systems and Services Sector - Dubai Electronic Security Center, Digital Dubai

Amer Sharaf is the CEO of Cyber Security Systems and Services Sector at the Dubai Electronic Security Center based in the Emirates of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Amer has accumulated a diverse set of skills in his career in the Information Technology field successfully delivering key applications and infrastructure related projects.

His experience also extends to deploying resilient and highly available data centers catering to key critical systems. Amer has considerable experience on city level systems and adopting several disruptive technologies and ensuring that key security principles and technologies are adopted.

Dr. Marwan Al-Zarooni

Director of Information Services Department

Marwan Al-Zarooni has extensive experience in the areas of information security  management, network security and computer forensics. He has written several academic papers and presented them in such conferences as the Australian Information Warfare &  Security Conference, the Australian Computer, Network & Information Forensics Conference, and the Australian Information Security Management Conference.
He holds a master’s degree in Information Security and Intelligence from Edith Cowan University and a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Computer Science from the prestigious Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida. He also holds the highly regarded professional certification as Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). 

About Thales

Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) is a global leader in advanced technologies, investing in digital and “deep tech” innovations – connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and quantum computing – to build a confident future crucial for the development of our societies. The Group provides its customers – businesses, organisations and governments – in the defense, aeronautics, space, transport, and digital identity and security domains with solutions, services and products that help them fulfil their critical role, consideration for the individual being the driving force behind all decisions. Thales has 81,000 employees in 68 countries. In 2021 the Group generated sales of €16,2 billion.

Committee members from Thales Group:

Pascal Fimes

International Bid and Business Development Director, Cyber Defense Solutions

Pascal has been working in the communications and information systems industry for Defense and Civil customers. He started his career as a Software Engineer and held several positions in the military radio communication domain and led the Software Defined Radio activity. Then he moved to the Air Traffic Management Domain where he was managing the European programs portfolio and the OneSky Australia Program. He is now leading the International Cyber Defense Solutions Business.

Gareth Williams

Vice President, Operations & International Business Development Cyber Defence Solutions Business Line

Gareth was appointed as VP, Operations and International Business Development for Cyber Defence Solutions Business Line in September 2021. The Business provides Cyber Security services to customers across the globe in the fields of Defence, Government & Critical Systems.

Gareth joined Thales in 2008 and has held roles in Purchasing, Supply Chain and Operations across the business. He has previously worked for General Dynamics, BAE SYSTEMS and Rolls Royce, with a career spanning various Engineering, Finance and Operations roles. He has a background in both UK and International businesses, working overseas in Austria and Spain on acquisitions and integration activities.

Gareth started his career with an Engineering Apprenticeship at Rolls Royce followed by a HNC in Mechanical Engineering at the University of the West of England.

Gareth is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. He also sits on the Cyber Management Committee of Tech UK and is a member of the Risc Council.

Dr. Waël Kanoun

Executive Director of Cyber Defence Solutions – Middle East

Dr. Waël Kanoun is the Executive Director of Cyber Defence Solutions business line (SIX/CDS) at Thales for the Middle East region. Previously, Waël held the position of Head of Cyber R&D at Nokia Bell Labs and Alcatel-Lucent in Paris. His experience spans across various verticals such as telecom, IT/OT, ground transportation, aviation, defence, utilities (electricity & water), etc. His work is extensively published (+20) in peer-reviewed international conferences and journals and led to +10 patent applications. He also served as visiting lecturer at several French Universities and Engineering/Graduate Schools. He holds a PhD and Master’s degree in Information and Cyber security from Institut Mines-Télécom Atlantique (previously ENST-Bretagne), France.

Cyber Node

The lab environment within the DCIPark was established, to provide high quality hands-on cyber security training to public and private sector clients, along with providing a technology facility that academic organizations can utilize, in pursuit of their research and innovation goals. A list of conferences, trainings, scenario-based courses and more, can all be found within the Cyber Node course catalogue.

The Cyber Node facility will consist of two labs – one for general projects dedicated for open use and one lab for special projects. The space will assist with the development of the cyber security workforce in the region. The Cyber Node will be open to government employees, researchers, university students and all cyber security professionals in Dubai and UAE. The labs themselves are focused on tailoring of complex network topologies called “digital twins” based on a portfolio of components (workstation, routers, firewall, IDS, application servers, database servers, email servers, switches, routers and PLCs, etc), including real components when a technology cannot be virtualized. In order to animate these topologies, a traffic generator allows you to inject network flows and attacks.

The Cyber Node game field hosts virtualized information systems that simulates typical network environments. Additionally, hardware devices linked to a complex virtual environment, which offers a rich and complete simulation experience for training, research and architecture prototyping. This allows users to practice and develop their cybersecurity skills through realistic scenarios and challenging situations. By designing and shaping these environments, users can easily conduct tests, proof-of-concepts and create digital twins of their own systems. Network flows can be launched, to generate legitimate traffic and/or malicious attacks. The generated flow can simulate systems’ real-life behaviours and reproduce realistic threat patterns contained in a Cyber Range.

Cyber Node Impact

The Cyber Node environment integrates into the cyber security ecosystem a drive to develop a cyber workforce that can defend the city from attacks, targeting its Critical Information Infrastructure.

• It takes center stage in the city’s cyber infrastructure and support research and innovation in Dubai.

• It provides a safe environment to simulate networks and test their cyber resilience capabilities.

• It encourages, facilitate and supports collaboration between DESC, government entities, private sector, SME’s and academia.

• The activities within the lab focuses on the following pillars; the transfer of knowledge, exploration and organization, content topologies and training modules and finally, the cyber lab platform and technology.

• It is accessible to universities, help them research cyber topics and develop students’ cyber skills.

All the lab facilities is available to the trainees and visitors of the center.