On Thursday, January 13th 2011, the Computer Science Department at Haigazian University organized a lecture entitled “Information, Communication, and Network Security in Lebanon” at 12 pm in the auditorium.
The lecture was the first in the series of lectures/conferences anticipated for the 55th Anniversary of the University.
The main speaker was Dr. Imad Hoballah, the acting chairman and head of Telecom Technologies Unit at the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, who was introduced to the audience by Dr. Mohammad Ladan, Chairman of the Computer Science Department.
Hoballah introduced Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as an umbrella term that refers to any communication devices but also all the services and applications associated with them. “We are an ICT society,” Hoballah said, emphasizing all the different aspects of our life in which things like computers and cellphones have become a necessity.
While going over all the benefits of developing the ICT sector in the fields of education, medicine and others, Hoballah argued that one of the main reasons Lebanon’s economy is only at 10-15% of its capacity is because it is not using ICT properly. “We are 11 years behind,” he explained, adding that internet speeds in some countries exceed ours by “18000 times.”
Moving on to the security challenges, Hoballah warned his audience of the very real threat of cyber war, in which one country infiltrates another through ICT, enabling them to cause all kinds of damage, particularly financial. On a more personal level, Hoballah announced that it is everyone’s responsibility to be aware of security attacks and protect themselves against them.
The final part of his presentation took a closer look at the Lebanese case. Problems such as piracy and the high cost of cellphone lines were discussed, all under the major theme of the need for legislation for security in the ICT sector. Hoballah called our networks at present as “disasters waiting to happen” and suggested an action plan to help Lebanon deal effectively with security threats.
The presentation ended with a brief Q&A session and a reception.